Any landlord who has performed the difficult search for the right tenant knows it’s more cost-effective to keep a tenant than to continually find new ones. Keeping a good tenant for a long time means less work, less stress, and reliable income. The goal of every landlord should be to attract and keep high quality tenants, reducing turnover rates and maximizing profit.
Finding a perfect tenant is easier said than done, however. The world is filled with unreliable tenants looking to move in right away, or those not interested in paying rent on time. How do you find that perfect tenant? How do you persuade him or her to stay? Read on for the best practices for finding and keeping great tenants.
1. Describe your ideal tenant.
If you want to find the perfect tenant but don’t know what he or she looks like, you can easily miss your chance. Before working to attract that perfect tenant, get an idea in your mind of who your ideal tenant would be. Some important characteristics of a good tenant are stable employment, adherence to rental agreements, timely rent payment, considerate attitude towards neighbors, and no history of eviction.
You may also have some special considerations for your property. Perhaps your ideal tenant doesn’t smoke or doesn’t have any pets. Whatever your needs, get a clear idea of them before you begin interviewing tenants.
2. Keep an open mind.
When you come up with the list of traits your ideal tenant will have, you may unconsciously picture him or her in your mind. The perfect tenant may not look like the imaginary person you have conjured. When interviewing tenants, don’t let their physical appearance influence your decision. You may miss out on the perfect person because he or she didn’t look like what you would expect. What’s more, housing discrimination is illegal – you could end up in hot water if you are not careful to stay neutral about your prospective tenant’s race, gender, or disability.
3. Advertise effectively.
To attract a good tenant to your property, you have to understand what that tenant would want and advertise those things. What do you as the landlord have to offer your tenant? How can you make your tenant happy?
Be sure to advertise the best parts of your property. This may include the property’s location, its security, and/or its modern amenities. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, take a look at other rental advertisements. Which ones stand out? How can you make your property look good in writing and in photographs?
Also be sure to advertise yourself. As much as you’re looking for the perfect tenant, that perfect tenant is looking for a good landlord. Having a bad landlord can make a beautiful property in a good location a nightmare to live in. Bill yourself as a professional who is responsive to tenant needs. However, be careful to not make any promises about the property you don’t intend to keep. Not only does this lead to a dissatisfied tenant, it is illegal in some cases.
4. Beautify your property.
When it’s time to show your property to prospective tenants, you want it to look good. A tenant looking for a long term home isn’t going to be impressed if the front of your property looks ugly, run down, and in poor repair. Invest in a fresh coat of paint before photographing and showing your property.
Be sure to also perform any repairs needing to be done before you show the property. Landlords often make empty promises about repairs, even though it’s not legal, and prospective tenants may hesitate to believe your claims even if you do intend to follow through. You may also choose to update your appliances. If you really spruce up your property, you may even be able to raise the rent a bit.
At the very least, do a deep clean inside and out before showing your property.
5. Screen your tenants.
An in-depth tenant screening process is essential to finding a good tenant. Check up on your tenant’s income, credit score, criminal history, and civil history. If your tenant has been involved in an eviction case in the past, this is a red flag. Having a high income is a great indicator of a reliable tenant – but if that high income comes hand in hand with a poor credit score and big debts, your tenant may not be willing or able to pay the rent on time (or at all).
Getting some personal and professional references is also a good choice for determining the kind of person your prospective tenant is. Try to talk to landlords he or she has rented from in the past to get an idea of what kind of tenant he or she is.
6. Be communicative.
Once you’ve found your tenant, the process isn’t over. You must make that tenant’s experience in your property positive, so he or she wants to live there for a long time. A key element is being easily reachable. Your tenant should be able to contact you or somebody else in the event of an emergency or if a repair is required.
7. Keep up with repairs and maintenance.
Nothing sours a tenant on a property quicker than a landlord dragging his or her feet on repairs. When a tenant contacts you to inform you something is broken, you should respond quickly. Fixing your tenant’s problem should jump to the top of your list of priorities. It’s good practice to already have skilled workers in mind whom you can contact when something breaks.
Tenants also like you to perform regular maintenance of the property. This saves you money – if you maintain them, things are less likely to break. This keeps your relationship amiable, as things are kept up to date and in working order.
Finding the perfect tenant is a process. However, it is well worth the time and effort when you find that perfect renter. Take the time to make your property a place your ideal long-term tenant would want to live, and you will reap the benefits.
If you’re struggling to find the right tenant, a property management company can help. At Green Residential, our professionals are experienced at attracting and screening high quality tenants and keeping your property in tip top shape. Contact us today to find out more.