Reliable tenants make it easy to be a landlord. Thankfully, reliable tenants aren’t hard to find in Houston. You just need to know how to reel the good ones in and discourage unreliable people from applying.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, finding reliable tenants in Houston can be challenging. Plenty of people are looking for a place to live, so you can’t just toss out an ad and expect all responses to be from reliable individuals.
There’s a strategy to attracting reliable applicants, and it’s a strategy that will work regardless of the pandemic. However, finding reliable tenants during the pandemic is a priority. If your tenants can’t pay rent, you can’t pay your mortgage.
If you want to maintain profitable property investments, here’s how to attract reliable tenants to apply for your vacancies in Houston, Texas.
Prioritize people who do essential work
The initial economic shutdown has caused millions of people to lose their jobs, and even though it’s been more than a year, some people haven’t recovered.
Without violating any Fair Housing rules, prioritize applicants who do essential work over applicants who might not remain employed during another economic shutdown. To do this fairly, you’ll need to make your decision based on multiple factors that make a tenant qualified.
For instance, once you have a stack of applications that are equally qualified, call essential workers first. Once you meet with each applicant and get a feel for their reliability, you can make an educated decision.
Write a detailed listing for your vacancy to filter out potentials
Make sure you create a detailed listing to ensure potential tenants know exactly what you’re offering. Listing details won’t necessarily bring you only reliable tenants, but it will prevent you from following up with potential tenants who aren’t a match. A detailed listing can help you filter out non-compatible tenants quickly, before you even make contact.
For example, if you leave out some important details, you might schedule a showing for a few tenants only to find out they don’t want a home with a step down into the living room from the kitchen. This will end up wasting plenty of time, gas, and other resources.
You also want to include details regarding when rent will be due, how often, and the lowest credit score you’ll accept. This in particular will help you weed people out who won’t qualify in the first place.
Offer individual property showings with the option for a virtual showing
Many people are avoiding in-person showings because of the coronavirus pandemic. Others simply don’t have time to drive across town, or even further if they’re planning on moving far away.
There are plenty of reliable tenants out there, but you need to make yourself available to them over the internet rather than by personal appointment only. If all you do is host a virtual open house through Zoom, and offer the replay, that’s going to help you attract more potential tenants.
Make important repairs before listing your vacancy
Reliable tenants tend to have higher standards than low quality tenants. Most reliable tenants won’t be willing to move into a unit that needs major repairs. For some, even small repairs would be a deal-breaker. For instance, if the dishwasher is broken, a family of four won’t likely be interested until you fix it.
On the contrary, someone who doesn’t value having clean dishes might not care about a broken dishwasher. While it’s possible that some people are okay washing dishes by hand, if someone has more than one family member that will be living in the unit, they should be concerned about a broken dishwasher.
Making sure all major repairs are completed before listing your vacancy is just one easy way to ensure you attract high-quality tenants.
Include credit and background check requirements in your listing
Part of attracting high-quality, reliable tenants involves creating opportunities for applicants to give up. By including your credit score, credit report, and background check requirements in your listing, you’ll deter most people who don’t qualify.
For example, if you won’t rent to convicted felons, make that known in your listing. If you prefer to rent only to people with a credit score of 700 and above, make that clear in your listing.
It’s also important not to tell people you’re willing to compromise on your standards. If your standard is 700, you’ll find applicants with a credit score of 700 or higher.
Don’t rent to people who are a no-show
While flexibility is important, communication is a deal-breaker. If a potential tenant doesn’t show up for a showing, and they don’t call ahead to let you know, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll do the same when they can’t pay the rent.
People get busy and have to cancel their plans. However, people who don’t show up and don’t communicate are generally unreliable. With the exception of circumstances that make communication difficult or impossible, you should avoid renting to people who don’t communicate when they can’t make their scheduled appointment.
People who don’t communicate when their plans change have a weak relationship to their word. If you want a reliable tenant, you need to hold out for someone who has a strong relationship with their word.
The fastest way to assess a tenant’s reliability is to see if they arrive at their showing on time. If they show up early, that’s ideal. Reliable people will show up either early or right on time. Or, if they’re late, they’ll apologize even if they’re only five minutes late. However, if someone shows up fifteen minutes late (or more) and doesn’t apologize for the inconvenience, that’s a bad sign.
Green Residential can help you get reliable tenants
If you want reliable tenants, you need an experienced property management company on your side. At Green Residential, we’ve got decades of experience helping landlords find reliable tenants who pay rent on time and in full.
If you’re ready to hand over the reins to a professional property management team, contact us today for a free Houston property analysis or give us a call directly. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the services we provide and how our team of property managers can help you stay profitable.