Tenants are often the ones trying to make a positive first impression on landlords – hoping to convince them to choose their rental application over a thick stack of other similarly qualified applicants. But first impressions matter for landlords, too. If you want to increase your chances for success, you need to connect with tenants in a positive way within the first few days they’re in your property. Do you know where to begin?
Why the First Impression Matters
It takes just seconds for someone to form a first impression. If you make a strong first impression, you have plenty of leeway and tenants will give you the benefit of the doubt on small mishaps. Make a negative first impression, however, and you’ll face an uphill battle of epic proportions.
According to a Harvard study on the topic, it takes an average of eight subsequent positive encounters to alter someone’s negative opinion of you. In other words, you can create a bad initial impression in seconds, but it’ll take you weeks of steady engagement to correct this negative opinion.
Okay, great…but why does it matter? Don’t I have all the control?
If you’re looking at your relationship with tenants through this vantage point, you need some corrective lenses. Yes, you’re technically the one in a position of authority, but that doesn’t negate the need for fostering a positive relationship.
Having a positive relationship with your Houston tenants leads to better communication, fewer issues (like late rent payments), and a lower likelihood of turnover. You can avoid many of the problems that typically plague landlords by simply cultivating a healthy relationship.
5 Tips for Welcoming a Tenant on Week 1
The first few days after a tenant moves into one of your properties are critically important. The goal is to instill confidence, remove friction, and begin building a healthy relationship. Here are a few simple suggestions for how you can do this:
1. Make Sure the Property is Pristine
It doesn’t matter if you’re renting a room for $350 per month in a rough part of town, or leasing a luxury penthouse for $10,000 per month in the middle of the city – the property should be pristine when a tenant moves in.
Pristine doesn’t mean the property is fully updated, or that it’s everything the tenant has ever dreamed of. It simply means the property is clean. There’s no dust on the mantel, cobwebs in the corner, grime in the sink, or fingerprints on the windows. Every crevice of the unit is clean.
A clean rental property sets the tone. It sends a signal of respect to your tenant and helps them feel at home. As a result, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with their move.
While you can certainly clean your own rental property, it’s worth spending some extra money to have a professional cleaning service come through. It’s worth every penny!
2. Provide a Welcome Package
Nothing says “you’re home” quite like a welcome package. And the good news is that you can provide a welcome package to your tenants at very little cost.
A welcome package is basically a collection of important items and gifts that you give to a new tenant upon moving in. It should include both practical items – like toilet paper and dish soap – as well as more exciting items – like a gift card, flowers, candy, or snacks.
If you own high-end luxury rental properties, you might consider going even nicer with your welcome package. A bottle of wine, toys for kids, or a spa treatment all have the ability to make a positive first impression.
3. Make All Information Accessible
Nothing is more frustrating (from a tenant’s perspective) than being unable to find basic information that’s needed to get settled. You can avoid this common point of friction by developing a resource that makes all information easily accessible. This includes:
- Contact information for utility providers
- Parking information
- Your personal contact information
- A local guide to the neighborhood
- Information on how to work different systems (like a smart TV or finicky dishwasher)
You can include this information in your welcome package (in printed form), but it’s also helpful to send it to the tenant’s email address so that it’s always accessible with the click of a button. (This will save you from having to field repetitive questions.)
4. Make Yourself Available
It’s very important that you make yourself available during the first week a tenant is in your property. Questions will emerge during this initial period and you can reassure your tenants by picking up the phone when they call, promptly texting back, and/or replying to emails in a timely fashion.
Good communication is at the heart of a healthy tenant-landlord relationship. Set yourself up for long-term success by acing the first few interactions.
5. Do Something Unexpected
Most landlords offer a welcome on move in day and are never seen from or heard from again (except when there’s an issue). But we recommend extending your welcome to an entire week. This gives your tenant time to settle in and allows you to make a much longer and more lasting first impression.
Give your tenant three or four days to settle in and then do something unexpected. For example, you could surprise them with a gift card to a local dinner spot, buy a TV for the living room (they’re so inexpensive now), or drop in with some groceries. You might end up spending a couple hundred dollars, but you’re making an investment in your relationship (and reputation).
Partner With Green Residential
At Green Residential, we’re on your team. We do everything within our power to help Houston landlords establish and maintain healthy relationships with their tenants. If you’re looking for a way to better serve your renters and build a healthy, sustainable stream of income for years to come, let us help. Our comprehensive property management services are designed to streamline the time-consuming so that you can spend more time doing the things you love.
For more information on our services, please contact us today!