5 Tips to Find Good TenantsBy Paul Esajian on February 1, 2019
Good tenants are the key to any successful rental property. All the new appliances, updates and additions won’t matter if your tenant stops paying. In most cases, the work you put in finding the right tenant is more important than anything you will do after the fact. Once a tenant commits you are on the hook, good or bad, for the duration of the lease. It can be tempting to become lazy or hurried with your due diligence if you are getting close to a vacancy or you are sick of showing the property. It cannot be stressed enough just how important taking your time finding the right tenant is. Anyone that has ever been through an eviction can validate this point. Here are five important tips on finding the right tenant while making the process as simple as possible.
- Price Right. In many respects listing a property to sell is the same as listing a rental. In both cases people respond to price. Everything starts with understanding supply and demand and knowing your market. Trying to squeeze a few bucks more from the rent sounds good on paper but can create more problems than it is worth. You are better off pricing right and starting from there. By pricing right, you attract tenants who want the property. If you shoot for the moon and price too high, you will be stuck with tenants that have unrealistic expectations of the property. They will demand more from you simply because they are paying above market price. On the flip side, if you price in line with the market you can not only create demand, but you will temper expectations and start off the relationship on the right foot. Maximizing the bottom line is always important, but you need to pick and choose your battles when it comes to your rental property.
- Provide as Much Info as Possible. The most common reason you settle for subpar tenants is because you are sick of showing the property and answering questions. The simple solution to that is providing as much info as possible on your rental website or listing. Instead of getting dozens of calls and emails, you can give prospective renters with pictures, videos and information. Don’t be afraid to list any red flag items with the property or specific terms of the lease. They are going to find out soon enough, so you might as well save yourself some time and get it out there. If you are only going to do one thing you should have a short video of the property. Pictures often don’t tell the whole story. A sixty second video can capture the essence of the property and leave renters with an impression, either way. The more info you have on the listing the easier it will be to funnel your search to only truly interested candidates.
- Get a Dedicated Website. Remember how painstaking the process was of getting and developing a new website was? Today, it is easier, and less expensive, than ever. If you plan on owning the property for the foreseeable future this is an investment you will use every lease. Even if you only use it for a lease or two, the cost is still not very prohibitive. On your website you can include the pictures and video mentioned above, but also specific forms and information. When a party shows interest, you can have them fill out an application online or provide a PDF they can send to you. You can also provide a link for any references and even a copy of the lease. It is always a good idea to have them review the lease before you move to a showing. By reviewing the application, references and lease prior to a showing you know what you are getting into prior to showing the property.
- Clean Before Showing. Showing a property with existing tenants is a delicate balance. On one hand you want to respect their privacy but on the other hand you need to show the rental. As long as you give your existing tenants plenty of notice you have followed the correct protocol. When you list your rental and know you will have showings it is a good idea to have the unit professionally cleaned. Most tenants can suspend their imagination and look beyond any mess and clutter. However, there are times when it is too much, and they decide to go elsewhere. You don’t want to lose a good tenant that wants the property because the rental is a mess. Always get it cleaned at the end of every lease.
- Reinforce Rules Prior to Signing. So, at this point, there is mutual interest on both sides and everything is done expect for the exchange of security deposit. Before you collect the security and have the lease signed you should take a few minutes to review the highlights. You don’t want to have an issue sixty days in because the tenant didn’t understand the lease. This is especially important if there are any items that are dear to you. Items such as pets, smoking or parking can cause instant termination of the lease. You need to convey this to your tenants so there is no misunderstanding. If you go over the lease in full and there are no questions or concerns you can move forward.
By taking the time to provide prospective tenants with as much info as possible you give yourself the best chance of success. Nothing is ever fool proof, but at least you cover your bases and know as much as you can about your tenants.