When you decide to invest in real estate, whether it's part of your retirement plan or simply a strategy for bringing in additional income, you know that you want to consider potential tenants carefully.
No one wants a tenant who is going to make them fight to collect the rent each month, struggle to keep the property appropriately maintained, or call them at all hours to deal with non-issues that nevertheless keep you hopping.
What many landlords fail to realize, however, is that they aren't the only ones doing some evaluating as a new tenant landlord relationship is developing.
Great tenants also have a list of qualities they look for in a landlord.
Do You Provide Customer Service?
When it comes down to it, your tenants are the reason you're able to receive rent for your property. They're your reason for being in business. Whether you're renting out a single-family home or a multi-family apartment building, you need to be focused on customer care. You can show this to potential tenants in a number of different ways.
- **Be flexible** While you can and should have a due date or even time for accepting rent as part of the contract, you should be willing to shift that date based on the individual tenant --- not on a monthly basis, but on a permanent basis as part of your contract. For example, if a tenant gets paid on Fridays, it might not be reasonable to expect payment on the first Wednesday of every month.
- **Be available** Have you provided a phone number where you can be reached by your renters? Do you take care of issues with the property in a timely manner, or will tenants be forced to live with those issues until you "get around to it" and can come in to fix them?
- **Be transparent and open** Allow potential renters to speak with others who rent from you, especially as part of an apartment complex or another multi-family unit. If current renters are happy, chances are, your future renters will be happy with your service, as well.
Are You Professional?
The best tenants know that the rental agreement between tenant and landlord is a business transaction, and they want a landlord who will treat the transaction professionally. They don't want a casual agreement. They wants a written contract that details all of the important information about the property, when their rent is due, and all of the other important information about their rental. Being professional includes a number of factors during the evaluation process.
Provide a business phone number that is answered quickly. If phone calls aren't answered on the spot, they should be returned in a timely manner.
Be organized. Don't dig around for crumpled paperwork and simply hope that you have everything in order. Instead, provide a clear rental agreement that is easy for you to locate and ready for new tenants to sign.
Be professional at all times. Bring your tenants into neat, clean properties that are move-in ready whenever possible. Maintain professional relationships with potential renters, from dressing professionally to keeping a professional demeanor throughout the process.
Also, regulate your properties. Don't have so much on your plate that you constantly appear scattered. Hiring a property management company to help take care of your properties or investing in turnkey properties can go a long way toward presenting a professional demeanor while reducing your workload.
Do You Have Great Reviews?
If you own a number of rental properties in your area, there are probably reviews written about you. If this is your first rental property, there's good news: there aren't any reviews out there to create a negative impression. Building positive reviews, however, is a huge step in the right direction for creating positive interactions with potential renters and bringing in the high-quality tenants you want for your property.
Encourage renters with whom you have a good relationship to post reviews. Google and Yelp are great platforms for encouraging this. Also, build great relationships with your renters. Be prompt when it comes to responding to problems.
Allow potential tenants to speak to current renters, especially if you have renters who are willing to be a good reference for you. Check out your reviews regularly. If you have negative reviews, see if there's a way for you to address them.
It isn't just your tenants whose reviews and profiles matter. Yours do, too! If you want to attract high-quality renters who will pay their rent on time, take care of minor issues themselves, and help positively contribute to your rental community, the best thing you can do is build your own reputation. A high-quality landlord is the goal of every good tenant. The better you look, the better your odds of attracting those great tenants who will contribute the most to your rental property.
Smartland is Northeast Ohio's largest real estate investment firm. Our team combines financial savvy with expertise in property management to help clients identify and invest in alternative investment vehicles that have strong growth potential.