Owning and renting properties is a business, and as such, your renters are more than occupants, they are your customers. If you want your best customers to stay loyal and keep renting from you, your top priority is, of course, keeping them happy. It is certain to save you tremendous time and money in the long run. Let’s look at some ways you can make sure you’re being a good landlord.
Make Your Rental Property More Inviting
With so many properties available for rent in many markets, having a place that stands out is a must. Aside from the usual attributes (location, safety, schools) you considered when buying your property, there are some elements renters are looking for that will show you put thought and consideration into how you present your property and their future residence.
Fresh Paint and Cleanliness.
When showing your property, make sure it is move-in ready. Put the property and you as a landlord in the best light possible.
Upgrades and Renovations
Today’s renters are looking for an array of updated elements. Hard flooring, such as wood laminate, solid wood and natural stone, is a popular and durable choice. This one upgrade can save you money in the long run as you won’t have to clean and replace the carpet after the end of every lease. New shutters or two-inch blinds will be appreciated and provide ample privacy. Upgraded appliances add extra appeal, while granite countertops and tile backsplashes offer an upscale look and durability.
Make sure the front door is freshly painted and the flowerbeds and lawn are beautifully appointed. Simple greenery in flowerbeds is inexpensive but goes a long way in boosting the attractiveness of your property.
Ensure the driveway, garage or carport is accessible, easily reached from front and back doors, and has enough spaces to serve all occupants.
In addition, renters are increasingly looking for homes and apartments that have smart features, such as lighting, security system and thermostat that tenants can control with an automation hub or phone app. While the investment is moderate up front, smart house features are what many prospective tenants are looking for now.
Set High Expectations for Yourself and Live Up to Them
It’s common to highlight your property’s best features but make sure when you advertise your place, whether online or in print, that you live up to each claim. This also applies to your lease; if you promise something verbally, make sure to put it in writing to assure your tenant that you will stand by your word.
If there is one area where tenants often feel the most frustration, it is when something with the property is broken or not operating properly. From broken water heaters to overworked air conditioners, staying on top of issues is a must to keep your tenants happy. Being accessible and responding within a reasonable time will go far with any renter. Simply replying to your tenants if there is a non-emergency concern or question will make them feel valued and heard. However, you must set reasonable expectations for what you will and won’t do and how you will do it. Be sure to outline in the lease how you will take care of any issues that arise and what the tenant is responsible for while occupying the property. According to Forbes.com writer Brandon Turner, in the article “13 Principles for Being an Incredible Landlord,” you should train your tenant from day one. He says, “Tenants must be trained to follow the lease and become great tenants. They also must be trained to respect your office hours, pay rent correctly (and on time), and communicate effectively with you. In return, you must manage your properties efficiently and effectively through routine inspections and prompt communication, which will also keep your risk of getting sued to a minimum.”
When to Consider Hiring a Property Manager
Some property owners find they need a management and communications buffer between them and their tenants, particularly if they have multiple properties to keep track of. Hiring a property manager to be the voice and face of your business will take the pressure of daily communication and business tasks off your plate.
Attract Ideal Tenants and Reduce Turnover
With Google Maps, Yelp, and others, being extremely popular among renters these days, you’ll find many prospective tenants have scoped out you and your reviews online. You will always have tenants who must move on for whatever reason, but if you’ve been a great landlord, they will likely give you a 5-star review. Every interaction with a tenant can get you a good or bad review, but if you have more 5-star reviews, you’ll attract those 5-star tenants you looking for.
Once you get those ideal tenants, you’ll want to keep them. Being a terrific landlord through every interaction and keeping your tenants happy can pay off over the long term: You’ll have renters who actually take care of your place, pay their rent on time and want to stay right where they are.