Good tenants are the key to successful rental property. You want them to take care of your property as though it was their own, pay you on time, and leave the property in the same shape in which they found it. Right? So how do you find the perfect tenant? And then how do you keep them?
Put your best foot forward.
The first step in finding a good tenant is to offer a good looking property. Make sure everything sparkles on the inside and is immaculate on the outside.
When meeting with prospective tenants, be professional. After all, this is your business and the property your product. Treat them with the same respect you expect when purchasing products and services.
The Internet is a great place to advertise. You can post your ad with pictures on craigslist.com at no cost. Spend some time on your ad copy. Make sure it contains your property’s best characteristics. Put a sign in the front yard. Spread the word among friends and family. What schools or businesses surround your property which may allow you to post an ad on their bulletin boards?
Arrive a little early for the appointment to make sure everything is just right. Point out the property’s features and tell them what expenses are included in the rent, such as water, trash collections fees, etc. As your prospective tenants leave, give them a standard rental application. (Use “rental application” to search for one on the Internet.) Make sure it contains a clause that gives permission to release information. You’ll need that when you verify the information they provide.
Once you have a completed rental application check the information, including calling references, contacting their previous landlord, and verifying employment history. Request recent paystubs and Form 1099s to confirm income.
Do a credit report.
Ask for a non-refundable application fee to cover this expense. If the prospective tenant has had difficulty in paying bills in the past, you don’t want to be added to the list. Also, by charging this fee, you’ll know they are serious.
Maintain the property by keeping everything in good working order and looking nice. And maintain a good relationship with your tenants by being responsive and communicative. The end result will be a win-win for both you and your tenant.