You may not know your tenants well enough to be friends, but a lease puts you in a committed relationship. A lease creates a bond that can end well or on bad terms. Today we talk about some ways to help in keeping that relationship healthy from the start. Keeping the relationship as healthy as possible could save you money and time.
The first time the tenant sees your property they are also judging the landlord. From pictures of the listing to application and process they are learning about the landlord. A poor listing with limited photos means the landlord could be trying to hide something. An application that is extremely long and onerous can imply a landlord that will be over involved in your life in the coming months. In order to make the best first impression start using some easy online software that allows you to create great listings and include an online application that tenants can easily fill out on their phone. Assure the applicant that your rental is worth the rental amount.
Knowing your tenants on a first name basis is a must. It sets a precedent to the tenant that you know who they are, which is both welcoming by the tenant and enforcing for the landlord. Welcoming because you recognize the tenant as a person. Enforcing, because the tenant is reminded that you know them if rent is missed or the rental gets damaged, so tenants tend to care for the property more - saving you money. Sending birthday wishes or notes at a baby’s birth is a great way to instill a personal touch at no cost. Again there are free tools online to house all your communications, so if you are bad with names the system will keep track of who lives where, their birthday and all before you ever send a message.
Find an online platform that allows you to be in communication 24/7. This means a portal for tenant to send maintenance requests, collect rent online and messaging that you can access anywhere anytime. This gives the tenant a feeling that you are close if anything bad happens, which is great customer service. Also keep your distance and make sure to never make a surprise visit - provide a quick and easy message 24 hours in advance. Customer service is a must in any business, so keep the tenants you like, which saves you “make-ready” costs.
Pre-schedule time every month for doing maintenance on the rental. If nothing is needed when the time comes - great! Having the time set aside will save you stress from having to change plans last minute. Be proactive in keeping up with the maintenance of your rental. Procrastinating regular maintenance costs you money in the long run and leaves you having to respond to broken A/C’s, refrigerators and more last minute. Reminding the tenant to change the air filters or insulators over the water in the winter will save you money when it comes to leaks or replace the A/C every couple years.
Turns out that tenants don’t really talk about how bad their landlord was, but when they find a good landlord they tell the world. Previous tenant recommendations or returning tenants are all willing to pay the higher price. The savings from avoiding weeks of vacant showings and make-ready costs from a move out are substantial.
Stay open and honest from the beginning and set some guidelines to follow for returning or not returning deposit. Keep the communication open and find a software solution that helps you keep it all in one place. Happy landlording and good luck!