As investors ourselves in many markets and class types, our primary goal is to attract and retain the best tenant possible for our properties.
The “Best Tenant” can be defined by qualifications on their application, potential willingness to stay for a longer term, and/or ability to be a satisfied resident when we, as the landlord, successfully perform the duties as required by the lease agreement. (We try to avoid high maintenance, negative tenants).
Below are some of our best practices we feel all landlords should follow to optimize their investments and find the best tenants in the shortest amount of time:
Best Practices for Getting Qualified Tenants To Rent Your Property
- Property is “Rent Ready” - The goal for any vacant unit is to be sure the unit is ready to market as soon as possible to limit vacancy. However, it is also important to make sure the property is considered “rent ready” when prospective residents start previewing the home. “Rent ready” is best described as the condition of the property when the tenant takes possession. This will avoid irritating the tenant due to work not being done, or over promising by your leasing team for work that might not be on the list to complete. Your leasing team should have the ability to say “what you see is what you get”. Often we will begin marketing the property for rent three or four days before work is done, however, we will not allow showings until the work is complete. These three or four days will allow for marketing penetration and will hopefully create some excitement and demand.
- Cleanliness - Not every unit is going to be 100% updated or rehabbed every time you market it. You can’t always control that, and it really doesn’t make sense from a financial return standpoint to strive for that. This means you may not be able to compete on being the most updated unit, but you can compete on cleanliness. The best tenants will often choose a clean, slightly dated unit over an updated, dirty property.
- Priced Right - This is one of the most important items on this list. Many landlords try to reach for rental amounts above the market price range which leaves the property vacant for extra weeks/months. Supply and demand, as well as time of the year, both have an effect on the rental price. You need to be well educated about the other properties on the market and how your unit compares. We know we are priced too high based on the following:
- No activity - This is common sense. If you have been marketing the property but do not have multiple showings per week and/or applications, you maybe priced too high.
- Bad activity - Qualified tenants gravitate towards clean, priced-right units leaving the less than qualified applicants searching for what’s left. Your goal is to be the first one in the area to rent, not the last one. Be on alert for sad stories and trust your instinct if you believe you would be taking a risk by renting to them if they do not satisfy your requirements for leasing.
- Attractive Marketing - Internet marketing is everything today and here are some best practices we utilize:
- Headline - Put the number of bedrooms in the headline along with the other 4 or 5 most attractive qualities of the unit so prospective applicants don’t have to read through the entire ad to find this important information.
- Details - Use bullet points to describe the property, and not paragraphs. Again, today’s consumer looks for quick and easy.
- Pictures - Take good quality pictures of both the inside and the outside. Any smartphone these days can produce high quality pictures. Never post a listing without interior pictures. Put yourself in the shoes of those searching. What would be important for you to see?
- Pets - Accept pets. Over 50% of renters today have pets and another 18% may be interested in getting a pet in the next 12 months. By allowing pets, you are making the property available to all potential renters, not just half of them. You can always decline an application if you are not comfortable with the type/size of pet they have, or if they have too many, but you will continue to attract tenants with harmless pets. You can always charge additional fees and deposits to offset your risk as the landlord.
- Ease Of Showings - We live in a world of instant gratification and a society that is not interested in waiting. It’s important that you are flexible and make every effort to accommodate all showings. People can’t rent what they can’t see. Allow other real estate brokers to show, have flexible showing times, or use a showing lockbox service which is becoming increasingly popular, especially for vacant homes.
If you are following these best practices your odds of leasing your unit faster and with a higher quality tenant will increase dramatically. If you want to dive in any of the above 5 units further or curious what the market rent for your unit would be then click on the following link:
You may also like to take a look at some of these great resources:
- How Service Pets Can Get You In Trouble - Service & Assistance Animals
- How to rent your property quickly - https://www.gcrealtyinc.com/blog/how-to-rent-your-property-quickly
- Should I Allow Pets in My Chicagoland Rental Property? Pros and Cons Explained - https://www.gcrealtyinc.com/blog/should-i-allow-pets-in-my-chicagoland-rental-property-pros-and-cons-explained