As a landlord, consistent cash flow is key to running a successful rental investment. One that’s successful is only possible if you can rent to long-term tenants. However, attracting long-term tenants is perhaps the most difficult part of that equation.
That said, it isn’t exactly rocket science. In this blog post, we share 8 tips with you on how you can land such tenants and enjoy a good, consistent income for many years to come.
Tip #1: Know what kind of tenant you want.
Before beginning the marketing process, make sure you know what kind of tenant you want. The goal of doing this is to help you create a rental ad that narrows the decision down to a particular group of prospective tenants.
This thought process will not only help improve your chances of landing the perfect tenant but will also help save time on tenants that don’t meet your qualifying standards.
Tip #2: Write a compelling listing.
Today, an increasing number of tenants are searching for their next apartment online. Rental listing sites provide tenants with a smorgasbord of options based on their search criteria. Therefore, to stand out from the competition, you need to write a compelling listing.
The following are a couple of things to keep in mind when doing so:
- Make it short and sweet. You’re not writing a novel.
- Include as many pictures of the property as possible.
- Make sure to highlight the best features of the property.
- Make it clear that your screening process includes checking their credit and criminal histories.
If you’re flexible towards tenants painting or decorating the unit, it can be good to mention this, because it can be a major selling point for some.
You also want to make sure that your ad is free from any kind of discriminatory statements. Examples of such statements include:
- Men preferred
- No wheelchairs or service dogs allowed
- Heavily Jewish area
- No children allowed
- Hispanic area
- No blacks allowed
As a general rule of thumb, avoid statements that touch on the 7 federally protected classes. The protected classes are sex, familial status, race, national origin, disability, religion and color.
Tip #3: Screen all prospective tenants.
If you want to up your chances of landing a long-term tenant, you need to have a thorough tenant screening process in place. The goal of screening tenants is to help filter out the bad ones from the good.
When screening tenants, the following are a couple of things to be in the lookout for:
- Their income. Only consider renting to tenants that earn a sufficient income that will enable them to pay rent without any issues.
- Rental history. Only rent to tenants that have clean rental backgrounds. In other words, avoid tenants that have prior evictions.
- Credit Rating. Only rent to financially responsible tenants. Consider those that have a credit rating of at least 700.
Additionally, just like the rental ad, you want to make sure that your screening process is free from any form of discrimination.
Tip #4: Offer them a warm welcome.
Tenants are usually anxious to live in a new place. As such, make yourself friendly and try to establish yourself as the go-to contact in regards to any questions your tenant may have about the neighborhood.
To start on the right foot, consider giving them a welcome gift of sorts. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, but offering them a gift can go a long way in showing them that you do indeed care.
Examples of some inexpensive things to give your tenants include a map of the area, cleaning supplies, baked goods, coffee beans and a gift card or a coupon towards a local favorite.
Tip #5: Stay on top of maintenance issues.
If you want to attract and retain a long-term tenant, then you need to have an attractive property that is well-maintained. You can ensure this by doing the following:
- Inspect the unit for problems regularly. Ideally, you want to do it when the tenant is first moving in, when seasons change, when driving by and when they eventually move out.
- Respond to maintenance requests promptly. Nothing frustrates a tenant more than a landlord who ignores their maintenance requests. It’s not only a surefire way to lose a good tenant, but that can also potentially land you in legal hot water.
Tip #6: Work on your communication skills.
Landlording is a service industry. Your tenants are your customers, and solid communication skills are critical in retaining them.
As such, make sure you have open lines of communication to make sure tenants can easily get a hold of you whenever they want help.
To make it easy and convenient for your tenants, make sure to ask them what their preferred mode of communication is. According to a study done in 2017, millennials prefer communicating through text messaging and through online apps, while baby boomers prefer it in person or via telephone.
Tip #7: Include friends and family in your marketing efforts.
When starting, your close friends and family can make a difference. Word-of-mouth marketing is known to be an effective marketing strategy. A study found that up to 84% of consumers believe word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family than any other form of marketing.
Besides using friends and family, you may also consider using existing tenants. Of course, you’ll need to have maintained a good relationship with them for this to work.
Offering some incentives can also go a long way in boosting its effectiveness.
Tip #8: Respect your tenant’s right to privacy.
This is a big one!
Even as the landlord, you cannot barge in on your tenant without them knowing. Regardless of the reason, you are required to provide your tenants with a notice before entering their units, even when just saying ‘hi’.
If you must access their rented unit for whatever purpose other than to respond to an emergency, always inform them beforehand. Agree on a date that is convenient for both of you, and try your best to follow through with it.
There you have it–8 tips on how to attract and retain long-term tenants. If you find this work daunting, consider hiring a professional property management company. Real Property Management has more than 4 years of property management experience in the Grand Prairie, Alberta area.