Attracting good tenants is the lifeblood of any successful rental property investment. And there are some essential rules for attracting these tenants to your units. Keep these tips in mind as you continue buying rental property. These tips will also help keep you maximizing your cash flows when investing in real estate. Remember that you can always be learning new and better ways to maximize your profits in investment properties by becoming an even better landlord.
If you want good tenants, be a good landlord
Any landlord worth his salt will ensure he performs proper maintenance on his rental property. As a landlord, you should not only make repairs in a timely manner on all defects you can see – but also on those you can’t. Remember, that when investing in rental property, since you’re not going to want to disturb your tenants constantly, make sure to ask them on a periodic basis what physical property issues are arising in their units. Is there a new small leak in the kitchen drain? Is their toilet working properly? Any gas or oil odors suddenly present? You need to ask to find out.
And you should be asking these questions about your investment properties on a regular basis. When you keep up with repairs to your investment property, you make your tenants feel more secure about you, as well as making them feel good about staying in your unit. This will aid in future retention. Obviously, the more tenants you can retain year to year, the less work you’ll have to do – since you won’t need to look for new tenants to replace them. Proper maintenance also keeps your overall repair costs down over the entire term of your ownership of the rental property.
Hire a good property manager
If you’ll be using the services of a property management company, make sure you are stringent in your due diligence prior to hiring them. Check out their references, talk to their current landlord roster, and obtain referrals from local real estate pros like real estate agents in your area. Good property managers always stay in regular contact with all tenants. They don’t simply collect rent. It’s their job to maintain good relationships with all tenants. They are proactive at performing property inspections, and will take care of maintenance and emergency repairs as needed. And they will screen prospective new tenants for you as well.
Set realistic market rents for your units
If you set a rent that’s too high, you may profit from the incremental amount above market rent for a short time…but you’ll end up paying for it later when that tenant decides to move because his rent is too high. Again, looking for new tenants is always a costly endeavor. Not only time-wise, but also due to the increased vacancy that occurs every time a tenant moves out. On average, expect at least a month of lost rent due to any tenant moving out. Always make sure you know what current market rents for your area are. Check out your competition for like units. Go visit them. Talk to local real estate agents to get more information as to what constitutes market rents for comparable units at any given point in time. Check out Craigslist listings for rentals in your area. Become an expert on market rents. Know what other real estate investors in your area are charging at any given time.
Likewise, setting rent too low does you no good either. While you may get more takers for your unit, you’re not optimizing your cash flow, as you are giving up the differential between market rent and what you’re charging each month. Remember too that tenants that pay rents under market rate tend to not be so careful about keeping up the look of the unit. Ultimately, they may end up doing more harm to the physical space due to increased wear and tear, and lack of care. Basically, they’ll take much less pride in their living environment when they know they are paying a discounted rate for it.
Beware the professional bad tenants
Tenants that know how to work the system are the ones you’ll need to be most careful installing in your units. While tenants that don’t pay their rent on time need to be evicted as quickly as possible, some states allow the eviction process to last for months. All the while you’re losing revenue due to non-payment. And don’t forget the legal fees involved as well for retaining the services of a good eviction attorney. The best advice here for all real estate investors is simple: make sure you carefully check all references for any prospective tenant. This includes speaking with their previous landlords, running credit checks on them, as well as criminal background checks too. Do this, and you should properly protect yourself from those professional tenants who are gaming the system.
photos courtesy of regulatedtenants.com, iresvegas.com, newhomessection.com, lowesforpros.com, landerassociates.wordpress.com