For the most part print ads have given way to the Internet. Although I have found some of the traditional ways of finding tenants are still valuable and work, as a stand alone method or in conjunction with technology. A good example of this is word of mouth it could be with colleagues, landlords, tenants, etc. Just be careful that you’re not mixing business with pleasure! For example, I would not rent to someone who was recommended to me by a friend because if something went wrong it would be a little awkward at best. When placing an ad it is so important to be descriptive and don’t be shy about showcasing what the property has to offer. “A photo is worth a thousand words” so use as many photos as you can to really give the prospect an idea of what the property has to offer, and what it doesn’t. If the property isn’t going to work for someone it is best figured out before time is spent showing the property and communicating back and forth. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, I like to have an “open house” time scheduled where all prospective tenants can come look at the rental property. This not only saves me time running back and forth it also creates a “fear of loss” with potential tenants when they know the property is in demand. I’ve found that prospects will return there completed applications quicker and with all of the data filled out.
In my opinion tenant screening is just as, if not more, important than the lease. Checking out work history, residence history and where the tenant currently and in the past has lived provides a landlord or property manager some insight into a prospects current and past situation. But the number one tenant screening tool for me is a credit, eviction, and background report. These can be done for as little as $25 with companies such as Rentec Direct
A solid lease is important and if you do have the unpleasant experience of ending up in court the judge is basically looking for fair and reasonable treatment and rules for the tenants. Using your states standard lease and adding a few added regulations if you want seems to work well. If I have trouble renting a place I sometimes give a discount on the first month’s rent but I always make sure to get the security deposit. It’s So important to review the lease, inspections, maintenance, and repairs with the tenants prior to there moving in just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
When it comes to eviction, don’t wait, the sooner you get the paper work rolling the better. If a tenant is more than two months late on rent chances are they will not be able to get caught up. Be prepared when you head into court and know what’s what about your case. I think dressing like a professional in court is a great idea. Chances are the tenants won’t even show up so it’s easy to win the case but not always so easy to get the rent money. Keeping good tenants is the goal so, be proactive, inspect your rental property regularly, respond quickly to maintenance requests. Rewarding tenants that use direct deposit with a slight decrease in rent or making improvements to the property while they are still there may entice them to stay.