Finding good tenants is only half of the equation.
Learn how to be a good landlord so you can attract great tenants and reduce turnover.
Owning a rental property is a lot like a marriage: it’s not just about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person. But how exactly do you do that?
In this article, we’ll cover how to be a good landlord so that your tenants will want to renew their lease year after year.
Get a Good Head Start
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to be a good landlord right away—even before you have a signed lease.
1. Crunch the Numbers
Most tenants shop with two things in mind: location and budget. There’s not much you can do about the location of your rental property, but how much you’re charging per month is fully within your control.
Do your research to make sure you’re charging a fair rent for the location and amenities you’re offering. Not sure? A realtor or management company can help provide some guidance, which brings us to our next point….
2. Call In the Pros
Having a team of professionals on your side can ensure that your tenants get excellent customer service without you having to lift a finger.
Hire a management company to take care of the “heavy lifting” involved in rental property management. A professional management company can oversee everything from listing and tenant screening to maintenance and rent collection.
3. Clean Up
First impressions are everything, so keep the rental property safe and clean at all times.
Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, send in a cleaning crew, and take care of any repairs before your new tenants move in. This will get the relationship off on the right foot.
It’s hard work to move into a new place, but with a few little “extras,” you can make it a little bit easier and show your new tenants what a great landlord you are!
4. Welcome to the Neighborhood
If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel, timeshare, or Airbnb, you’ve likely seen a guidebook about the area. You can do the same with a new tenant welcome packet.
Some helpful things to include in your “guidebook” are:
- A copy of the lease agreement;
- A list of your favorite nearby restaurants;
- A map of nearby gas stations, grocery stores, and other useful spots;
- The trash and recycling pickup schedule;
- Change of address packets from the post office;
- Contact information for the utility companies;
- Contact information for you and/or your property management company;
- A personal letter welcoming them into their new home;
- Any other information related to the property.
5. Housewarming Gift
Want to really go the extra mile? Leave a welcome basket as a housewarming gift! Tenant gifts are tax-deductible (up to $25/person), so you’ll be doing yourself a favor, too.
Suggested items to include:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Coupons to local businesses
- Felt furniture pads
- Picture hanging strips
- UberEats gift card
- Fresh flowers
- Scented candle
- Houseplant (live or faux)
- A treat, such as cookies, candy, or a fruit basket
Many of these items can be purchased very inexpensively but will go a long way toward making a great impression. As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Knowing how to be a good landlord doesn’t stop once your tenants have moved in. You need to work on your relationship to make sure they continue to see you in a positive light.
6. Be Transparent
Be upfront about your policies and expectations right from the start. Many disputes happen simply because the rules were buried deep within the rental agreement. For this reason, walk your tenants through the lease so you’re both on the same page. If they have any questions, you’ll be able to clarify them.
7. Be Reasonable
Problems are bound to arise. When they do, stick to your guns (and the lease!) but try to understand where the tenant is coming from. You’ll be more likely to reach a solution through collaboration than conflict.
8. Be Professional
When you own an income property, you own a business. And business owners have to be professional. Keep all communications with your tenants respectful, polite, and business-like. Treating your tenants like friends and/or enemies will muddy the waters and, ultimately, harm your business.
Give both your tenants and your business the respect they deserve.
9. Be Consistent
As any parent knows, consistency is the key to a great relationship. If you’re constantly changing the rules, your tenant won’t know what to expect (and may start to look for another place to live).
This is doubly important if you have more than one rental property.
10. Be Trustworthy
Make sure that you or your property management company responds to any questions, complaints, concerns, or maintenance requests promptly, even if it’s just to let them know you received it.
Then (and this is key!), follow up with a doable solution.
Every landlord wants their rental properties to be successful. And while finding a good property and attracting good tenants can help, learning how to be a good landlord is the final piece of the puzzle.
Fortunately, with a little planning, you can set yourself up for success right from the start. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by hiring a property manager.
At American Home Team Realty, your success is our #1 priority. We offer a full range of property management services to ease your burdens without diminishing your income. In fact, most of our clients find that our services allow them to retain better, higher-paying tenants for longer, thus increasing their income year-to-year.
Call today to see how we can help!