Finding Tenants

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BY: MAURICE ANDERSON

Tenant selection is the single most important aspect of property management. Whenever I speak with a prospective client the question of how to select a tenant comes up. If you want to get a vacancy at your rental filled, prospective tenants need to be able to find you. Once you find a good tenant you must provide good service to keep that good tenant. Every landlord wants to find the ideal tenant. The person or family who always pays their rent on time, never disturbs others and does not complain or cause conflicts and keeps the premises in better condition than when they moved in. The way you maintain and market your property will have a substantial effect on the type of tenants you attract to your property.

Effective marketing involves portraying your property from others and differentiating in a positive aspect. There are more renters than buyers in this market. In a tight rental market this may not be as critical but in a market where there is a substantial amount of options to choose from, as a landlord, you need to let them know why your place is better than all the others. Was your property newly renovated? Does is have top of the line appliances? Is your neighborhood safer? The clearer you state the benefits of their new residence, the greater your chances of attracting your preferred tenants to your property.

Individuals look for rental property in a variety of places. It is going to be important for you to advertise in numerous areas as well, be omnipresent with your property. If you are renting a basement apartment you have a good chance of attracting people willing to live in a basement for the benefit of a lower monthly rent. If you have an expensive condo to rent, advertise where people with the appropriate income might search for rentals. At the initial stage, you must observe and listen. You will be asked questions. Answer all questions to the best of your ability and as honestly as you can. If you are requiring the tenant to pay the utilities do not minimize the cost of the utilities. Make sure you know the amount your utilities cost. Do not minimize the distance to grocery stores, subways, or schools. Becoming a landlord can be a risky business if you have not done your research.

Selecting a disreputable tenant who causes major damage to a unit can leave any landlord with a significant bill for cleaning up, repairs and even create a negative stigma for other regularly paying tenants. Being labeled the landlord who is inattentive is not good. The best way for landlords to avoid having to deal with this problem is to start off right, at the beginning of the landlord-tenant relationship. Landlords who screen their tenants properly will greatly reduce the risk of future loss; maintain their reputation in their community without any blemishes. In order to acquire a successful tenancy requires great communication between the landlord and tenant by understanding the definition of everybody’s responsibilities by having a good, clear and concise understanding of each other’s responsibilities and rights. Skipping this step means that the relationship between the landlord and tenant begins without a solid foundation. During times of difficulty, you will need something to refer to for clarification.

The rental application document is one of the most important documents in the entire rental process. A good rental application will require information on the applicant’s job, their income, previous landlord references as well as government identification just to name a few. Your end result is to find a reliable tenant that will be able to pay their rent in full, on time, keep the property in good condition and follow the clauses outlined in the lease. Take your time in this process. It can end up saving you thousands.

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