5 Things Every Landlord Should Know About Finding and Keeping Good Tenants…

As a property owner, you have probably had your fair share of good and bad tenants. You have started to watch for signs of what the typical “bad” tenant looks like to keep your rental from becoming a revolving door of occupants.

Knowing how overwhelming this can be, you have begun taking necessary measures to reduce your stress by spending more time finding (and keeping) good, reliable tenants who plan to hang around for a while. But it isn’t always easy to secure the ideal tenants every landlord dreams about.

Finding good tenants should not be another challenging task you face as a property owner, so we’ve created a quick and easy guide on how to find good tenants. But what is a good tenant?

The “Perfect” Tenant

Securing the right tenant is a critical part of keeping your rental property occupied and profitable– and doing this the first time will certainly pay off. The average eviction process from a property owner’s standpoint costs around $3,500– and you don’t want to have to fork over more money when your tenant isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain.

When searching for new tenants and screening applications, here are a few things to look for:

  • The ideal tenant has no relevant criminal convictions.
  • The ideal tenant has a clean eviction record.
  • The ideal tenant has a stable income and steady employment.
  • The ideal tenant has a good credit history and healthy financial background.
  • The ideal tenant will be honest and upfront.
  • The ideal tenant is respectful.
  • The ideal tenant knows how to effectively communicate.

At the end of the day, choosing a tenant is a business decision. While it might seem tempting to rent to the first person you seem to get along with, you should pick your tenants based upon clear facts versus opinions. Finding a tenant that checks all the boxes will make a big difference in this experience for you.

Finding “Good” Tenants

Once you know what to look for and what to expect from a prospective tenant, it is time to close up any loose ends at your property to ensure it is ready for a new tenant. Spread the word by advertising your rental in the right places; once applications start pouring in, review them and set up interviews with those you feel will make an “ideal” tenant.

The five basic steps to setting yourself and your property up with a good tenant are:

  • Prepare Yourself And The Space For New Occupants: Take the time to assess what happened with your previous tenants. What made them move? What aspects seemed to be working? What seemed overwhelming and frustrating? If you own a brand new rental, consider what your property has to offer prospective tenants.
  • Make Necessary Repairs: You do not want to allow prospective tenants to tour a sub-par property. Instead, take the time to freshen up the paint, add more caulking where needed, ensure that your rental has curb appeal, and make note of any landscaping improvements that need completed. Covering all the bases now can save you a headache later.
  • Advertisements: The number one way you can connect with prospective tenants is through effective advertisements. After you have prepped the space and determined what your ideal tenant looks like, it is time to create a detailed listing and get it out there. Get your advertisement out there; many landlords use Craigslist, Zillow, Realtor.com, Facebook Marketplace, and more.
  • Establish Clear Expectations: If you are hoping to secure a long-term tenant, be sure to include that information in your ads. Provide prospective tenants information regarding the location of the home. If the home is in a quiet neighborhood, let tenants know that they are expected to keep the noise down. Make your pet policy clear. Whether you are getting ready to list your ad or interviewing potential renters, be upfront and honest about the kind of person you want to rent to.
  • Screening Prospective Tenants: Once you have your pile of applications, it is time to start the interview process. Typically, tenant interviews do not take more than 30 minutes to complete this phase. Use this time wisely to learn more about the applicants and see who you think will be the best renter.After you have finished interviewing, run a thorough background check on the applicants that you are considering. You should probably run a background check on anyone over the age of 18 that will be living at the property.

Keeping Good Tenants

Now that you have wonderful tenants, it is time to make sure they hang around.

Here are three tricks to keeping good tenants:

  • Communicate Clearly: As a landlord, you should be taking all the time to communicate clearly and promptly with your tenants. Be sure to respond to their requests and needs in the allotted time listed in your lease. If you are planning to have the property inspected or plan to spray for bugs, be sure to let them know when they’re coming. Setting the tone for communication early on is important because you both are committed to a lease. Everything from when the best time is to connect with you to ask questions and maintenance repairs should be covered in your lease agreement.
  • A Good First Impression: One thing you can never take back is the first impression you made on someone, and this includes your tenants. Offer your tenants a warm welcome into their new home –a small gift basket with local goodies, a guide with information about the neighborhood, and clear instructions on paying rent and utilities can make a big difference in your tenants’ transition and their perception of you.
  • Respecting Their Space:  Sure, you will need to have the property inspected and treated routinely but remember that no one likes unexpected visitors. Be sure to schedule a time that works for your tenants. It might be your property, but this is their home. Review local and state laws regarding these sorts of things to ensure you are abiding by these laws and ensuring everyone’s rights are being respected.
    If you are searching for the perfect tenant or simply trying to manage the properties that are filled with them, keeping up with rental property is not for the faint at heart. No matter how big your real estate enterprise, pairing up with a property management company can help you balance all your duties and still enjoy being a landlord.

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About Real Property Management Midwest

We are local property management experts serving Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, & Louisville. We manage Single-Family Homes, Apartment Buildings, and Condos. With years of experience, Real Property Management is Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville and Northern Kentucky’s #1 Property Management and Leasing Company.