Top Tips for Landlords on Finding an Ideal Tenant

Written by Simon Colburn

April 19, 2021

As a landlord, you’ll have many responsibilities to attend to daily, from paying bills to cleaning out apartments. An unruly tenant will only complicate your work; dealing with someone’s bad behaviors will often leave you less time to attend to the rest of your tasks, and your property may suffer as a result. 

This detriment to your work is, of course, mitigated by only taking in well-behaved tenants. Still, it can be challenging to determine who will be suitable for your property just from first impressions. Luckily, there are several ways to ensure that you’ll only deal with people who make doing your job easier rather than harder.

While no method is foolproof, following are some tips for landlords interested in learning where to find good tenants. 

Why Should You Use a Professional Property Management or Leasing Company?

If you’re a newer landlord or one that’s recently expanded your holdings, then handling all the responsibilities that come with your property by yourself can seem daunting. If that’s the case, then hiring a professional property management business can help take some of the load off your back. 

Prospective tenants who behave badly will often seek out private owners who may not have the resources to conduct extensive background checks. If a lousy tenant manages to get through your preliminary screening, it could cost you income in the long term due to missed payments and repairs. 

A quality property management or leasing company will have seen thousands of applicants and developed surefire ways to find good tenants. Using their services will not only guard you against poor tenants but also rental scams and legal issues.

Provide a Quality Home – Attract the Right Kind of Tenants

While finding good tenants can sometimes seem impossible, there’s a very simple method to get them interested in your properties: keep your properties looking good! Remember that most prospects aren’t just looking for somewhere to store their possessions—they’re looking for a place that they can make into a home. If your vacancies aren’t thoroughly cleaned out and renovated, most good tenants won’t be interested in leasing.

New furnishings, polished floors, and vacuumed carpets attract more good tenants than bad.  Other repairs and refurbishments you can focus on to increase the appeal of your property are:

  • The Kitchen – Sanding and repainting the cabinet doors, cleaning or replacing the countertops, and upgrading the sink
  • The Exterior – Trimming the lawn, removing in-the-way trees or bushes, giving the walls a new coat of paint, even adding a garden if there’s space
  • The Interior – Knock down walls to make the living space feel bigger and brighter, add windows to increase natural light and airflow, install modern amenities such as a washer and dryer

As you can see, there are a wide variety of improvements you can make to any property, with the goal of enticing potential buyers who appreciate a well-appointed, upgraded home. 

Take High Quality, Professional Photos

After renovating your property to the best of your ability, you’ll want to take pictures of the interior to show off to prospective tenants. Photographing your rental may seem like a trivial step in the process, but it should actually be taken very seriously. Your property could be recently renovated and beautifully arranged, but poor-quality real estate photography will still drive off good tenants.  

Good-looking photos are an essential part of selling homes—studies show that properties with well-taken pictures sell 32% faster than properties with photos that are below average. Taking a few photos with your cell phone won’t cut it. We recommend hiring a professional photographer to help you capture the vacancy’s best features to attract the best potential residents. 

Professional photographers can be pricey at around $100/hour on average, but the expense is worth it to avoid the potential financial losses and property claims of a bad tenant.  

Stay on Top of Maintenance and Any Problems

Another way to avoid bad tenants is to take care of the good ones that you already have! Your reputation as a landlord will suffer if your residents have bad things to say about you, making it more likely that good tenants won’t want to invest in one of your properties.

Fortunately, it’s reasonably simple to keep your tenants happy by making sure to always respond promptly to their concerns. Typically, this means consistently answering your phone when a tenant calls, getting a handle on maintenance tickets quickly, dealing with disruptive neighbors, and respecting your tenant’s privacy. 

No issue should go on longer than a few days and, if it does, make sure to stay in communication with the renter to give him/her frequent updates. Knowing that their landlord is supportive in stressful situations goes a long way towards retaining and attracting quality tenants. 

Be Strict with Payment

Nothing sets up a fruitful landlord-tenant relationship better than outlining your expectations before they move in. While prospective tenants are viewing the property, make the day that rent will be due abundantly clear. Additionally, ensure that they are aware of any penalties that occur if a payment is late. 

If you’re trying to screen for bad tenants, tell them that two late payments in 12 months will result in immediate eviction. Even if you don’t end up following that policy, tenants knowing that you are serious about prompt payments beforehand will help weed out those that won’t be able to pay regularly. 

Conclusion

These are only a few methods for how to find good tenants for your rentals; there are many ways to attract quality renters. Try different strategies and see what works for you!

It’s important to note that even with the best tenant screening tools available, you’ll never be able to tell a bad resident from a good resident with 100% accuracy. Picking a renter is an investment and a risk,  so make sure not to rush the decision.

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