If you’ve ever owned a rental property, you’ve learned how to find great tenants and avoid the not-so-great ones. If you’re just starting out with rentals though, please enjoy this guest post from one of my investor clients who has a few tips to help you find your ideal tenants.
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We all want the perfect tenant. She pays on time, every time. She takes decent care of the property inside and out. She is respectful of neighbors and other tenants and is, in general, low maintenance. While sometimes seeming impossible to find, this ideal tenant is not a mythical creature. She exists, and there are things we can do to increase our chances of finding her.
A Few Tips to Find That Ideal Tenant
Make sure the rent you’re asking is ‘in the right neighbourhood’. Different prices attract different people. Too low or high a price point drives people away. You can do your own comparative by looking at rental rates in the area or hire a REALTOR® to complete a rental assessment for you. Or, since you’re a DIYer anyway, you may want to test the market to see what it will bear. If no one responds to your ads, you’ll know you’re aiming too high.
Craft a gem of an ad; make your property irresistible or at least intriguing alongside all the other ads. Use various media, spread the word among friends and colleagues. If you know the type of renter you seek (trucker, university student, family), advertise where they are.
Tenant selection is key, so interview thoroughly. You don’t need an interrogation room, but do get (and check!) references that are not friends and family. Talk to their previous landlords, current employers and even previous neighbours if you can. For tips on what to ask an applicant, look online or ask landlord friends. Also, just as an aside, when I was booking showings, 80% of people who made appointments did not show up. 80%. I learned to cram appointments together, 10 minutes apart to avoid wasting my time.
Know the Rules.
Both you and your tenant have rights and obligations. Know what they are. The Landlord Tenancies Branch (in Manitoba that site is here) is a great resource for documents and step-by-step instructions on handling different situations. The site clearly outlines each party’s role in a variety of circumstances.
I think the biggest surprise to me at the beginning was the realization that the tenant-landlord relationship is not just a business deal; it’s a relationship. I went in thinking of tenants as a line on my budget sheet and soon learned what Tina seems to know so well: It’s a people thing.