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Attracting the Right Tenant

You’ve done all the preparation, and the marketing.  You now have phone calls and emails coming in about that new property you just bought and renovated to have rental income.  How do you know that you are attracting a good tenant, one that will pay rent on time, live by the rules, and keep the property in reasonable condition?

The first thing you want to do is gauge who is attracted to living in the area, and in the building. Who is coming into your area and why are they coming? Is there a new corporation opening up, attracting people to move to the neighborhood to be close to work?  Are the schools desirable, encouraging young families to want to live in the district?  Is there a factory nearby, where many people in the community work?  A choice of employment opportunities, schools, and other amenities such as transportation, parks, or community is often a good way to figure out who your future tenants are likely to be, and market to them.

Working with realtors or hiring a property management company can also be a way to ensure you have a good tenant, and that prospective good tenants can see your rental advertised and promoted. Yes, you pay a fee or commission.  But this is an excellent way to get started with the marketing and screening for new tenants.

It’s important once you have responses to your advertisement for a rental that you meet with the prospective tenant, and have them formally apply.  They should fill out an application telling you their name, current address, current phone and email, employer, reason for moving, and provide references, including their former landlord.

Make sure you have permission to run a credit and background check, which will let you know if there have been any evictions, late payments, or criminal convictions. None of these is a total deal breaker, but you need to have the information so that you can address your concerns with the future tenant and come to an agreement.

Keeping your property in good shape also attracts good tenants.  When a property is run down, or has a reputation for being infested with vermin, has paint chipping, or a parking lot that is crumbling, renters who are looking for a good place to live may pass you by.  If a good tenant is going to spend their hard earned money on a place to live, it is going to be a place that is clean and well maintained.  

Finally, be available to your tenants, and resolve problems or answer questions quickly.  Good will is something that bears dividends, either in lease renewals, or recommendations by tenants to other people they know who will also be good tenants.

By Janet Hill

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