10 TIPS FOR FINDING THE BEST TENANTS
You’ve gotta love your tenants. As a property investor, you can’t achieve your financial goals without them.
Unfortunately, not all tenants are very lovable.
When it comes to dealing with problem tenants – prevention is always better than a cure.
We’ve asked Blink Property, the investment property management experts, to share some insider tips with us. Here are 10 things that can help you find a great tenant.
1) KEEP YOUR PROPERTY WELL MAINTAINED
“Good tenants will more than likely be attracted to a well maintained property,” says Nicole Keene from Blink Property.
In fact, it makes sense that if you want to attract tenants who will look after your property, then you should look after it too.
Keep it looking good, clean and highly liveable. The best tenants are not going to want to live in a property that is falling apart.
2) ADVERTISE THE PROPERTY WELL
Make sure you have a well written advertisement for the property, says Nicole. High resolution images that present the property in a favourable light are extremely important. A detailed description that showcases the property’s best features will also do much to attract the right kinds of tenants.
Imagine if you saw an ad for a property that had no internal photographs. You would probably assume it was a dump on the inside.
Poorly taken photos can make a place look worse than it actually is. High resolution images, taken with the right attention to lighting, can make it look better than it actually is.
Make sure inspections are scheduled at a convenient time for your rental demographic. If your tenants are likely to work 9 to 5 during the week, then it wouldn’t make sense to schedule an open inspection at 10:30am on a Tuesday.
3) HAVE ADDITIONAL FEATURES
In addition to keeping your property spick and span, it can often be helpful to include additional features that are relevant to the clientele you are trying to attract. For example, an air conditioner can attract tenants if your property is located in a hot environment. Built-in wardrobes can attract tenants if they have a growing family.
There is no need to go overboard with luxuries. Having that one little extra feature will have good tenants competing over your place – while enabling you to charge optimum rent.
4) MEET THEM IN PERSON
One of the most important things property managers and private landlords should do is to meet their prospective tenants in person. This will allow them to get a feel for the renter’s character and personality.
How do they present themselves? Do they look well-dressed and well-groomed? Do they smell of cigarette smoke when their application states they are a non-smoker?
While it is important not to be discriminatory, meeting your future tenants can give you an idea of the type of people they are.
If the tenant appears over eager, be wary that this may be a sign of desperation. Do they have a black mark on their rental history? Are they a less than ideal tenant?
5) CHECK IF THEY HAVE FILLED OUT THEIR APPLICATION CORRECTLY
If the tenant has left several fields blank, or, if they have written incorrect or mismatching information, this could indicate they have something to hide.
“Have they got several, mismatching addresses on their paperwork and IDs?” Says Nicole. This indicates they have moved around several times within a 12-month or 24-month period. Why have they needed to travel so much?
6) DO A FULL BACKGROUND CHECK
Make sure you check the tenant’s rental history to see if they have been in arrears. Do a reference check and see if they have ever been listed in a tenant default database.
When calling references, a little bit of smart talking can prove invaluable. If they have listed a private landlord as a reference, Nicole says, it can be a good idea to give an incorrect detail on purpose to see if the person will correct it.
For example, you might say “So and so was renting out your property for $345 a week,” when the applicant had said $350. If the landlord says, “Yes, that’s right,” then it is possible they are just a friend posing as a landlord.
When checking references, check previous landlords or property managers as well as current and previous employers. This will not only help you find out if they kept the property clean and paid the rent on time, but also, what kind of person they are, and whether they have a good work ethic.
7) LOOK AT HOW THEIR CHILDREN ACT AT THE INSPECTION
Nicole says, she has always found it useful to pay attention to how kids act during an inspection. If a prospective renter lets their children slam the doors, pull down the blinds or rip off the flyscreens during the inspection, it is likely they will let them do reckless things that may damage the property when they live in it.
8) DON’T HAVE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN A SMALL SPACE
Having too many people living together in a small property can create extra wear and tear, says Nicole. Two adults and one baby living in a one-bedroom apartment is fine. Two adults and one teenager in a one-bedroom apartment is a bad idea.
Be wary of large families, or large groups of friends, who apply to rent out a small property.
9) SET THE PRICE RIGHT
It is important to set the rental price in line with the market, says Nicole. Setting it too high will repel most people from considering it. Those who are desperate for accommodation, however, may think it is their only chance. If you charge too much, you may attract people with an unfavourable rental history.
Not setting the rent high enough may lead to good tenants assuming there is something wrong with the place. For those busily working full-time, it can be difficult to squeeze in several inspections each Saturday. If they think there is something wrong with the place, they won’t bother turning up at all.
10) HAVE A GOOD PROPERTY MANAGER
Most of the above points will come down to whether or not you have a good property manager on board. A good property manager will be able to detect an applicant’s character and use their wits to perform a thorough background check.
They will be able to keep on top of maintenance work by doing regular inspections, understand the type of renter you are trying to attract, and advertise the property in a diligent way.
Property managers also have access to tenant default databases – an invaluable source of information that can prevent you from choosing someone with a bad rental record.