How to Become a Better Landlord
If you’ve ever managed a property or been a landlord for any length of time, then the chances are pretty good you know already know it’s no easy feat. If you’re new to the game, what you may not know is that it can be a full-time gig managing maintenance. enforcing timely rent payments and safeguarding your investment is no small feat. Add in multiple properties and multiply all the above, and it’s easy to let certain things slip that could make a huge difference in the profitability of your rental properties long-term. Here are some tips and helpful advice for landlords who want to bring their A-game.
Availability and responsiveness are two of the most important things you can provide as a good landlord. However, being available is much easier when you live near your properties. If you do live far away and aren’t able to check in somewhat regularly, you may want to consider hiring a property management company to handle administrative needs, such as rental payments, or to schedule maintenance and repair.
Tenants cite apathetic or unresponsive landlords among the top reasons they opt to look for other places to live. And cycling tenants in and out is expensive! You want to keep turnover as low as possible if you want to keep your business booming. Make sure your business management tools and website stay up to date. What’s more, if you ignore big issues, such as unsafe maintenance problems, leaks, or infestations, you could risk a health violation—very bad for business.
Don’t forget that your tenants are part of what makes you money. Yes, you may provide them with a place to live, but without their continued business, you wouldn’t have a livelihood. Many landlords forget that their tenants are their customers. And just like any other business owner, whether it be a boutique retail store, owners need to ensure they’re delivering value if they want to secure their customer’s loyalty.
Many business offer discounts, incentives or annual gifts to show their appreciation. Considers doing the same. Reward tenants who consistently pay their rent on time with an end-of-the-year cash bonus or even a gift card to a favorite local restaurant. This works in two ways: it enforces good behavior and shows your tenants you appreciate them! Have a vacancy? Offer incentives to tenants who refer family or friends to help fill vacancies.
Just be sure not to give the wrong feedback if asked why an application was denied. There are strict regulations regarding rental application denial reasons, so be sure to avoid an of the common fishing scams and pitfalls landlords fall into.
Make sure to upgrade older or worn-down appliances, such as washer/dryer units, stoves, and microwaves after at least four to five years. Same with the flooring or paint—especially for long-term tenants who have taken care of your property. You’ll also want to consider your property’s landscaping. Curb appeal is huge, so if you don’t already have someone who comes to trim hedges, mow the lawn, and keep the outside of your property looking fresh, you’ll want to put this on the top of your to-do list. Even just a bit of green or some flower beds can go a long way.
You’ll also want to reevaluate your security measures if you haven’t in a while. With advances in new tech, there’s a lot of awesome safety options out there like. For example, Kwikset Kevo Convert, which uses Bluetooth to transform any existing deadbolt into a “smart lock,” or the Schlage Control Smart, which allows property managers to control access to certain units through an app and gives tenants access using either their phone or a fob.
Ease up on pet policies
As homeownership declines in the US and the number of renters increases, you may want to consider easing up on strict, no-animal policies. According to a survey done by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 68% of US households include a pet—that’s about 85 million families! Clearly, there’s a lot of people out there who just don’t feel at home without an animal companion. So, if you do have a no pet policy in place, perhaps it’s time to reconsider.
If necessary, you can ask for a pet deposit, or allow long-term tenants the option first, and go from there. Use your best judgment but allowing more flexibility when it comes to pets could make a huge difference in your marketability, as well as your turnover.