Over time real estate investing has become widely popular among those looking for investment income. Once the property is obtained, the biggest challenge for landlords is acquiring qualified tenants for their property. When you are financing real estate every month of income counts. Investment properties become liabilities when they sit empty.
To Use Or Not Use An Agent
The task of seeking out and vetting applicants may seem so daunting you feel professional help is needed. Local real estate agents will often do the foot-work for you. However agents carry hefty fees, on average a full month of rent, that can be avoided by simply finding a tenant yourself.
In reality, with a little know-how, resources, and proper presentation you can rent your own property. The biggest benefit of doing so is that you will personally become acquainted with each potential renter, not just their stats. If you are ready to arm yourself with the tools to secure the best tenant possible you’ve come to the right place.
1. Quality Presentation Attracts Quality Tenants
It is easy to feel as if it is enough to simply list your property as plainly as possible. The downside to doing so is that your listing is the first contact and only representation a potential renter will have with your unit before showing.
The same care you would give to selling real estate should be given to leasing it. Generic listings are able to be done quickly, however, the time and cost associated with them will rarely generate the leads you need to have a good pool of applicants.
A proper listing will fully detail your property. It will paint a clear picture of what you are offering down to interesting details and amenities. Do not take for granted mentioning items you believe to be standard and expected. A Dishwasher, icemaker, washer and dryer, central air and heat, and other such options all matter to potential tenants.
Video tours are immensely useful and work to secure applicants interest far better than pictures alone. That said, do not neglect pictures. Nor should you assume seeing things like hallways and smaller rooms won’t impact response. Lack of response to your listing can indicate a need to revamp it, or that you are not competitively priced.
2. Lead Capturing
Retaining leads is essential to renting your home. You should clearly list phone numbers and emails addresses at the bottom of your listing. To prevent any missed leads, you may want to create a dedicated email just for your listings’ responses.
Creating a website for your property can add to lead generation with nominal cost and time. A website is a great way to address and feature:
- – Frequently asked questions
- – Video tours
- – Additional photos
- – Neighborhood information
- – School district stats
Also, a website allows for you to include an application early in the process to weed out unqualified applicants. The idea is to ensure much of the vetting has been done, and most of the questions have been answered before you ever speak to a potential tenant.
3) Comprehensive Initial Screenings
Screenings are not just about making first-contact with a potential renter. They also allow you to determine what listings are garnering the most leads. You then can hone in on what sites are most effective for lead generation. If you have an application available, you need to determine if the caller has completed it.
Generally, if a caller has not filled out your application, you will want to direct them to do so before moving forward. However occasionally be flexible, because if a tenant is viewing multiple properties they may be hesitant to pay multiple application fees site unseen. Also try to address as many questions, on both sides, as possible before you schedule a showing. Things to cover are:
- – Move in and out dates
- – Security deposits
- – Pet policies
- – Number of tenants and relation to the applicant
- – Employment
- – General tenant background
Remember, you do not have to show your property to every interested party. In fact, if you do, you may feel discouraged by multiple disinterested parties. A rule of thumb is to be timely, but do not rush the process. Stick to carefully pre-screened applicants.
4. Be Flexible With Showings
Showings can be somewhat tricky because there can be three or more persons’ schedules involved. It is best to try and give your current tenant several days notice so that the home can be in its best condition. It is not always possible for a perspective tenant to meet you at the times you may offer. Occasionally you will have to be willing to show your property on a weekend.
The ideal situation would be for a showing to simply be a formality before you close the deal, but more often than not that won’t be the case. A property may not always be at its peak condition for showing. When that happens you will want to be very clear what issues will be addressed prior to potential move in.
Attempt to have a dialogue regarding the applicant’s assessment and feelings about the property. Even if you do not rent to them, the feedback will be valuable when dealing with other prospective tenants. Be prepared to adjust move-in dates to accommodate the proper preparation of your unit. If all goes well you will be ready to sign a lease.
5. Seal The Deal
Once you and your prospective tenant have agreed to move forward be assertive about moving the process along. Quickly set a date to retain the security deposit and sign the lease. Delays can sometimes cause the occasional tenant to waiver. Emailing the lease in advance allows your applicant to look it over. Ensure you have received the totality of the security deposit before turning over the keys to your property. If money becomes an issue up front, it may be a warning sign.
If you are considering buying real estate for investment purposes, rest assured you can get qualified tenants into your property. All it takes it time and commitment. The payoff of your hard work is a return on your investment and the possibility of further growth.