Once you find some great tenants, you will want to keep them. One of the best qualities in an investment is predictability. Existing tenants who pay on time and with no trouble are a much better prospect than anyone else, even if that other person happens to look better on paper.
To keep your tenants happy and ensure that they will pay a healthy rent every month, follow these seven tips:
Keep your Property in Good Condition.
Tenants should not have to make maintenance repairs that were not the result of their own actions. Clear away any large tree branches, ensure proper site drainage and renew materials periodically. An example would be to refinish your hardwood floors every five years or so and to add weather stripping before the winter.
Give Advance Warnings for Any Lease Changes.
Minor changes can be mentioned a month or two in advance. However, major adjustments like rent changes or terms changes should be communicated at least six months in advance. Tenants need a chance to adjust.
Never Drop by Unannounced
Unless you have a good reason to believe your property or someone on it is in immediate danger, do not appear on the property without warning your tenants first. Even for important aspects like picking up a lawn mower you own for repairs, contact your tenants and leave them a message.
A good rule of thumb is to think as if you do not have the keys to the property. Your tenants will appreciate the privacy you give them.
Be Easy to Get in Touch With
Respond to any messages or attempts to contact you within 12 to 24 hours. Be quick with repairs, or at the very least let tenants know an accurate time frame. They will want to know you can address their concerns in an empathetic and timely manner.
Treat repairs that limit the usefulness of the house as an emergency — for example, if an oven or refrigerator you own goes out, have it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
Add Upgrades Periodically
Every eight to twelve months, add something new to the property. After all, if you were living in the home you were leasing, you would do the same.
You can make changes like upgrading the kitchen faucet or replacing old windows with insulated models. These upgrades add comfort for your tenants, but they also let them know where their money goes. Budget for these upgrades with slightly higher monthly rents.
One of the best ways to charge more is to include all services and utilities automatically. Pay for the water, electricity, gas, internet and lawn maintenance yourself and charge tenants to cover your overhead.
Ideally, the extra amount you charge will provide a bit of profit on top. Make sure to include a clause for overages in case your tenants rack up quite a power bill in a month.
Charge Extra Rent for Pets
Rather than charging a pet deposit, add a small fee onto monthly rent. These amounts add up to much more than a lump sum, and they give you the chance to perform regular maintenance to adjust for the pets.
For example, you can have the carpets steam cleaned yearly to keep them in good condition and to demonstrate to tenants that you invest in the property with their rent.
Behaviors like these, in addition to a generally professional attitude, will help you keep tenants that are reliable and willing to pay above-average rent prices.