Caring For Tenants
Being a “Buy and Hold investor” is different from house flipping in one crucial way…the holding part. Initial success with holding property, i.e. renting it out, is dependent on your ability to create a product people want to live in. Your continued success as a property owner relies on your ability to create an experience tenants don’t want to leave. It is important that you keep future tenants in mind throughout the journey.
Let’s review 4 areas where you can put yourself in the shoes of future tenants. You may be surprised by the results.
Area #1: Property Search
Knowing the type of tenant you want to attract will help you define the property characteristics to look for and the neighborhoods you should target. Product development focuses on customer needs and market placement; rental properties are no different. Think about what it would be like if you lived in the house and neighborhood. Are the bedrooms big enough? Do the rooms have enough windows for natural light? Will they have space to store their belongings? Is there a grocery store nearby or easy access to transportation?
Area #2: Moving Day & Settling In
Moving day is very stressful. One of my favorite things to do for new tenants is to leave goodies in the kitchen to make their moving day memorable. Some beer, a bottle of wine, chips and salsa, and other yummy goodies are sure to brighten anyone’s day while they settle into the new place. Also consider scheduling their first cleaning service for a week or two after move-in day. After all the moving boxes are emptied and the items are put away, it’s nice for tenants to have someone clean their new place. I can’t think of a better way to welcome someone into their new space.
Area #3: The Day to Day
While the tenant is living in your unit be careful not to get too frugal with the repairs and requests. Approve small repairs quickly through your property manager and make sure tenant requests are tended to in a timely manner. When the tenant complains of ants, order pest control. When the garbage disposal backs up, send in the plumber. When they need assistance changing a light bulb that is higher than they can reach, have your handyman address the issue. Tending to these issues timely is super important. You want your tenants to report these kinds of items so small problems don’t become big issues. Plus, it just makes it a better space to live in.
Area #4: Lease Renewal
One of the most satisfying times for a property owner is when a tenant renews their lease! This keeps your vacancy rate down, the cash flowing, and your advertising and turn over fees to a minimum. I like to recognize tenant renewals by simply sending them a note to recognize their anniversary in the house. You can add to this note, and to their experience, by adding a gift card to a local restaurant or giving them another cleaning service. Doing these small gestures will have a large impact on tenants. They will feel appreciated and cared for.