Is one tenant as good as another? Anyone with experience in West Haven Property Management can tell you the answer is no. Placing the wrong tenant can impact your income if they don’t pay rent. It can impact your peace of mind even if they just don’t pay on time and you have to deal with collections. It’s worse still if you are compelled to begin eviction proceedings. And this doesn’t even touch of what can happen if they fail to take care of the property or report maintenance needs. Fortunately, there are simple, well-established steps you can take to avoid the common mistakes of rental owners, to protect yourself, your property, and your investment. Read these tips for placing better tenants from Real Property Management Southern Connecticut.
The Ten MUST DOs In West Haven Property Management Before You Place a Tenant
- Set the Right Rental Rate. First, you have to find that point where you can rent quickly (not too high) while getting the most out of your property (not too low). This is key because the well-qualified tenant with great references, good credit, and a steady income will be looking at several properties. If yours is priced too high, they’ll simply pick another. If the price is right, you’ll earn more long term because the tenant will stay longer, avoiding a vacancy (which always cost money).
- Get the Property “Rent-Ready.” You only get to make one first impression. This is true in property management. Your property must be ready to rent before you show it to any prospective tenant. If the prior tenants are still living there, or there are clear maintenance issues to be completed, or it’s not been professional cleaned, or the landscaping is not done, prospective tenants will remember what they saw (or smelled). Your property will compare less favorably to others. Remember, you are competing for those well-qualified tenants.
- Market the Property Widely and Aggressively. Gone are the days of sticking a “For Rent” sign on the lawn and waiting for calls. While you definitely still want the sign, tenants are searching for homes online first, so you have to make sure you are listed on all major rental listing sites like Zillow, Rent.com, Rentals.com, Trulia, and HotPads. And don’t skimp on the details; highlight your properties best features such as updated appliances, good school district, whether there is shopping or transit nearby, off street parking.
- Make Your Selection Criteria Clear. You don’t want to spend a lot of time showing the property and dealing with unqualified applicants. It wastes their time and yours. If you have minimum requirements for income and credit scores, state them in your add and you will save everyone a lot of hassle. Also, it can protect you in case a fair housing issue arises.
- Quickly Respond to Requests for Showings. Successful property managers in West Haven, CT, know that time is of the essence in renting a house. If you don’t respond immediately to calls or texts and promptly schedule showings, another property manager will, and they’ll get the leasing. This can be time consuming and hectic, but its critical to leasing your property quickly and avoiding expensive vacancy days. The good news are there are tools you can use to help. Pre-screening, websites or apps that allow virtual showings, or other methods that allow a tenant to view the property securely on their own can make the process more efficient. You may also consider a leasing agent to manage it for you.
- Require a Written Application with Supporting Documents. For every potential tenant that is 18 or over, you must have all pertinent information and signed releases for the requisite credit and background checks. A written application doesn’t have to mean a paper application. More tenant’s today prefer an online application process. Online applications include the ability to upload the supporting documents such as photo IDs, pay stubs, tax returns, etc. You might not have this kind of website, but any good West Haven Property Management company will.
- Check Every Applicant’s Rental History. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. While it’s impossible to predict the future, tenants who’ve consistently paid rent in full and on time will more likely do so than those who haven’t. But it’s not just rent you need to worry about. Wherever possible, talk to their former landlords about how they cared for and maintained the property. Find out what state they left it in. Did they comply with the lease terms? Did they give timely notice before vacating? Most importantly, would they rent to this tenant again?
- Check Every Applicant’s Financial History. Financial history means employment history, along with income verification, and a credit check. You want to verify that they have a stable employment record and sufficient income to cover the rent–the typical rule of thumb is at least three times the rent. While tenants may not have a perfect credit history, there are certain red flags to be aware of, such as an eviction, unpaid rent, past due utility bills, or anyone currently in bankruptcy proceedings (or that appear they might be close to bankruptcy). It’s not just whether they make enough to cover rent, but can they cover rent and their other obligations.
- Check Every Applicant’s Criminal History. Your concern of course is not traffic violations or minor infractions that are decades old. Rather, you want to avoid a tenant with a history of violence, drug offense, or other predatory behaviors. This step requires some care as it can create a fair housing problem. With that in mind . . .
- Stay Up to Date and In Compliance With all Applicable Housing Laws and Regulations. This one is tricky because all of the rules that apply may not be obvious. It requires research to determine what applies. And it requires diligence to stay up to date and federal, state, and local laws and regulations can (and do) change. Because of the complex nature of legal compliance, its best to have a professional who can at least advise, if not handle this aspect for you. Violations can result in financial penalties and expensive legal proceedings. This is an area where having professional property managers in West Haven, CT, can make a big difference.
While a good tenant is easy to describe, they are much harder to find. If you want to lease your property as quickly as you can to the most qualified tenants, you should find out why so many property owners trust their rental homes to the West Haven property management experts at RPM Southern Connecticut. Call us today for a no-obligation discussion and find out how we can rent your property to better tenants, faster.