By Andrew Trim
Author of Real Estate Dangers
A good tenant makes property investment a less stressful experience – they lead to reliable cash flow, a reduction in turnover rates, less wear and tear on the property and generally less work overall. But how do you find the perfect tenant? Once you find them, how do you keep them? While there may be no magical formula, the following tips can help maximise your chances:
Keep it clean and well-maintained
To find quality tenants, you need a quality property. This doesn’t necessarily mean the home has to resemble a display home, however you want to have a property that appeals to others. No-one wants to live in a dirty home that is falling apart – particularly good tenants. The interior should be tidy and functional. If the walls look shabby, give them a fresh coat of paint. If rooms look dark, install new lighting fixtures. The kitchen cupboards and drawers should be easy to open yet secure. While these suggestions may not be major improvements, it can assist with making your property appear well cared for.
Set the asking rent at market value
It can be tempting to advertise a higher rent in order to attract a higher return, however this can often be counter-productive. Not only do you run the risk of leaving your property vacant for a prolonged period of time, you will also attract tenants unwanted by others. Pricing your investment property competitively will allow you to attract a wide range of candidates, essentially giving you the pick of the bunch. Pricing your property above market value will either attract no interest or interest from tenants who have been rejected by everyone else.
Go easy on the rent increases
A good tenant is worth their weight in gold – they take good care of your investment property and rent is always on time. If you keep increasing the rent every time the lease is renewed you may soon find yourself losing your quality tenant. Rent increases should only be done when the market justifies it. If that’s the case, make sure the rent increase is fair and you give plenty of notice.
Keep up with repairs and maintenance
The hot-water system is malfunctioning, there is a cockroach infestation and water keeps dripping from the kitchen sink – would you want to live in this property? The answer is no and a good tenant doesn’t want to either. Be timely and considerate with repair and maintenance requests. If you drag your feet your tenant may become frustrated and move theirs out the door! If you find yourself running a busy schedule, you can elect to allow your property management team to address requests without your approval up to a predetermined value.
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