A landlord’s primary responsibility is to his or her tenants—it is the most difficult and rewarding responsibility as well. Given the amount of relationship-building that goes into the landlord/tenant relationship, it is important that it is a good fit. As a landlord, you can ensure this happens early on.
Begin by identifying the type of people you would like to stay in your income property. Think of a way to phrase your advertisement so that it appeals to this type of people and not at all to those you don’t wish to target. You may wish to target people without pets, non-smokers, and families. You would then word your ad to draw attention to certain features that would attract these types of tenants—tenant supplied landscape maintenance, neighborhood association membership, etc.
Next, decide where you advertisement would be best placed. If you want students, post in student newspapers, message boards, and around campuses. For an older crowd, consider the classified section of the newspaper. If you have friends who work in a certain industry and are willing to help (like Jason Hartman) inquire about mail distribution lists, etc.
Then, ask that interested parties fill out an application and go through a short phone interview prior to viewing the inside of the property. This ensures that all applicants are serious about renting, and gives you the chance to weed out people you suspect will not be a good fit.
The Walk Through
When you’ve selected a few tenants you think could be good possibilities, invite them to view the interior of the property. Here, you can ask more questions meant to evaluate the tenant. These will vary based on your needs. You may also learn things about a possible tenant by allowing them to ask you questions. If they only ask questions related to cost, they may be concerned about finances. If they’re asking about schools, they’re after a quality neighborhood.
If the interview and walk-through go well, invite the tenant to officially apply. You may choose to charge for this, but it is up to you. Once you have the application, drive by their current home to make sure here are no obvious problems. Conduct some sort of background check. Call their current landlord and supervisor to confirm a source of income.
Remember that they’re able to back out at any point before the lease is signed—but so are you. If a tenant is late or careless with paperwork and this is important to you, it may not be a great fit. At this point, they’re likely behaving their best to secure a lease. It is possible that things will get worse.
When you feel confident that you’ve selected the right tenant, sign and walk through a lease. Collect the security deposit and first month’s rent and establish the easiest way for future communications. Many landlords prefer email or text and operate during business hours (or only after).
If you are thorough in your selection, you lay the groundwork for a great landlord-tenant relationship that is built on mutual respect. Get out there and get renting! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jorgeq82/5412173168/)
The Young Wealth Team