It’s tough finding good tenants. A 2017 survey by SmartMove showed that 69% of landlords listed troublesome tenants, lost income, evictions or tenant turnover as their biggest headaches.
It stands to reason that two-thirds of your biggest problems can be solved just by attracting higher quality tenants. If you’re looking for better tenants to fill your vacancy, here’s where to start.
1. What makes the ideal tenant?
The ideal tenant is someone who will pay the rent on time each month, stay well beyond the term of the initial lease, take good care of the home, and be a good neighbor.
For all of these things to happen, the property has to be well matched to the tenant’s needs. A family of four will probably stay longer in a 3-bedroom home close to a good school than in a 2-bedroom condo. An older couple may find it easier to maintain an apartment than a townhouse. And a group of students is more likely to get along with the neighbors in an area made up of student housing than they are in a family-oriented neighborhood.
To gain a clear picture of the ideal tenant for your rental property, think about who would most appreciate the location and type of home.
2. What can a landlord do to attract the ideal tenant?
Showing your rental unit to prospective tenants is kind of like dating. To find ‘the one’, you need to get your profile right, go on lots of first dates, and stay true to yourself without sacrificing on what you want.
Get them to swipe right – show them why your rental is worth a closer look
On the dating app Tinder, swiping right is the first step toward matching with someone. If you want right-swipes, you need a profile that shows that you’re attractive, interesting, and worth shaving for.
On rental listing websites, your profile needs to do the same thing. Except instead of appealing to attractive singles in your area, you need to appeal to your ideal tenant.
If your ideal tenant is a young family, for example, your advertisements should appeal to the children’s needs. Showcase the big backyard, the good-sized bedrooms, lots of storage space, and the school within walking distance. If your ideal tenant is a retired couple, show off the amenities they care about. Show how the second bedroom could be used as a sewing room, make it clear there are no stairs, and highlight nearby shops and restaurants. You can find some great information in our article, 5 Features to Highlight on Your Rental Property Advertisement.
Make sure to advertise in places your ideal tenant will be looking. You can find some great ideas in our article, 5 Best Websites to Advertise Your Rental Property for Free.
Don’t talk about yourself the whole time – be friendly and professional
While exclusivity is the eventual goal, it’s safe to assume you’re not the only landlord your prospective renters are talking to. Become their landlord of choice by being both friendly and professional. Professionalism means communicating clearly and promptly, dressing appropriately for in-person meetings, being on time, and taking the time to answer their questions. Friendliness means asking them about themselves and taking the time to build a rapport that goes deeper than the nuts and bolts of the lease.
Go easy on the filters – be upfront and honest
Most tenants are willing to accept that not everything in a rental unit will be exactly what they want. But they’ll be much less upset about those drawbacks if they find out about them the easy way.
Call their attention to the dings and scratches. Tell them the raccoons knock over the garbage bins from time to time. Explain that you have no intention of replacing the dated kitchen appliances. If anything, your prospective tenants may appreciate your honesty.
The same goes for expectations. If there are specific rules you’d like your tenants to follow, get them out in the open. If you want to perform a monthly inspection, make sure they know that. The best time to get all expectations out on the table is before you accept their proposal application – this will ensure your relationship with your renter starts off on the right foot and will minimize any issues collecting rent.
Take care of yourself – and your property
Just like you’ll get more second dates if you keep yourself clean and well-maintained, you’ll get more serious interest in your rental property if you do the same for it.
People need to be able to imagine themselves living in your rental unit before they’ll be willing to apply. Unfortunately, most people’s imaginations are tuned to accentuate the bad rather than to see potential. Even something as simple as a smelly garbage can in the kitchen can be enough to sour a would-be renter. Make sure the unit is clean and all maintenance is up-to-date before showings so that people can see the unit in its best light.
Fools rush in – don’t make a commitment unless you’re sure
As they say, “if something’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
Just as you’re in competition against other landlords, renters know they’re in competition against other applicants. While the vast majority are honest, some people might be tempted to fudge their income to gain an advantage. Others might even flat out lie about their finances to get a home.
As with marriage, a lease is far easier to get into than get out of. That’s why it’s crucially important to do a thorough background check. Take the time to call references, verify their income and check their credit report to make sure your prospective tenant is really as ideal as you think they are.
Final thoughts: how to attract more quality tenants
If you’re on the lookout for higher quality tenants, show them that your property (and you) are the right fit for them. Consider who your ideal tenant is and tailor your ads to meet their needs. Build a rapport while conducting yourself professionally and honestly. Keep your property clean and well-maintained. And carefully screen prospective tenants before offering a lease.
- Who doesn’t want to make more money from their rental property? Get tips and tricks for getting the most out of your investment in our exclusive guide on the subject.
- Want to learn more about crafting the perfect ad? Check out our article on 5 Ways to Differentiate Your Rental Property Advertisement Apart from the Competition.
The best tenant for your rental property is the one for whom it’s the best fit. Consider what kind of person would get the most out of the home and tailor your advertisements to their needs. Be friendly, professional and honest, and keep the property clean and in good shape to attract most applications possible. And carefully screen prospective tenants to ensure they’re actually the right fit.
A good tenant is one who pays the rent on time, keeps your rental property clean and tidy, gets along with the neighbors, and stays for a long time. Someone is most likely to be a good tenant when the property is a good match for their needs.
To generate more interest in your rental property, target the content of your advertisements to your ideal tenant and place ads where they’re most likely to see them. If you’ve done that and are still having difficulty attracting interest (and the property doesn’t have any major defects), try advertising at a lower price to see if it makes a difference.