Today I had a tenant in tears – but not because she was sad. A couple with a young child has been renting from me for a year during a low-paid graduate internship for the wife. They will be moving back home at the end of July. This morning I had some appointments scheduled to see the house for renting at the beginning of August. I scheduled first another young couple, who were so interested in the house that they had asked me to send the application materials in advance and then sent them back to me yesterday.
As I was looking over things, it dawned on me that the couple moving out was going to have an expensive move back to their home state. I knew the house would “show” really well and they would leave it very clean, as they have done a great job with it. Why did I need to hang on to all of their security deposit until after they moved? I wrote out a check to them for the first half of it and gave it to them this morning before my first appointment.
The wife looked stunned and then had tears in her eyes. It was just what they needed for the deposit of the one of the two pods they were going to be using to pack their things in and have them moved. They had been trying to figure out how to get all the money together they needed for moving. She was so touched and grateful. Incidentally, they and the first appointment couple really hit it off.
I already had all of the application materials for the couple, and it seemed extremely likely I would be renting to them even before we met in person. They were as good as they had looked on paper. By the time I left, the two couples had exchanged phone numbers and were texting each other about how they could handle the transition if the new couple got the house, did they want to buy the bed in the guest room, etc.
I did a little more checking and accepted the new couple as the next tenants this afternoon. It was a good day in the life of a landlord. I need these from time to time.
Reach Out to Former Good Residents
With the ease of today’s technology, you as rental owners can easily be alerted/reminded (even done automatically) 10 to 11 months after any of your good residents move out. Send them a letter (email at a minimum) inviting/reselling them on the idea of coming back to one of your rentals. I have had MANY former residents come back and rent from me again. The thing is, for most landlords this happens by mere chance. The landlord does not do anything proactively to make this happen. I’m recommending to you today, that you systematically reach out, perhaps close to one year intervals, to former residents and make it part of your business model to invite GOOD former residents to come back to your rentals, especially since this can be done very easily and inexpensively.
If you have a current or upcoming vacancy, test out this suggested strategy. Go back to the applications of former good residents and identify email addresses or reference or emergency contact information and send out “Invite You Back” letters. And yes, I realize that some emails or addresses may no longer be valid, that’s why you try reaching out to ALL your former good residents (even GOOD applicants for that matter). With email, reaching out to one address can be just as easy as reaching out to dozens or even hundreds. Filling just one vacancy with a former good resident will prove how worth while this simple strategy can be to your cash flow!
How Landlords Can Have a Great Vacation
And Not Worry About their Rentals
Are you going on vacation this year? Do you wish you could, but afraid that your rental business will explode or fall apart while you’re gone?
Many landlords do not go on vacations (especially extended ones), because they don’t have any (or effective) systems in place that allow their rental business to run whether they are present or not. For example, at a minimum, landlords should have systems in place for:
- Who (other than you) handles regular maintenance requests or various types of emergency calls.
- How prospective residents can still see available rentals and apply without you being physically present.
And even with landlords who try and put “back-up” systems in place, the big problem is that these same landlords only utilize these systems when they try to go on vacation so they never really “test” the systems under real life conditions. So, when the systems are actually tested, sure enough, problems pop up that have not been fine-tuned. As a result, landlords are now even more unlikely to test the system again.
Here’s a great tip: I like how one landlord put it; “In order for landlord vacations to work well, I think you need to practice on a regular basis being on a ‘fake vacation’ so you can see how your backup systems will respond because if you only use your backup systems when you go on a real vacation, it is unlikely that things will go smoothly the first time or two, and then it’s too late.”
The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular www.MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at www.LandlordingAdvice.com where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.