Note to readers: The below tips are shared by landlords nationwide –please be sure to check the rental laws in your jurisdiction as they may differ from suggestions in this article.
Ten Property Updates for Your Rentals
One landlord recently asked her colleagues, “What do you include regarding your updates in your rentals, besides paint?” Here are 10 of the suggested property updates (in no specific order):
- Upgrade the lighting to LED fixtures
- New smoke alarms with the built-in 10 year batteries
- New door knobs and kitchen cabinet hardware
- Electrical outlet plugs on every wall – sometimes more
- Replace carpet with vinyl planks
- Modern ceiling fans in all bedrooms
- Two inch wood blinds in upper rentals are a hit
- New caulk is very refreshing and a straight line is divine to the eye!
- Universal light dimmers that work with all types of light bulbs
- Installing SMART stuff like Nest thermostat, Ring Doorbell
Next Level Service
Property updates are definitely something all rental owners should consider. In addition, taking the SERVICE provided to your residents to the next level is something landlords often overlook, but should also consider. Doing so can not only be a win-win for your residents but it can also increase your net income. Next Level Service was the theme of our most recent LandlordRetreat.com Conference in Jamaica. In addition to powerful concepts shared by the instructors, participating landlords shared over 100 ideas on Next Level Service.
Here were just a few of the ideas shared by successful landlords;
● When new residents move in, I offer to help them install curtain rods and let them know I can wall mount their TV. I charge residents $50.00 to install and remove the TV wall mount bracket. Doing this minimizes damage and wall repair. I also tell the resident by having me do the wall mount, they won’t be charged for any damage. I tell the residents that I’m doing this to maximize the security deposit I am able to return to them. Dan, IL Landlord
● In some parts of the country, utility companies require that brand new residents pay a large deposit before a utility can be turned on. That amount added to first month’s rent and required security deposit by the landlord can make the total move-in costs very high. So what one landlording couple does for new residents is they offer to keep the utility in their company’s name so that the resident does not have to come up with a large utility deposit. As part of this arrangement the landlord charges a one-time utility admin fee of $150 and a $9.95 monthly admin fee to send out invoices and charge the resident for the monthly utility consumption. Jim and Mary, TN Landlords
● I offer residents the opportunity to rebuild their credit by having their on-time payments reported to the credit bureaus that will hopefully improve their credit.
Jillian, MI Landlord
● One of the things that we do for our tenants is we provide and send them short helpful videos on how to be proactive with the care and upkeep of their property. The videos also help when a service request comes in from a tenant and we send the applicable video at that time and ask if they have tried these suggestions first before we come out.
● We have 12 different videos, we send out one a month. This would include for example:
● What not to flush down the toilet
● How to unclog a toilet.
● Changing a filter for the furnace.
● Changing batteries for the thermostat.
We are working on our next set of 12 videos. Cheryl, Operations Manager, IN.
Screening Criteria for “Not the Best” Neighborhoods
The following tip is shared by a landlord who has some rental properties in what some would consider not the best neighborhoods. When you have a property in a challenging or a marginal area, you sometimes have to be careful of the screening criteria you choose to use. If your criteria is too strict, the only ones who may qualify are applicants who would not want to rent in your rental area or if they did, would not end up staying long before seeking a different area.
With that in mind, the landlord shared how one of her screening criteria has changed over time. Here’s her thoughts.
“When I first started, one of my criteria was NO evictions, ever. I soon realized those ‘best’ tenants might not want to stay long in my ‘not best’ neighborhoods. I switched (my criteria) to ‘no more than ONE eviction’ and I find good tenants who stay longer. For one thing, and this is a big one to consider, these “one eviction” tenants cannot just quickly find another place.
The tips in this column are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of the Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek advice of other landlords 24 hours a day.