You find yourself enjoying a peaceful moment when you realized you haven’t had any landlord challenges for some time. What a great place to be! Then you tell yourself, yeah right, how long is this going to last? First off, if you find yourself enjoying a peaceful moment … enjoy it, because landlord challenges come with the job. If you take the time to enjoy that moment, you’ll have the energy to deal with the challenges when they show up.
And then it’s here, you know the landlord challenge we were just talking about. Here’s how it went down for one of my students. When he got home from work and checked his email, he found a thirty-day notice to move from his tenant. The first thing that crossed his mind was, there goes that peaceful moment and here we go again in search of another tenant hoping this time they’ll stay longer. He tells himself, I’ll deal with this tomorrow, even though he knows every day he puts it off is a day with no rent. The next morning when he gets up, he starts his day completing the many tasks on his to-do list. He set aside the task of preparing for a new tenant because he does still have thirty days before the tenant moves out.
He put off the dread of making appointments to see prospective tenants, rental applications, advertising, complying with the laws, credit checks, and the list goes on. Then he thought about meeting the prospective tenants and being mindful of stereotyping, discrimination, concerns about if this person will take care of the property or create problems; all these things we need to consider — worry, worry, worry. But it’s not going away and before you know it, that thirty days is over and you still haven’t started the process of finding a new tenant.
Solution: Don’t Procrastinate!
The bottom line is if you plan ahead, you’ll save time and energy whenever you need to do the same task in the future. For example, having the forms you need in a designated place and a written process of what to do when it’s time to find that perfect tenant.
If you do your homework, finding that great long-term tenant increases and tenant turnover decreases. The steps below can help you find that perfect tenant and keep them because we know that turnover is expensive.
- Qualification Criteria- Creating a written qualification criteria list will reduce the number of calls and emails you receive. [AOA members may download a sample copy at www.aoausa.com under the forms section -form 100Q.]
- Advertise- The advertisement should be simple and to the point. Include the rent amount, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, parking space, laundry, amenities and any discounts. Keep out the fluff. Fluff can get you in trouble.
- Credit Check- Don’t skip out on this step because many mom & pop owners do. Viewing an applicant’s credit is one of the tools used to determine if they’re the perfect tenant. [Be sure to use AOA’s low-cost and thorough screening services.]
- Forms Required by Law- Learn what forms are required by law and use them.
- Current and Previous Landlords- Get information about the applicant from current and previous landlords. Be mindful that the current landlord may not give you accurate information because they may want or not want the tenant to move. What does this mean? If the tenant is not great, a current landlord may give you false, positive information because they want the tenant to move. On the other hand, the landlord may give you false, negative information about the tenant because they don’t want the tenant to move.
- Current and Prior Employment
Get information about the applicant from their current and prior employers. This is where you’ll find out how responsible the applicant is and if they’re earning the amount they stated on the rental application.
These are the steps to finding the perfect tenant. Use them and you’ll lower your chances of getting that tenant from hell, and most of all reduce your turnover rate. If you find the need for more direction, consider enrolling in my Find the Perfect Tenant class. You’ll learn more about the steps above in detail, how to do them, what forms to use, and how to fill them out. I’ll also share with you my business and landlord tips to support your journey to real estate riches.
Shiral Torres teaches rental property management classes at local colleges and through her business, Simply Shiral. She believes keeping life simple is the key to success. She and her husband own and manage multiple properties in California and throughout the country. The author of Rental Property Made Simple (available at amazon.com), Shiral is also a volunteer support group facilitator for National Alliance on Mental Illness, for Alzheimer’s Association, and a committee member for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit www.simplyshiral.com to view the simple and affordable classes she offers that can help you gain both confidence and profits.