The following are one dozen small and inexpensive extra things that landlords can add to properties which can make their properties more enticing to prospective residents. These suggestions were made by several different landlords nationwide. 

12 Cheap and Easy Bling Improvements

1.            Waterfall shower heads: These are in almost every nice hotel I stay in and when I got one at home, I fell in love. They’re cheap and take about five minutes to install.

2.            Offer to paint an accent wall the color of the residents’ choice for $125.

3.            New or painted hinges on all cabinets.

4.            Install a digital thermostat.

5.            Install an outlet on the counter that has one outlet and two USB ports for charging phones.

6.            Change all door knobs to brushed silver. These are about $7 each and you can add brushed silver lights.  Remove ALL the brass. The various metallic spray paints work miracles on all metals. If you can’t afford to replace everything that has a brass finish, at least paint it!

7.            Run a single row of classy tiles across the kitchen and bathroom sink back-splash. This hides the old caulk and adds STYLE to the rental property.

8.            Install a new mailbox and numbers.

9.            Add a kick plate on the front door.

10.          Install ceiling fans whenever possible.

11.          Remove the giant bathroom mirrors from the 80’s and install a classy framed mirror. (These can be screwed to the wall!)

12.          We just picked up a set of six LED puck lights that work with a remote control from Costco for $20. They go up with an adhesive backing and when mounted under cabinets, they give off a ton of light and really make a dark kitchen look bright!  

Pre-Check Before Showing the Property 

Save yourself a lot of time by actually doing a couple of pre-checks on applicants before scheduling to show your rental. Some landlords request that prospective residents fill out an application before showing. Others ask a few screening questions over the phone and even do the pre-check while the person is still on the phone. For example, here are three quick pre-checks that can be done:

1) In many states court records are free and online, so that can be done.

2) A Facebook search of the phone number is something else that can be done.

3) Or even simply a Google search of the applicant’s name may bring up something.

Let Someone Else Rewrite Your Rental Ad!

After going two months with the same two vacancies, one rental owner took the advice of getting someone else to write his rental ad. Here’s what he did in his own words:

“I deleted the ads, and had my wife take brand new photos and rewrite the description in her words for both places. I kid you not, from ZERO calls, to the phone ringing off the hook. How strange?

I didn’t change the price or anything, but I got one rented. Of course, on the other hand, I just had another one come vacant and I am still at two empty, but oh well.”

Boost Your Rental Income With a Facebook Advertising Tip!

The best bang for your advertising buck is to make a post on Facebook about your property available and then BOOST your Facebook post. If people see an ad on the right side of their Facebook page, they know it’s an ad and they will ignore it. Facebook is pretty sly about putting a post in the news feed that are actually paid ads, which is what I am referring to with this tip. These are regular looking posts or ads showing up right in the middle of a reader’s Facebook news feed that have been “boosted”. In addition, when you boost your post, you can target the city and demographic audience that you want to target. Just make sure you have a “business” Facebook page that you are using and a website for the rental properties to direct individuals to who click on your post/ad.

Fill Vacancies Fast Even When Nothing Else is Working

I encourage rental owners to “think” about how you can create more of a win-win outcome for both you and your residents. Too often landlords only think of how things can work out well for themselves.  We don’t stop to realize that if we GIVE a little we can potentially come out so far ahead in the long run. Recently, a landlording couple (who often come to our landlord conferences) shared their success in quickly filling TWO vacancies during the holidays which is difficult to do.

The couple had two townhouses – both higher rent, nice places. They decided to get them rented as quickly as possible so they offered incentives to any new applicants who qualified and signed the lease starting by a certain date. They offered a $300 VISA gift card!

The result: BOTH places are now rented and neither current resident has actually moved yet!

“Yes! This is how Jeffrey said it’s supposed to work! The reason we decided on $300 cards was because the rent is $1,275/month. No one paying that kind of rent or looking for that kind of townhouse is going to move early for $100 (at least, in my opinion).

Many times, we struggled to rent over wintertime or the holidays and would lose rent of up to 1-2 months!

By offering this incentive package, we lost $300; but we still made $900 in rent for that month! That’s a great deal.  What did these new residents use the $300 for? To pay a little extra at their previous place to give themselves more time to move over!

It’s a Win-Win for all! We are learning to ‘think’ and evaluate the why’s of our methods versus ‘being right’ all the time; this is just one thing we’ve learned with Jeffrey and Dot at these conferences.”

One Landlord’s Rent-Raising Strategy!

A landlord asked on our Q&A Forum for feedback on strategies other landlords used when it comes to raising rent. One of the strategies suggested starts with the lease stating that there is an annual minimal raise that will be 2.9%, and that is based on real inflation numbers which the landlord shares with the residents.

At the time of implementing the increase however, the same landlord says that he can always write to renters with, “Even though inflation was X percent, we are lowering your increase due to your record of timely payments”. That’s if they pay in a timely manner.

Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later … But You Will Pay!

Many landlords have had the frustration of not getting paid rent because the resident spent the rent money on “whatever”. One landlord recently shared how he has greatly reduced his stress and frustration once he started taking the following position and understanding. That is, that his residents will pay him now or pay him MORE later … but they will eventually pay. Here is his advice to other landlords: Start with the premise that you are only selecting residents who have halfway decent jobs — and that they are COLLECTABLE JOBS. Right? So no worry.

My stress level has diminished significantly since we started pursuing the deadbeats. Most (if not all) employees hate it when the Sheriff shows up at their job to serve the garnishment notice. Employers hate it even more. As a landlord, you don’t know the feeling (unless you’ve experienced it) of the employer – the one who ignored all those notices you sent to garnish the wages of your past resident. The one who now owes the debt since the resident no longer works for them. When you notify every bank in town to shut down the business account of said employers until the landlord is paid – it’s amazing! The phone rings off the hook with, “We want to pay, we want to pay – please let us pay!” For me that means paying the Debt + 15% interest + 25% of debt for collection + court costs! Rental debts on skip-outs are often massive – do the math!

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, Founder@Mrlandlord.com. 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.