Facebook Advertising – One Landlord’s Experience 

I believe Facebook marketing will be important consideration for future marketing/advertising if current trends continue. You can use Facebook marketing in multiple ways. Here is what I have done:

  • Create a page for your rentals. Have people “like” that page and not your personal page for obvious reasons. 
  • My local area has “garage sale” groups. Mine allows some advertising on it. I did this earlier this year, 17 applications in one day. Blew me away!
  • Make a post on your page. When you have hundreds following you, other people will get tagged on the post. They will see that you have an open unit and word spreads. 

Tenants Are Like a Valued Employee!

According to well-respected Landlording Trainer, Mike Butler, employees should be viewed as a great asset. Likewise, tenants in his opinion should be viewed in the same way as employees. Good employees and good tenants enable your business to be profitable and should make your life easier, not harder. Try this exercise. Read the following statements and see if you can substitute the word “tenant” for the word “employee”. 

  • You should have a good relationship with good employees.
  • Good employees are valuable.
  • Exceptional employees should be rewarded for outstanding performance.
  • Employees have responsibilities.
  • Employees are expected to perform satisfactorily or suffer the consequences for poor performance.
  • An employee, who is a bad apple, can ruin the good apples.
  • Allowing one employee to remain with poor performance can bring down performance and attitudes of good employees.
  • Not treating all employees the same is not fair.
  • Employee appreciation programs promote good performance, loyalty, productivity, and profit.
  • Employee’s length of service should be a guideline of additional benefits to employees promoting employee retention.
  • Outstanding or exceptional community service or personal achievements by employees or their immediate family members should be recognized.
  • Employees with poor performance should be dealt with in a fair, consistent manner, including termination. 

Lead Paint Disclosures Should Not Be Taken Lightly

Failure to comply with lead disclosure requirements is a serious matter and can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. New England is one area of the country which pursues strict enforcement. According to a recent news report, a landlord and his management company will have to pay a $55,000 penalty and remove windows from a building that contain lead, under a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA stated that the landlord failed to comply with lead disclosure requirements when it leased 18 residential units between 2010 and 2012. Note: Free Lead Paint Pamphlets and disclosures can be printed directly from the “Freebies” section of the www.MrLandlord.com website.  

The #1 Reason Tenants Do Not Renew Their Lease

Business check-up question for the day? Do you have an “effective” maintenance response system in place? The number one reason that tenants do not renew their leases is poor response and execution for service requests from the landlord. 

Today’s tenants expect a constant inspection, repair, and preservation of the general conditions of their rental home. This also includes a timely repair or replacement of parts for appliances. Everything has to be in working order and problems must be addressed quickly and courteously. To facilitate an efficient delivery of maintenance requests, the landlord or manager’s best method of receiving these requests is having someone actually answering the telephone or monitor email notifications. When you are too busy to actually answer the phone or respond promptly to email or text messages even if the request comes at an odd hour, many landlords and managers utilize apartment call centers or virtual property assistants. These types of resources allow properties to always have a human responding to the needs of their tenants. If so, it’s good to use an industry specific call center or virtual assistant and for you or them to have a direct, open communication with key maintenance individuals that you have already lined up in advance to handle almost any maintenance issue that could arise. 

Additionally, maintenance requests should be supported by a shared calendar or software program that documents the request cycle: creation, delivery, execution, completion and follow-up. Response to maintenance requests, if implemented properly, can make a BIG difference in your resident retention, property upkeep, reduce liability risks and greatly increase your overall cash flow! On the other hand, a poor maintenance response system can create severe problems that can quickly force you out of the rental property business far short of your financial dreams. Take a critical look this week at the maintenance response system you have in place and fine-tune it where necessary.  

All Rental History is Not Created Equal

Someone asked this past weekend on the www.MrLandlord.com Q&A forum; “Isn’t there a difference between an applicant who has been living with their brother for the last two and a half years and an applicant who has been paying rent to someone for the last three years?”

My response:  I hear you. On my applicant scoring system, an applicant receives or earns one point if they have been “paying” someone rent at the same location for the last one year. Two points for the most recent two years. Three points for the most recent three years or more.

So in the scenario you describe, the applicant would not earn any points on my scoring system under the rental history category. And yes, that would be different than an applicant who has been paying someone for the last three years. The applicant who has actually been paying someone at the same location for the last three years would earn three points under my scoring system.

By the way, your question on the application does not need to change. You simply ask all applicants for their last three known addresses, how much was the rent amount and the time period they lived there. How you “score” them is what creates the difference between applicants. 

17 Pre-Qualification Questions

A couple of landlords offered their suggestions on what to ask as pre-qualifying questions to rental applicants (prior to meeting them in person). Here was their input: 

  1. Name (first MIDDLE and last so I can Google them)
  2. Email
  3. Phone
  4. Why are you moving?
  5. Who is this rental for? (many applicants have someone else call for them)
  6. Who else will be living in the unit?
  7. Have you given notice to your landlord?
  8. Where are you living now and for how long?
  9. Have you ever filed bankruptcy?
  10. Have you ever received an eviction notice? (I do not ask if they were actually evicted, just if they’ve ever gotten a notice)
  11. Does anyone who will be living in the unit smoke?
  12. Describe your current landlord?
  13. Describe your credit history. What does your credit report say about you?
  14. What is the total gross monthly salary for all adult applicants, individually and combined?
  15. What kind of pets do you have?
  16. What features or criteria are important to you when looking for a place to rent?
  17. What else should we know about you before renting? 

6 KEYS FOR 100% OCCUPANCY

When you have many rentals, the good news is that 100% occupancy does not mean you never have vacancies. For me 100% occupancy means I’m receiving 100% of expected income. In fact, in many cases, a vacancy actually helps me INCREASE my income (but that is for another article).

Some of the main keys for me to achieving 100% occupancy are as follows: 

  • Resident Selection – Choose people who have a much higher probability of living in your place longer and are cooperative. 
  • Resident Retention – Create a mindset and customer loyalty program that encourages residents to stay far longer than average so that you have less vacancies. 
  • Systematic On-going Communication with Residents – So that you have far less “unexpected” vacancies or disappearances. 
  • Systematic Maintenance Throughout Rental Term – So you are repairing and improving the property while the resident is still paying for rent (and the repairs), therefore, repairs and improvements at the time of actual turnover is a bare minimum. At the time the resident moves out, any final prep can be quickly handled by a specific contractor – be ready with a 24 hour turn plan/checklist that he follows to make sure the place is move-in ready for the next resident) 
  • Targeted, Multiple Marketing Methods and Continual Marketing – Throughout the year – not just when I think I will be having an upcoming vacancy, therefore I constantly have inquiries (and a short waiting list) even when one of those “short-notice” vacancies occurs. 
  • Total Cooperation from Vacating Resident – Offer small, win-win incentives which greatly facilitate a faster turnaround.

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.