Category Archives: New User Questions

Walk it Out – How to Successfully Conduct Your Walk-Through

We recently talked about the importance of providing a move out checklist for your tenant, and how much easier it’ll make the process for the both of you. Once your tenant is all moved out and the property is empty, the next step on your agenda is to conduct the walk-through.

The walk-through is a very important step in the process because it allows you to assess the condition that your property was left in and determine what your previous tenant is liable for. When conducting the walk-through, you should take a record of what damages and/or issues the tenant may have noticed when first moving in, a report of any maintenance problems they may have had while living there, and the move-out checklist that they completed for you. You may want to consider making a chart where you can document all of these things so as to avoid having to be going back and forth.

The first thing you should pay attention to when doing the walk-through is whether or not your previous tenant did everything that they were responsible for. Look at the checklist and make sure that everything on it is done, because are the things that your tenant was held fully liable for. If something hasn’t been done, make note of it so that you can see if it will need to come out of their security deposit or if you will need to charge them additional for it.

Once you’ve determined what the tenant is still responsible for, look at reports of existing issues, and maintenance problems that may have come up while your tenant was living there. This way, you’ll be able to see if any problems still exist and if repairs held up well. You can then determine was needs to be fixed or replaced before the next tenant moves in.

Moving Out

Moving out can be pretty hectic for both you and your tenants, but it can be made easier! Giving your tenant a checklist for them to follow makes the moving process way simpler. There won’t be any confusion on either end about how things need to be left or what steps the tenant needs to follow. This also helps if something isn’t left as it should be, because you can bring up the checklist to show them exactly what you had expected from them.

What kinds of things should you include on the checklist? The first step is telling them when they need to notify you of their official move-out date, so that you can schedule an inspection after that date. Beyond that, make it clear if they need to re-paint anything that they may have changed from it’s original color, maybe walls, or doors. The checklist should highlight that everything needs to clean, basically returned the way the home was first presented. It’s also very important to make sure that you make it clear on the checklist to have them remove all of their belongings and any trash that may be around the home. Your tenants need to ensure that everything is disposed of and that trash isn’t left around for days.

Your tenant will benefit from this too because they’ll be more likely to get most of their security deposit back once the entire process in completed. If they do everything on the list, you can return them their deposit and save yourself the time and money of doing everything that was needed to be done. If any additional repairs need to be done, use the money from the deposit, and if that doesn’t cover it, you will need to bill your tenant.

Use Tenant Incentives to Create a Win-Win Rental Situation

Happy Tenants

 

 

 

Besides covering the basic lease conditions and provisions, you can also turn your lease into a valuable marketing tool for your business while at the same time providing extra satisfaction for your tenants. By using tenant incentives, you can develop tenant loyalty that will result in longer relationships, on-time payments, better care for your property, assistance with marketing, and possibly an eventual sale to your tenant.

Award special benefits to your tenants the longer they stay.

At each tenant lease anniversary, provide a financial or other type of award, provided they are on time with all of their rent payments. This will encourage them to stay with you longer. For example, you can write into your lease that after the first year, upon renewal of the lease, they will receive a special gift, such as a free carpet cleaning or an interior paint job. While this enhances your property, it will improve tenant satisfaction as well. On the second year, you could offer to plant some new trees or to improve the landscaping in some way. You tenants will know that you care about the property, and this may encourage them to take better care of your property as well. Every year, reward your tenant with something new, and you will develop a long lasting good relationship with your renter.

Provide incentives for your tenants to recommend you to other prospective tenants.

Many landlords do not use the free marketing tools right at their disposal. If you have a satisfied tenant, that tenant can become a valuable asset for your marketing plans. Add a clause to your lease that provides a bonus to your tenant if he or she recommends someone that signs a lease on another rental property. The incentive could be in the form of an added appliance, Internet or networking upgrade, ceiling fan, interior painting, or whatever you feel is worth the savings in marketing costs. Be sure to talk to your renters each time they pay rent and find out what their needs are. By providing the right incentives, eventually you will have a team of renters helping you to rent your property.

Provide an incentive for your tenants to eventually own the house they currently rent, provided they remain in good standing as a tenant.

Provide a small ‘credit’ towards the home purchase each time rent is paid on time. This set amount will be logged into your Tenants’ account (on paper only) and will be used as a lump sum credit only if the Tenant buys the house later. You should write into the lease that the credit can only be used after a set number of years. This will help retain the Tenant, and also provide an incentive for the Tenants to use the accrued credit after the time period has been reached. You can also stipulate that if the rent is ever late, then the accrued ‘credit’ will revert to zero, and will begin to accumulate on the next on-time payment.

Encourage your tenants to make upgrades to your property if they have the skills.

Be sure to write in your lease that repair and improvement requests are in writing. At the time of the lease signing, ask if the tenant has any professional skills, such a painting, plumbing, landscaping. (You do want a use a professional to insure that the job is done properly and that the worked is insured). If that is the case, you can trade for repairs or improvements. Commonly, you will be able to reduce the rent for improvements or provide other incentives, such as mentioned above. Other jobs such as yard work, posting flyers, minor painting, or installing hanging plants can be done for home purchase credits (see above) or by you providing the materials for the job. Most tenants will be willing to do some work to improve the appearance of their rental if you will provide the raw materials.

By including these items in your lease agreement, the tenant will understand that you care about their rental property and these suggestions can provide opportunities for both you and your tenants to save money. Build these incentives into your residential lease agreement to set the tone for a long profitable relationship with your tenant.

Website Wonders

As a property manager, your website is important for all kinds of things. Not only can it showcase what your property has to offer for those looking for a new place, but it can also be a resource for your tenants to take care of their property needs.

Depending on how you set up your website, your tenants will probably be some of the main users. A lot of property managers use their websites as portals for residents to pay rent, check any balances they may have, and put in maintenance requests. Using your website for this purpose is great because it’s quick and easy for both you and your residents.

Your website is a great way to showcase what your property has to offer to those who are looking for a new rental. On your website, you can post pictures of what the property looks like, with floor plans and more pictures of how different units look. The internet is the first place people turn to when they’re looking for anything, so you want to make sure that your website makes a good first impression. Put as much information on your website as you can people can know about the property and not have to be reaching out to you over and over again with the same questions.

Community Amenities

So, a few days ago we talked about different amenities that you should be sure to have on your property for your tenants. Community wide amenities are always good to have because they give your residents a reason to come together while adding a whole other level of appeal to your property. What kind of community amenities should you consider adding to your property?

A community pool is a great idea and definitely a big selling point for people. Maintenance on the swimming isn’t going to be too costly, and your residents will want to stay at your property longer. This is also very appealing for people with children looking for  a new place to lease because kids looooove pools. A pool area is also the perfect place to have an outdoor bar or kitchen! This will totally fly in summer time, and gives you the opportunity to hold community barbecues for your residents.

playgroundIf your property is one where a lot of tenants have children, a playground is definitely something you should consider adding if you don’t already have one. This a community amenity that you won’t cost you a lot to put in place but will make your residents very happy because they’ll feel that your property is a place for the entire family.

If you want to add some recreational space for your adult residents, think about a basketball or tennis court, or even both. This is also a great fitness outlet if you can’t have an on-site gym. You can even hold games and tournaments to bring your residents together!

 

What kind of amenities should you offer?

From furniture to incentives, we’ve covered all kinds of things that can set your property apart from the rest. Aside from these, there are certain things that people tend to really look for in a property. Don’t fret, we’ve put together a list of the top 3 amenities that you should always try to incorporate into your property.

  1. Having a washer and dryer inside the unit is a huge deal breaker for most people. No one likes having to pack up all their dirty laundry and soap to have to go somewhere else to wash and dry it. If it’s not possible to have a washer and dryer in each individual unit, make it a point to at least have a few laundry machines somewhere on the property for tenants to use.
  2. For properties in warmer places, central air conditioning is a must. Though this may be costly, it will surely make your property stand out among the rest. Tenants aren’t going to want to install their own A/C or have fans all around, so they’ll be very happy to see that your property is well equipped.
  3. Parking spaces near the unit are also a really big deal breaker for people. You should try to provide each tenant with at least two spaces near their own unit, and provide adequate visitor parking around the property. No one wants to walk five minutes to get from their home to their car, so try to avoid offering resident parking far from each unit.

Incentives Matter!

As a property manager, there may be times when you encounter difficulties in finding tenants for your property. In a case like this, where there are lots of properties similar to yours available, what can you do to stand out? Give people an incentive!

One of the basic economic principles is that incentives matter, and it really is so true. If you provide people with an incentive, they’ll be more inclined to choose your property over others. Incentives are great because you can target them to your specific property or target market. For example, if your property is located on a golf course near a country club, you can team up with the club and offer those who rent with you a lower membership rate. This same kind of thing can also work with properties in college towns, too. Team up with the local cable and internet provider and offer a ‘student special’ with lower rates to those students who decide to rent with you.

Aside from market specific incentives, you can also offer general incentives too. You can offer a reduced application fee (or get rid of the fee all together) to those who sign before a certain date. You could even offer cash incentives, or gifts for tenants, too. The purpose of having an incentive is to make your property stand out when the competition is very similar, so it’s important to also factor your competitor’s incentives as well.

Tenant to Tenant Issues

When you have a lot of different people all living together in the same place, it’s hard to expect everyone to get along perfectly fine.

For the most part, all of your tenants have different lifestyles and routines, which could may end up causing between them. Consider two separate sets of tenants in different units; you may have a family with a newborn baby living next to someone who’s in a rock band and practices constantly. It’s easy to see how a problem may arise from a situation like this, and why your tenants may end up having some issues with each other. What can you do to fix problems between tenants?

If your tenants come to you with any complaints about other tenants, your first piece of advice to them should be to  talk to whoever they are having the issue with. If your tenants don’t tell one another that when they have a problem with something, there’s no way of knowing the problem even exists. If your tenants have already discussed the issue and it has continued, you may want to suggest that they try working with a mediator. The mediator can step in and help them resolve the problem in an organized and fair manner, and can help you avoid getting caught up in all of it. mediator