Below are some tips for rental property owners to consider, a lot of them are pretty straight forward and just common sense, but if you want to have long term tenants then these are the tips to follow.
As a property owner with a tenant you are now a landlord, who needs to maintain and care for the property but also ensure that the tenant's needs are met, too.
If you're not managing the property, then these are some things to consider before hiring someone to manage the property for you.
When managing a property, you want to keep the tenants happy yet at the same time stay happy yourself. After all, you have to remain in business, and so many people rely on you for a stable and safe environment.
Probably the best way to keep everyone happy is by monitoring your investment property. Walk around and scope out the area just as you would for due diligence purposes if you were renting. If you're the property owner and manager, then it's good to be scene around the building or property.
While doing so, you should keep your eyes and ears open, paying attention to every little nuance that could help you and your tenants in any way possible. You should do this regularly, perhaps once every six months or even more frequently if you are able. This way you can check up on the tenants and also see how appliances are operating and how the place looks in general. What's going on in the neighborhood and the community. You don't want surprises, so it’s best to prevent them altogether.
HEADS UP: If you hired a property management company (see Managing Property), then make sure the firm is trustworthy and dependable.
During inspections, you’ll probably notice areas that are not necessarily problematic but might need a little repair, or could use some fixing up just to make the property look nicer. Although these “details” might seem miniscule by themselves, collectively they can make a property look uninviting or just plain ugly. This means you should feel free to do simple improvements that spruce up the place and keep tenants happy, perhaps a paint job or new blinds for all units. Or maybe there are pot holes in the parking lots. These little things go a long way and will keep tenants in your property for a long time.
Whether or not you hire a maintenance crew to clean in and around the property, it’s a good idea to do a few things, especially if you wish to increase the intensity and frequency of your inspections:
- Vacuum and clean carpet in the common areas on regularl basis
- Sweep and clean the hallways
- Replace light bulbs
- Pick up trash in the common areas and/or the parking lot
- Other maintenance tasks, such as the laundry room, a good washer and dryer go a long way to keeping tenants happy
- Paint the walls
- Replace carpet when needed
It also helps if you’re a Mr. Fix-It, or a jack of all trades. Not only will you seem more competent and caring towards your tenants, but you’ll also build relationships with them and increase the efficiency of your inspections. Try to keep your areas of expertise broad but also proficient because there will be several different types of projects you will be asked to undertake. Plumbing, electrical work, pest control, security, and so on and so on, are all useful skills to have. Even if you’re not the most capable person for the job, the important thing is that you’ll be available for the tenants. In the future, they will know they can count on you if something goes wrong.
But of course, you will not be able to personally respond to everyone all the time. For this reason, install a drop-box in convenient and frequently visited areas so that tenants can write on pieces of paper what they need fixed, or if they simply wish to give feedback.
For apartment buildings or multiple-unit properties, tenants should have split utilities. There will be different levels of energy use for each tenant – and some tenants might have children where others don’t. Along the same lines, have a limit on the number of people who can live in an apartment and or if you even allow for subletting of the unit.
Renters don’t want to live in a building next to a loud bar or a noisy club – make sure noise is not a problem for the building you’re buying. If there is a fair amount of noise, think about what you can do to make the building less noisy - whether that's new windows or asking the owners of buildings near you to have quiet hours at night.