When it comes to choosing tenants, landlords have the final say. It’s an important decision as there’s nothing worse than dealing with difficult tenants.
Daily calls, unpaid rent or damaged furnishings can lead to frustration and kill your dream of being a carefree landlord.
Conversely, choose the right tenants and the process will be smooth; possibly enjoyable.
So is there a formula to selecting your tenant or it is just a mean gamble? We like to think that while you cannot control how things play out in the future, you can set yourself up for success. Here’s what we suggest.
Define your rental target audience
Before you do anything else, take some time to envision your ideal tenant and how you would attract them.
Consider your location and property features and to whom it would most appeal- individuals, families, students etc. Think also about surrounding amenities like universities, hospitals, office building and how that may attract a certain demographic. Then consider who from that pool would make a great tenant. The answer you come up with is your rental target audience.
Now that you have your target audience in mind, market your home accordingly. Put yourself in their shoes and think of ways to make your unit attractive to them. This includes furnishing the home with the right appliances and presenting it in its best light through pictures and good copy on your advertisement.
Finally, first impressions are crucial so ensure that your place is spotless, well-maintained and inviting. It’s true that like-attracts-like and a home that is cared for and respected will attract someone who will expect to do the same.
Number of residents and pets
Another factor to consider is the number of people who will reside in your property. Generally speaking, more residents would mean higher risk of wear and tear to furnishings and the house. As a rule, there should be a maximum of 2 people per room to avoid overcrowding.
When it comes to dogs and cats, pets shouldn’t be an immediate deal breaker but having them could also mean more damage. Nevertheless, allowing pets may enable you to charge higher rent and a longer tenancy term. It can also be said that responsible pet owners often make responsible tenants.
In the end, weigh up the risks and benefits and go with what makes sense to you.
Pay attention at inspections
During inspections, pay attention to potential tenants and make mental or physical notes of your observations. Remember the well-prepared couple or the organized university students and be aware when someone reeks of cigarette smoke when they’ve marked themselves as non-smokers on their application.
If you do strike up conversations, casually ask them about what they do or what their plans are. This will give you some insight into their lives and the type of renters they will be.
After the inspections, consult your agent and discuss some of your observations. A good agent will be experienced enough to point out things you may have missed or confirm some of your thoughts.
Screening and research
Screening cannot be emphasized enough. When looking through applications, go through them carefully and read between the lines. This includes scrutinizing employment records and rental history.
Even when the application looks flawless, remember that it’s better to be prudent and carry out due diligence. This includes conducting reference checks and speaking to past landlords or employers to see if things add up.
Your property agent will have access to the National Tenancy Database. Ensure that they run the necessary checks and screen for red flags like past disputes with landlords, court orders and even bankruptcy.
Of course, don’t forget to verify identity documents.
Go with your gut and be prepared
Now that you have done all you can to ensure the best match, make your decision. Sometimes it may not be as obvious and if deciding between strong candidates, go with your gut.
You have done your best and it will likely be a stress-free experience. Yet, sometimes things don’t go according to plan- no matter how hard you try.
Accidents happen, carpets get stained, employment circumstances may change.
For times like these, it’s comforting to know that you have the best help from a property manager you can trust- someone who will run timely inspections with a keen eye, deal with maintenance issues, follow up on unpaid rent and provide invaluable advice every step of the way.
You cannot guarantee that things will go smoothly, but you have the help you need if they don’t. To find out more, speak to one of our friendly staff at CT Real Estate today.