Insider Tips for Tenant Management Success
Investing in rental properties requires tenant management skills. At the root of a successful property investment is either a strong property manager, or an extremely savvy property owner. Savvy property owners know that a good tenant can make all the difference in a rental investment. To excel at tenant management, there are three key traits to focus on:
- being proactive in handling repairs
- conducting thorough tenant screening
- effectively communicating with tenants to create a sense of home
These may seem like basic facts to any property owner, but being aware of these skills is just scratching the surface. Let’s take an insider look at each of these three traits and how you can truly master them for the most efficient tenant management.
Proactive repair management involves identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems, both in general maintenance and between tenants. This can help to reduce costs, maintain the value of the property, and avoid inconveniencing tenants.
Proactive repair can involve replacing broken or worn parts rather than trying to patch them up, as the cost of two fixes and one replacement is often similar, and a replacement causes less inconvenience for the tenant, and ensures fewer repairs needed in the future.
To stay on top of repairs, it’s extremely important to do property inspections every so often or in between tenants, as this can help identify items that are close to breaking. Instead of waiting for problems to arise, proactively repairing or replacing these items can help avoid inconveniencing the tenant, save money on labor and materials, and allow for repairs to be made on the landlord’s terms. As an investor, proactive replacement is the best way to remain in control of your expenses rather than letting property expenses control you. Staying ahead of the game in repair management can also help protect the value of the property and keep expenses under control. These are some additional maintenance tips that can help you save in the long run:
- Regular HVAC servicing can help prevent large, unexpected expenses and ensure that the system is functioning properly. If you run into an HVAC issue, you’ll need to find a quick repair or replacement and might not have the time or resources to find the best technician. Servicing the system regularly keeps you in control of maintenance and repairs.
- Cleaning gutters one to two times each year benefits curb appeal and gives the opportunity for a quick roof inspection.
- Having annual termite and pest inspections can help maintain the appearance and value of the property, and allow for early identification of any potential issues.
Having a trusted property manager can make proactive repairs ten times easier. At Utopia Management, we conduct inspections regularly and identify the most cost-effective repairs or replacements to make that will maximize your return on investment, so all you need to do is say the word.
Tenant qualification involves carefully vetting potential tenants to ensure that they will be reliable and responsible. A truly thorough qualification process is extremely important; after all, it ensures the security of your rental investment. For a strong tenant screening, follow the seven C’s:
- Call current employers
- Check driver’s license for expiration date and address
- Credit, background, income, and eviction verification reports
- Call several previous landlords
- Copies of bank statements
- Check social media accounts
- Complete a full application
Ensuring that a tenant is qualified prior to the rental agreement is much better than realizing a tenant is unqualified while they are occupying the property. Putting in the time and energy for a thorough screening, while it may not seem necessary, is the best way to protect yourself from future headaches and minimize your vacancy rate in the long run.
Effective Communication with Tenants
Last but not least is managing tenant communication. One thing that most landlords overlook is the value of a strong tenant relationship. In fact, one of the most effective tools in tenant management is putting the tenant first. Landlords should view their tenants as customers, as without them, there is no business. Just as a customer service representative can improve the outcome of a situation by handling it with care and trying to resolve the issue, landlords should aim to do the same with their tenants.
By prioritizing the needs and concerns of the tenant and striving to effectively address any issues that arise, landlords can foster positive relationships and improve vacancy and cash flow. By viewing the tenant-landlord dynamic as a customer-employee relationship, it is possible to effectively manage tenants and ensure the success of the rental property. Here are some small ways to go the extra mile in fostering a friendly relationship with tenants:
- Leave a small handwritten welcome note when tenants move in, along with a gift card to a local restaurant
- Leave some pet treats if the tenant has an approved pet; always remember pet’s names and ask how they’re doing when you reach out
- Send small gift cards on the tenant’s birthday
- Offer gift cards to Lowe’s or Home Depot if the tenant wants to add something to the home such as flowers or a DIY project
- Perform small home upgrades that they might enjoy, such as outdoor lights, a fire pit, or a WiFi thermostat
Promoting this type of positive communication creates a friendly and open environment, and will strengthen your relationship with your tenants. It’s important to note that you can foster a friendly environment and remain firm and straightforward when it comes to business.
By mastering these three skills in your tenant management, you can see your return on investment increase and deal with much less hassle.