For a successful property owner, you should have a good property manager. If you are reluctant to hire a property manager or management company and pay the associated fees and commissions, then you need to execute these jobs yourself. Here is a step by step chart of the things to do when you want to lease your property.
1. Be certain that the property is clean and in good repair.
A house that is in good condition will draw better good renters. Consequently, if it is free of needed fixes, there will be one less point to be considered for negotiation. Be sure the house is secured with re-keyed locks.
2. Establish the deposit and lease payment.
Understand what the going rate for your property’s area, and define the amount you are profitable with. Ask for a security deposit that is greater than one month’s rent. Take steps to ensure that you understand your state’s tenant and landlord laws to keep in compliance.
3. Inform the neighbors.
Being cordial to the neighbors will help keep good renters. If a prospective tenant understands the house is being watched by neighbors who are acquainted with the manager, they are not as likely to damage the property. Also, neighbors may have a friend or family member looking for a nice place to rent.
4. Take out ads in the local paper.
Understanding that classified ads are expensive, be sure to use these key items: price, size, and contact information. Obviously, you can use the internet to place ads, but many tenants who may be searching, may not have internet access.
5. For Rent signage on the house.
A proper looking sign with For Rent and your phone number should be used. An information page can be included, and it may prevent a lot of “just shoppers”.
6. Keep the lawn maintained.
During the vacancy, be sure the property is well maintained, the lawn mowed, no over flowing mail box or stacks of advertising flyers.
7. Be Available.
Today it is quite easy to get a ‘dedicated’ cell phone just for your rentals. When you have a property or properties vacant, be sure to be available by phone or have a recorded message with all the rental details when you aren’t available.
8. Showing the rental.
When a prospective tenant calls to see the property, give them the address and have them visit the house. Advise them to look in the windows just to be sure the previous tenants have gone. If they still want the house, have them meet with you to complete the application and take a holding deposit of $100 that is fully refundable if the property is not rented to them.
9. Obtain a background check.
Verify employment and income, call former landlords. Validate the information in the application.
10. Have a tenant interview.
Use your common sense in talking with the prospective tenant. Ask the kids questions too. You are preparing to let a family take over one of your very valuable possessions. You will want to make sure they will take care of it. Don’t hold out for the perfect tenant, but don’t be in such a rush to rent that you let your standards drop.
11. Get cash for the deposit or certified funds made payable to you.
This is where a lot of tenants will begin to negotiate. You can’t evict for a late deposit, so always collect the full amount of deposit up front. Also, make confident that you know your local laws regarding how the deposit is to be in escrow.
12. Present the lease agreement, inspection sheet and new keys to the tenant after the full deposit and rent has been paid.
Don’t allow them to move in unless all payments are settled. Verify the tenant understands that the inspection sheet to be returned within 3 days or the property will be considered by them to be in good condition, no maintenance required. If problems are reported by the tenant in writing, make sure they are promptly fixed.
Now that you have your good tenant established, use a system to remind you of the payment amount and due dates. Also, use the system to remind you of the rental contract’s expiration date. Following these 12 steps should assist you in your property management performance.
About the Author
D L Allen is an author, IT adviser for a Fortune 100 company, and professional entertainer. Read more of his articles at MrGoodfriend’s Blog