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Attracting and Keep Good Tenants

Attracting and keeping good tenants is essential to your rental investment. Make sure you (or your management company) are following this checklist every step of the way:

Before Move in:

1) Clean tenants want a clean unit. Make sure yours is professionally cleaned before showing.
2) Mow the lawn. Put down fresh mulch. Pull the weeds. Bad lawns tell tenants that the landlord doesn’t care.
3) Have the carpets professionally cleaned. If they are really bad, don’t wait to replace them. Consider wood laminate floors that wear easier and show better. Either way, a good tenant will pass over your bad floors for a unit with better ones.
4) If it needs new paint, then paint it. Good tenants will pay top dollar for freshly painted walls.

After Move in:

1) Do a walk thru with your tenants at closing and determine what needs to be repaired or addressed. Test every appliance before you leave.
2) Fix the things on the list. Don’t have the attitude that this is an “As Is” rental. This is not a purchase. The renter is, in effect, your client. If you treat them reasonably, they will stay. If you don’t, they won’t.
3) Provide little things for your tenants that will encourage them to be and do the right thing. Leave extra AC filters in the garage. Give them self-addressed stamped envelopes that they can use each month to mail the rent. Put extra batteries in the kitchen drawer for the smoke detector.
4) If the tenant calls with a problem, respond that same day. Nothing is more important to a good tenant than quick solutions, so make sure you are there when they need.

Other things to remember:

This is your investment. Don’t scrimp on things like appliances and landscaping. Good choices will, in the end, pay off with better tenants.
Consider a service contract for your appliances and AC. In the long run, this will pay for itself, and your tenants can call the service directly if there is a problem.
Pay to have the pool or lawn care done by someone other than the tenant. Even the best of tenants will not keep these things up as well as a scheduled contractor will, so never let a tenant negotiate this to reduce the rent. It’s better to meet their price, if you want, then to give up control of your investment.