Attracting/Keeping Good Tenants

Over the past 20 years as a landlord in Indianapolis, I’ve learned a lot by trial and error … a lot of trial and a lot of error! And one thing I know for sure is that the secret to happy land lording is to attract and keep good tenants. And it all starts with:

  • Curb Appeal — I assume my prospective tenant will do a drive by before meeting me or pursuing an application process. With that in mind, I do as much low-cost/high return sprucing up as possible. (Fresh paint, at least on window trim and front door, minimal landscaping like some perennial flowers or shrubs, mulch, window washing, a door wreath, new lighting, a pot of flowers or hanging flowers on the front porch.) This mini-facelift can make the difference between someone driving on by, or pursuing your rental as their next home.
  • Good Screening — As I’ve mentioned before, I use National Tenant Network as my screening tool. They’re quick and efficient, and after filling in the tenant’s personal and work info, I get a qualification score back immediately through the website. A basic screening costs anywhere from $20-$36, depending on how detailed you want to get. (I go basic.)
  • Quality Workmanship — Your unit must be in good working order and immaculate throughout. Would YOU live there? I always make sure there are no leaks/repairs needed, the entire unit is clean and paint is fresh.
  • Be Attentive — Once your wonderful tenants have signed the lease and moved in, don’t abandon them! Stop by (give them notice, of course) and say hello occasionally. This will also give you the opportunity to see they are taking good care of the place. If repairs come up, take care of them immediately!
  • Reward Good Behavior — When you come across those tenants who are just downright spectacular in every way, i.e. they pay rent in a timely manner, keep the home/yard clean and are a great addition to the neighborhood, give them perks as evidence of your appreciation! A gift certificate to a local restaurant or grocery store, a “coupon” for a dollar amount off their next month of rent, etc. Be creative, and always put a personal note with it expressing your gratitude.

I have people who’ve been with me for years, and I do appreciate them. I try to keep rent prices reasonable, while making a decent living for myself.

The nice side effect of attracting good tenants is that good news travels. Those great tenants (who also appreciate your excellent land lording) tend to spread the word to their friends and relatives, thus bringing more quality people into your rental world. Your good tenants will network on your behalf. Nice (free) perk for you, right?

Onward and upward!  🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Attracting/Keeping Good Tenants

  1. i just want to thank you for sharing your experience. I’m currently trying to learn and work up the courage to purchase my first property. Your blog always helps me feel optimistic!

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  2. Pingback: 5 Tips for Attracting/Keeping Good Tenants | RentFax-RISC Index, Rent Radar, Proforma Analysis

  3. If you want good tenants, you generally have to be a good landlord. That means:
    –to execute your duties and uphold your responsibilities to the point. Repairs, maintenance and any sort of assistance the tenants might need regarding the property needs to be provided in a timely manner and as soon as possible.
    –be human, not a corporation. If you communicate with your tenants like an automated hot-line, you’re depersonalizing your figure in their eyes. Nobody likes to deal with companies and corporations. People like to deal with, well, other people, so act friendly (not too much, don’t creep them out as well), act warm and smile a little. You will see it pushing you a long way forward.
    –don’t be a scrooge. Yes, it’s good if you’re able to maximize your returns from the property. HOWEVER, don’t do it on the account of taking the skin off your tenants back. If you need to charge them for something, don’t take it as an opportunity to make a buck or two. Simply charge the cost of the service or item that needs to be payed.

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