5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years


Hey, Spencer Sutton here with gkhouses. And today I want to give you five keys to keeping a tenant for 20 years (5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years).

So this came out of an interview I did with Robert Locke.

He used to own Crown Property Management in Atlanta and one day he got a notice that a tenant was moving, he looked that tenant up and they had been in the property for 20 years.

And it got him thinking, you know, how do you keep a tenant for 20 years?

Because that’s really important if you’re an investor or if you’re a homeowner and you want to rent your house a long term, keeping a tenant for 20 years is great for you because you don’t spend as much money on turns.

The cash flow is consistent and really over that course of time, you’re able to really understand each other and you get in a flow of how you work with each other, the property manager or the landlord and the tenant.

The longest I’ve ever had a tenant is currently, I just had one move out six, seven months ago and she was with me for nine years.

And then I currently have one that’s going on 10 years. So I’ve been fortunate to be able to do this.

So there’s five ways that you can also do this and keep a tenant for 20 years.

if you’re an investor, this is going to be really important to you because it’s going to start with number one.

KEY NUMBER ONE on 5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years:

The first way you can keep a tenant for 20 years is to buy the right house.

And, this may seem very simple, but I talk to investors all the time that are looking to buy houses that are not really great houses.

They believe that they’re getting a discount, that the price has been reduced.

it’s a deal that they just have to take when in essence it’s not really a discount, it’s more of a price adjustment for an irreconcilable defect.

If you had a house that is on a super busy street that is what we call a white elephant.

Somebody is not going to give you the rent that that house, that same house, would get if it were on a quiet street, not on a very busy street.

Maybe your house is right next to power lines that are going to be an irreconcilable defect.

Possibly the house that you’re looking to buy has a funky layout, a funky floor plan. Don’t buy those houses.

There’s a reason why DR Horton and some of these national home builders typically have just a few floor plans that they go with every single time they buy a house.

And the reason is because those are the floor plans people want to live in. They’re normal, everything kind of works really well together.

The first thing you can do to keep a tenant for 20 years is to buy the right house.

Another example may be a very steep driveway. So what happens in the winter if this driveway freezes?

That’s not going to be good for the tenant. Things like steep driveways is another white elephant, is what I would call it.

Just something that sticks out, you can’t ignore it and it has to be dealt with.

Now somebody’s going to be hesitant to rent the house and then when they do rent the house they’re not going to give you as much money as you probably want for the house.

Then on top of that more than likely, they’re not going to be long-term tenants. So, key number one, buy the right house.

KEY NUMBER TWO on 5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years:

Key number two in keeping a tenant 20 years is going to be getting the house in great shape.

We see a lot of investors that want to save money, as much money as they possibly can, on a rehab, on getting the house ready.

And ultimately, it’s going to hurt you in the end.

So if your house is in great shape, if the walls are painted, new carpet or very clean carpet, updated appliances, those types of things, more modern fixtures in the bathrooms and the kitchens, if you have those items in your house.

If you’ve gotten the house in really, really good shape, more than likely you’ll rent it quickly and somebody will want to stay in that house.

Also, I believe curb appeal is also something that you can do to help rent that house quickly and keep a tenant in there, is if you have the lawn nice and taken care of.

Now, some owners that we manage for in places like Nashville like to continue to keep the yard the way they want it.

They have their own yard crew that cuts the grass for the tenant or they ask us to do it.

That’s really up to you, but that would be an added perk to having that house if you were the tenant if the owner was still doing the lawn maintenance.

But the point is, make sure the house is in really good shape. That’s key number two. So, buy the right house, get the house in great shape.

KEY NUMBER THREE on 5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years:

The third thing is, have a very good and well thought-out maintenance response system.

There’s no doubt that things are going to happen in that home. There are going to be issues especially if you keep a tenant a long time.

One of my tenants that I’ve kept 9 or 10 years, we want to make sure that we respond to their maintenance requests as quickly as we’re able to.

If you ignore maintenance requests, then that is a sign to the tenant that you’re not going to take care of them long term and then when that lease expires, they’re going to be looking for someplace else to move.

And make sure that you think about that, like, how am I going to get maintenance issues handled quickly for the tenant?

How am I going to communicate well with a tenant?

Are you going to give them your cell phone? Are you going to require them to email? Or you going to, you know, just what are the things that you’re going to do with them?

Or you are going to text them?

If not will you send them an instant message them?

There’s so many different ways that we can communicate nowadays, but you need to have a maintenance response system in place so that the tenant knows if I let the owner know.

Ff I reach out to my landlord and tell them I have an issue with, you know, some plumbing issue, that they’re going to get it and I know that they’re going to respond.

So, those are the first three things.

KEY NUMBER FOUR on 5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years:

Key number four to keeping a tenant 20 years is, recognize that when you rent your house, you’re now in the customer service business.

It’s a great temptation to focus on that house as your asset and to, you know, just look at the tenant as an ATM, like, “Hey, you know, it’s the first of the month, time to pay your money.

“But really, you’re in the customer service business.

And the more you realize that, the more you treat your tenant as a customer and you’re providing a service, you’re providing a house, and you want to keep them happy.

The more you see them that way, the better off you’ll be, and the better your relationship will be.

Now, this doesn’t mean you do everything, absolutely everything that a tenant asked for.

But it does mean that you realize that, recognize it, and that you take it to heart, that you try to give them the best service possible.

KEY NUMBER FIVE on 5 Ways To Keep A Tenant 20 Years:

My fifth key for keeping a tenant 20 years.

And that’s just simply to celebrate the tenant.

Now, this is something when I spoke with Robert Locke back in Atlanta, this is something they did very well.

At gkhouses, we started to adopt some of those very same things.

We started writing notes to tenants just telling them, “Hey, we appreciate you.” We would also, you know, turn.

We would also just sometimes stick in gift certificates, whether that is the Starbucks or somewhere else, just Amazon gift cards into these letters, hand write a note saying, “Hey, we really appreciate you being a tenant”

It was really at random, but if you have a tenant, like, if you have one rental house and you have one tenant you can be very specific.

When they hit a milestone, you can give them a gift card, you can send them a note, hey, for the one-year anniversary, you could do something special for them.

The more you appreciate your tenant, the more they’ll remember that, the more they probably won’t want to move.

Because it’s more than likely they haven’t gotten that treatment from other people, other houses that they’ve rented before.

And so, those are the five keys to keeping a tenant 20 years.

You can probably think of some more, but those are five really big ones just to make sure that you have a great relationship with your tenant and that you keep them as long as you can.

Because remember, when they move out, typically, there’s work that has to be done to get that house rent ready again for somebody else.

You have a few months, a month, depending on how much work you have to do in the house.

So you have some vacancy there.

And, it always costs you more money when you lose a tenant.

So think of some creative ways, some things that you can do to keep a tenant as long as possible.

That’s all I have for you today. Thanks so much. Talk to you again soon.