How To Rent Your House Fast

This Video Will Give You Some Great Tips On How To Rent Your House Fast

Hey. Spencer Sutton here with gkhouses, and today I want to walk through some tips and tricks on how to rent your house fast. I will break this into two lists.

One list is going be some things that you can do to help your house rent faster or maybe even for more money, so I’m gonna walk through these.

These are things that you control. And then on the opposite side of it, I’m gonna talk to you about some items that may keep your house from renting quickly, and these are things that you don’t necessarily have control over.

So, here we go.

Here’s some things that are going to help you rent your home faster or maybe even for some more money.

Landscaping

It all starts when somebody either pulls up a picture on the internet of the outside of your house or when they drive up to your house.

So the landscaping is really important. And what that means to you is that the lawn is kept cut, the grass is not overgrown if it’s in the summer months.

If it’s in the winter months, it means that the leaves are, you know, they’re not…like, if you have a large tree in your front yard that it doesn’t look like the leaves are just everywhere scattered everywhere.

Just make sure that’s taken care of.

Flowers

It’s also good to plant flowers if you can.

These flowers should be native to the area so that a prospective tenant doesn’t think that they’re gonna have to keep up some tropical plants or anything like that.

And just keep them very easy, but flowers are always gonna be nice.

Pick Up Trash

If you have trash outside of your house, pick it up. And I know that sounds strange, like, if you have a front porch and there’s debris on the front porch, make sure all of that is picked up.

This is all about first impressions.

Ground Cover

Ground covering is great, so if you could spread mulch, anything like that, ground covering, it keeps weeds down to a minimum, and it’s easy to take care of, so tenants understand that they don’t have to do a ton of yard work.

Because in a typical lease, especially in our lease, the tenants are responsible for that lawn care. That’s the outside of the house.

American Flag!

One other thing I would say which could add a nice touch is just to hang an American flag.

You know, that always shows your patriotism, and people will tend to respond positively to that.

Interior

So now moving inside the house. So very, very obvious things, but based on my experience, our experience speaking with owners, it’s not something they always think about.

Here I want you to consider how you would want to move into a house. Say you bought or are renting a brand new house, a new house for your family, how would you want to come into that house?

Interior Paint

The obvious thing is you want a clean coat of paint on the walls. So this means not a lot of scuff marks all over the walls.

I know that, like, in my house, scuff marks don’t really bother me, but typically when something doesn’t bother an owner, a lot of times it will bother a tenant or a prospective tenant.

So a fresh coat of paint if you need it would be hugely beneficial.

Carpets

Also along with that, clean carpets. If you need to replace the carpet, you can do that.

It just depends on how long you’ve had your carpet. So a huge impression when they walk in, clean carpets, fresh paint.

Appliances

And then also, you want to think about your appliances.

The tenants are typically expecting to come in and find a refrigerator and a stove, and then if you have, like, already a built-in microwave and the cabinet, that’s expected.

A washer and dryer are not really expected from tenants. Typically they’ll bring their own. So you want those to be updated.

You don’t want them to be just old leftovers. It’s better to throw those out, take them with you, and then buy some new ones for your rental property.

Especially, again, this first impression when they walk in.

Bathroom Fixtures

If they could be updated, just make sure they are more modern than they are outdated.

If your house was built in the ’80s or early ’90s and you have the same fixtures that you did in the ’80s, you probably want to upgrade.

Cleaning

And then the last thing I would say is just make sure to have it professionally cleaned before you start showing the property.

As first impressions are big impressions, and the goal is to get as many people as possible into the home to see the house, and then you’re going to start taking applications.

These are some of the things that we do when we first come out to a house. Like, if you were to call us and we came out to your house, walk the property, these are some of the items that we’re gonna be looking at.

We have a whole list. And we’re looking at blinds. Also looking at light fixtures. We’re checking to make sure everything’s working properly, toilets are flushing, faucets are not leaking. Things like that.

But these things that I just listed are things that you can do to make sure your house rents quickly.

White Elephants

So now let’s look at the other side. So there are some things that you don’t really have any control over.

Maybe you’re trying to rent your house right now, or maybe you’re considering it.

Here are some things that might keep your property from renting quickly.

Like, I was just at a house not long ago, and I was driving, so I had been talking to this owner, and he was wondering, “Hey, why aren’t we getting more activity?”

I hadn’t been to this house, so I drove out there, and as I was driving through the neighborhood, I kind of understood a little bit of the difficulty.

Neighborhood Scene

And so number one is just the neighborhood scene. So the neighborhood scene where his place was, where his condo was, was not great.

There was a lot of trash on the streets, some loitering, some things like that.

It just didn’t seem like a very friendly and receptive neighborhood from that standpoint.

And so that’s always going to be a little bit of a red flag to prospective tenants as they pull up.

They’re not going to get this warm and fuzzy feeling. So again, you don’t really have anything to do with that.

This is something beyond your control.

Steep Driveways and Funky Layout

Another thing, just, and this may sound strange, but you know, steep driveways, you know, can keep people from renting your house.

Also along with that, an odd layout of the home.

So if your house has a funky layout, then you probably are not gonna expect it to rent very, very quickly.

So there’s a reason why these national home builders, these multi-multi-million-dollar home builders essentially have the same floorplans for all of their homes.

Because that’s what people like!

So if your house has a funky layout, you may love it, but that doesn’t mean a tenant or a prospective tenant is going to love it.

Busy Street and Train Tracks

Then, you know, just somewhat we call white elephant issues. And white elephant means it’s almost impossible to ignore things like you are on a very, very busy street.

That’s obviously gonna take away from a prospective tenant’s desire to rent, especially if they have small children.

If you live near train tracks or near power lines they make keep your house from renting very quickly.

Again, you don’t really have any kind of control over those. So focus on what you do have control over, these things that I mentioned.

The appeal, the street appeal, when they pull up, pride of ownership inside the home, outside the home.

If your home looks great and like that, and there’s another house on the same block or down the block or in the next block that is not kept as well, 9 times out of 10, they’ll choose your house if all things being equal.

So I hope this kind of helps you think about some things and will help you rent your house quickly.

Whether you do it yourself or whether you choose gkhouses to help find a great tenant for your home.

Thanks so much.

Where Should I Market My Home For Rent?

If you’re considering renting out your house, you have likely thought, ‘Where should I market my home for rent?’

Hey everybody. Matthew Whitaker here with another “Questions Owners Ask.”

Today’s question is, where should I market my home for rent in Birmingham, Alabama?

So, I think there are really three places that you need to do that.

Yard Sign

The first one is the old school sign in the yard. I think too often this gets overlooked.Where Should I Market My Home For Rent?

Typically, people are driving around the areas where they want to live.

They’re driving by the homes, they maybe live down the street, they have a neighbor that lives down the street. They want someone they know to live in the same neighborhood.

The old sign in the yard just still seems to rent houses. So, it’s very important that you get a sign in the yard.

I know that’s kind of elementary, but I would not overlook it.

The Nextdoor App

The second place that we’re seeing that’s starting to increase traffic is the Nextdoor app.

So, this is a new app where it’s almost like a place where you can post things like garage sales that you’re doing at your house.

And you can kind of post it and one of the things that you can do is also list your house for rent on the Nextdoor app.

Again, it gets pushed out to neighbors. Neighbors are able to find their friends, and help them move into a house right down the street.

Zillow and Trulia

The third thing is the 600 pound gorilla, Zillow and Trulia. These are still the two best places, the number one best places to rent houses.

About 60 to 70% of people find their houses online still, and Zillow and Trulia are by far the best places to do that.

You definitely need to make sure that you get your house on there.

I’m Matthew Whitaker with “Questions Owners Ask” with gkhouses.

Want to rent your Nashville house fast?

Rent Your Nashville Home FastUnfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it’s time to rent your Nashville house.

And to highlight the issue, the most common questions we receive at gkhouses is, “How long will it take you to find a tenant for my home.”

This is a valid question. And it’s a question that you need to consider even before renting your home.

But while it’s a valid question, it is also a tricky one. We don’t believe that there is a clear-cut answer to the issue. How quickly you rent your Nashville home depends on several factors.

In this article, we are going to discuss three tips to rent your Nashville home fast.

1. Price

You may feel this is a bit too obvious, but I can promise you that it isn’t. When we bring this point up to owners, a lot of time they dismiss it because they have a set price in their head for rent.

No matter what your neighbor receives in rent or what your friend told you should charge if it’s not market rent, you won’t rent your home fast.

Prospective tenants are smart. And they don’t necessarily want to pay more than they need to for rent. Especially if they’re signing a one-year lease.

That is why your rental home price needs to be what the market is willing to bear. In Nashville, it’s especially important because if you start off too high, your best prospective tenants could find something similar for less down the road.

Even in a hot housing market like Nashville, finding a great tenant fast is no guarantee if your home is not priced right.

2. Product

Your home is the product. In our article about how to keep a tenant for 20 years, we specifically speak about the house is an essential factor.

Not just in the way you present and market the home, but also in the layout. A house with a funky floorplan, a steep driveway, and a next to a busy road usually won’t rent in the first ten days.

The perfect tenant for this home is not the everyday tenant. It is going to take one that is special.

We also like to stress to owners how important it is for the house to be in great shape. Many homeowners (especially if they’re investors) want to save money. We understand the importance of stretching your dollar.

However, providing a tenant with a great house to live in might increase your chances of keeping them for a long time.

I have personally had tenants in my houses for over nine years. One of the reasons they have stayed so long is that I provided them with a great home from day one.

A simple tip is to look at the paint job in your bedrooms. If you have children and one of the rooms is pink, you may consider painting it a neutral color. Your goal is to appeal to the broad market of potential tenants who can afford your home.

3. Time of Year

It’s true, our Nashville property management business picks up tremendously in the late spring. Everyone knows that the summer is the best time to sell a house. The same is true if you want to rent your home.

Your chances of finding a great tenant increase starting in May. It’s not surprising since most people prefer to move in the summer.

Sometimes they prefer to move because of school schedules. Or they may prefer to move during summer because of the beautiful weather. No matter the reason, if you have the opportunity to rent your Nashville house during summer, it’s your best bet!

Conclusion

If you want to rent your Nashville house fast, think about the three things in this article – Price, Product, and Time of Year. These are the three factors that will most determine if your house is on the market for a few days or for several weeks.

If you would like to speak with our Nashville team leader, call us at (615) 925-3880 ext 3. You can also fill out the form on this page.

The seasonality of leasing in Birmingham AL

Are you leasing a home in Birmingham, Alabama? You will want to know the best months of the year to find a tenant for your home!

The seasonality of leasing in Birmingham AL
The seasonality of leasing in Birmingham AL

I just got off a phone call with another property manager in Birmingham. He was asking me about the seasonality of leasing homes in the City.

It brought to mind one of the first questions people ask when they call us is, “How quickly can you lease my home?

The seasonality of the leasing season has a lot to do with the answer to the question most prospective owners want to know.

So what does the leasing season look like in Birmingham?

Hot times – February, May, June, July, August, November

Cool times – January, March, April, September, October, December

Why the “Hot times”? – The obvious time people lease homes are during natural breaks in their lives.  The most natural break is traditionally when children get out of school.  Thus the May-August dates.

What is so interesting is how the school year still affects when others move even if they don’t have kids.

For people who are “post-school” and “pre-kids” they still fall into the cadence of needing a rental house at the same times of the year.

They get out of school, lease a home for a year, then the lease keeps either renewing and/or ending in the summer.  Then if they move, they are keeping a consistent cadence till they decide to purchase a home and get out of the rental world altogether.

The less known months for leasing a home are more about avoiding the holidays than they are about trying to strategically move at a good time.

November is all about people getting in the new home BEFORE the holidays.

February is after the holidays and typically when a lot of people file their taxes and receive their income tax returns – this affords them the cash they need to pay a deposit, first month’s rent and pay to move.

So if you’re leasing a home in Birmingham, consider these factors in your planning.

If you have any specific questions about your home and/or when we think it will lease, please reach out to us.  We’d love to help.

leasing your home

Are you interested in leasing your home? This article explores the three adjectives of leasing your home.

My mom was an English teacher for almost 30 years. If I had a dollar for every time she corrected the way I spoke or the way I wrote, I could feed a small 3rd world country.

That is why it is so funny that the idea for this article hit me recently. So, Mom, this one’s for you!

Leasing your home is by far the most important responsibility you have as a manager or a homeowner. Much like getting a business to make money, getting the right tenant on the bus makes the experience so much more enjoyable.

That is why, I was wondering, what does it take to lease to a great tenant? I came up with three adjectives that should help you.

1. The first adjective is availability

If you are leasing a home, tenant prospects have very little patience for not being able to get someone on the phone and see the house.

I always say, if I’m selling a house and you called me to potentially buy it, and I didn’t get back with you by the end of the day, chances are you haven’t purchased a home yet.

It is not that way with leasing homes.

There is a great chance if you don’t get someone to see the home THAT day, then they will find another one that suits their needs. Why?

For a tenant to lease a home, they are typically looking for a few important boxes to check.

Things like the neighborhood, proximity to work, number of bedrooms or bathrooms and perhaps a school district.

Once they check all these boxes, typically they go ahead and rent. The number of boxes to buy a home is a much more lengthy list. Thus, tenants will lease before buyers will buy.

2. The second adjective is patience

If you are in the business of leasing houses, you better be a patient person. You are going to get a million phone calls and emails and every single one of them is going to be asking the same questions!

How many bedrooms is it? What are your qualifications? What school does it go to? Same questions . . . every time.

In fact, we got so tired of answering the same 5 or 6 questions, we decided to have voice recording tell the prospects the answers PRIOR to talking to a live voice.

Do you know what was funny?

They STILL ask the questions. Bottom line is you better be willing to answer the same questions over and over again to find the right tenant.

The last thing you want is for the right tenant to call and you to be so tired of answering those questions you don’t answer or you don’t sound very nice on the phone.

3. The last adjective is discipline

Why do I say that? If you’ve taken a million phone calls, talked to a million people, shown the home a million times and taken a million bad applications, you need to stay disciplined to your underwriting criteria to find the right person.

One house we leased a number of years back, we showed over 100 times and received over 30 applications! It’s hard to keep showing up at the same house that many times to find the right tenant.

Discipline is also very special to me because it is one of our core values that we believe so strongly in. The ability to stay disciplined when finding the right tenant will pay off, but you have to keep reminding yourself through the process.

Finding the right tenant for your rental home is the most important accomplishment you will have as a manager or homeowner. Make sure you remember my English teacher mom and stay true to these adjectives.

Mom, if you’re reading this, it is too late and making changes now wouldn’t help.

5 reasons not to rent your house

 

5 reasons not to rent your houseIt seems weird that a guy who spends all his day trying to talk you into renting your home would write about the top 5 reasons NOT to rent your home.

You’re probably as skeptical as I would be reading this article and think I’ll come up with some fluffy reasons not to rent your home that really leads you back to renting your house. I hope you skeptics will read on because I’m not going to hold any punches.

My mom recently sold her rental home. She’s owned it for years. I’ve even written about some problem tenants she had who I had to help her evict.

As you know when your mom asks a question you have to give some objective advice that is in her best interest and not always mine.

So even though our company would stand to make money on her renting her home (yes, I charged my Mom), I told her it was best she sold the home.

Let’s take a quick look at 5 reasons you would want to follow in her footsteps and sell. . .

1. The rental return doesn’t justify the headache.

This was my mom’s reason I told her to sell the house. After doing the math, I figured she was making about a 2-3% return on the home based on TODAY’s market value.

Reasons not to rent your home

It is important to judge the investment in today’s value. Not what you have invested in the home (or your basis).

For a 3% return, she can invest her money somewhere that has very little headache and requires her to answer very few questions.

2. You have an emotional attachment (that can’t be broken) to the home.

Everyone who lives in a home has some emotional attachment to it. It is the place you had Thanksgiving dinners, July 4th celebrations, and brought your first baby home.

However, when you lease your home, you are getting into a business deal. The new tenants, even if they are great ones, are going to have ordinary wear and tear on the home. The home will not look EXACTLY like it did when you left.

What people in this situation fail to see is that the home today, since they’ve been living in it, doesn’t look exactly like it did one year ago. It kind of like when someone says “your kids are getting so big” and, because you see them every day, you never noticed.

The same principle holds true here. I’ve even seen people complain about the “tenant caused damage” only to realize later that it was like that when they moved from the home!

3. You may need to move into the home within the next year.

We get calls like this all the time. When someone is moving away for 6 months and wants to rent the house for a brief period of time. Moving is just too much of a hassle to ask a tenant to move in and move out in 6 months and there are very few tenants who are willing to rent the home.

On the other hand, it may make perfect sense to rent your home if you plan on moving away for over a year and want to move back into your house at some point.

4. You can’t afford to pay your mortgage if the house has some repairs.

I’m not saying that money isn’t important to receive. I’m simply saying that if the water heater goes out and you can’t afford to fix it because your mortgage is due, you are in the wrong business (remember, it’s a business!).

You should have an adequate cushion of available funds in reserve to lease your home. Even if we lease it in the first 30 days, you probably won’t get a deposit for almost 60 days.

You just need to be prepared for this and understand how the cash flow works. If you are cutting it tight, we suggest not doing it.

 

5. You have a family member or friend who is going to rent it.

reasons not to rent your homeAs I mentioned twice before, this becomes a business deal when you decide to rent it. I’ve heard of some horrible family feuds because of how members treated each other’s homes.

We have had homeowners come to us with their house because they just couldn’t evict their relatives. But they were OK with us walking through the process with their family members.

You’ve always heard not to do business with a family member and the same principal applies here.

Keep these thoughts in mind when you are deciding whether to rent your home. Sometimes the best client for us is the one who decides not to rent.

Make sure you understand what you are getting into when you decide to rent your home. And carefully consider various scenarios you may find yourself in down the road.

move-in inspection video

Walking through your rental property just prior to a tenant moving in is critical. In this move-in inspection video, you will see just how a professional property manager does it.

We know that setting the relationship off on the right foot will determine how a tenant views you as a landlord for the remainder of the lease. In this move-in inspection video, we will show you how we try and catch any mistakes.

We need to catch these errors before they become a headache to the tenant.

If they move in and there are several items broken or other problems, they will view you through that lens from that point forward.

In this video, we will walk you through our typical move-in process and what we look for just two days before a tenant moves into one of our rental houses.

Transcript

Spencer: All right, everyone. My name is Spencer Sutton with gkhouses. We are at a rental property that has a new tenant soon to move in.

And I’m here with one of our property managers, his name is Wayne McGinnis. And Wayne’s going to be doing a “move-in walk-through.”

So, the lease has been signed, a deposit has been paid, first month’s rent has been paid, but the tenant is not moving in for another two days.

And so what we like to do is we like to walk through the house. We do this to make sure everything is working and everything is the way it’s supposed to be. We want them to have a very good experience.

So, I’m going to get behind the camera and I’m going to follow Wayne through this house.

We’re going to see exactly what he looks for, and he’s going to walk us through that entire process. So here we go.

Initial pass-through of the home

Wayne: Hey, I’m Wayne McGinnis with gkhouses. I manage the eastern side of town, everything east of 65.

We’re going to walk-through and make sure that everything’s ready for the tenant to move in.

All this kind of stuff that’s been left is not good.

Actually should have caught this previously but this why we do these walk-throughs.

We don’t want them to move in and see stuff like this.

Obviously things like tile that are used to replace in case there’s a crack in the kitchen floor. Any paint that we’re using on the home that we want to leave if we can and doesn’t bother the tenant.

Everything else, like this kind of stuff, is garbage, and we’re going to get rid of it today.

Checking doors, water, and toilets

All right, now that we’ve disposed of the garbage and stuff that was in the garage, we’re going to look in here to make sure all the doors open and close properly without sticking.

Make sure all the lights are working. Make sure the fans are working. We also want to make sure that the toilet is secure, that it’s flushing correctly.

We want to make sure the cold and the hot water are working, and we give a minute to make sure the water gets hot.

And here we have the furnace. Everything is clean.

We do have some leftover parts that we’ll leave just in case the condensation line ever has any problems. We’ll have some pieces to work with.

But all in all, we want to make sure this area is clean. There’s no dirt piling up all over the floor.

We just want a clean room even though it’s a furnace room because it’s part of the house.

You always want to make sure that this does not cake up.

We want to check the thermostat and make sure everything is working properly.

And we’re going to check the sink, make sure everything is draining properly.

So when you hate it for the tenant to move in and find that the garbage disposal is not working on day one. So we will make a list of this and have it repaired before the tenant moves in.

We want to check the refrigerator and freezer, make sure it’s clean.

Broken garbage disposal

Spencer: Okay. As Wayne is going through his move-in walk-through, really what we’re trying to do is cut down on any kind of maintenance costs that a tenant would have.

So as you can see, Wayne’s been checking the garbage disposal which we found out is not working. We’re going to get somebody to have a look at that.

But to check the microwave, check in the refrigerator, look at the dishwasher, make sure the garage door is opening, all these things are very important.

We check every little thing that typically a homeowner would not really think about. I know I wouldn’t at my house. But we need to check to make sure everything is working properly.

Or else, we’re going to get a maintenance call that something’s not right and we’ll have to come back out and fix it.

So we’re just trying to cut down on that because when a tenant moves in, if everything’s working, then they’re going to be happy.

They’re going to be excited to be in this nice house and we’re going to be excited to manage it for them.

Checking the carpet

Wayne: When the last tenant moved out, we had to replace the carpet on this area right here. And it shows that we tried to get as close a match as possible to what’s here, all this was clean.

So it still looks a little dark but I think we got a close match, which is really good.

That’s what you don’t want to happen when you’re dealing with electricity.

Apparently, there’s a wiring shortage in the ceiling fan, which I have now shut the power off to. We will make sure that this is taken care of before the tenant moves in.

All right, I’m checking the door on the master bathroom. Coming in, a really nice bathroom here.

And it’s showing signs of water damage. This was not here during our move-out report, nor during our inspection, nor during our final punch list.

So I’m concerned that the shingle or something had blown off. Again, it’s why it’s great that we did move-in inspection video to show you what really happens.

And like the bathroom, usually, if a leak is going to happen, it’s going to be somewhere you can’t see it, nine times out of ten. No real explanation for that but if you don’t look it up in the closet, you’ll never see it.

We want all the doors to latch properly. We want them to open and close without any problems for the tenant.

That’s the end of our move-in inspection video and we hope you learned something new. If you need help, give us a call.

how to keep a tenant 20 years

If you want to maximize profits, focus on figuring out how to keep a tenant 20 years!

Set of vintage glowing light bulbs on black

We’re going to conclude our post on ‘How to Keep a Tenant 20 Years‘ with the final 4 points our friend Robert Locke shared with me in Atlanta.

As a way of review, the first four were:

1. Buy the right house

2. Get that house in great shape

3. Put time and effort into curb appeal

4. Create a strong maintenance response system

These four are great foundational points and I would say a good landlord already practices these things and recognizes their importance.

Now we’re going to move into some less obvious points that are critical to keeping your tenant for years and years. So here we go…with number FIVE:

5. Recognize the Tenant is the Customer

ATM payment by credit card or cash concept with the hand of a businessman holding a bank card and a second holding a banknote

This may sound like common sense but we’ve found that not every owner recognizes that their tenant is the customer. Instead, some owners view tenants as an ATM and are more interested in calculating ROI than understanding how to achieve that ROI.

This is highlighted when something in the house needs to be fixed but the owner is resistant because they wouldn’t have a problem living in their own house with that issue.

At Crown, Robert just terminated an owner because a tenant was worried about a deck that was swaying. When Crown took it to the owner, their response was, “It’s been that way for 20 years. I’m not going to fix it now.”

That response and attitude got the owner fired.

Why? Because of the liability involved when a tenant reports a possible hazard and there’s nothing done in response.

You Are In Customer Service

Crown preaches to their owners and investors that they need to understand the difference in what you would live with and what a tenant is expected to live with inside of a rental house. You, as an investor, are now in the customer service business and that means providing a great product and service to back it up.

It’s important that certain items in the house should be taken care of so that you as an investor can maximize profit and keep the tenant long term.

Robert says that if a tenant sees a double cylinder deadbolt when they rent the house, the assumption is that the deadbolt works. But when it doesn’t and the tenant complains, an investor might say, “I haven’t a had a key to that deadbolt for 10 years. Just let the tenant deal with the doorknob lock and that’s good enough.”

That’s not good enough.

The tenant will expect that deadbolt to work and so it needs to be replaced.

Robert believes that owners need to understand that a whole new set of laws come into play that didn’t come into play when the owner lived there.

They now have a commercial enterprise. This is now a business and new laws engage and govern the way you treat, deal and interact with that tenant that you were not subject to when you lived in the house.

So, as an investor, it’s important to change your mindset. It is a commercial enterprise now and, if somebody else lives in the house, it doesn’t mean they have to tolerate what you tolerated.

It’s a mindset shift that must take place if you want to keep a tenant for 20 years.

6. Provide Scheduled Maintenance Opportunities

As Robert’s group at Crown regularly keeps tenants 5, 10, 15 years, they like to ask the question, “Why do you continue to stay in the house?” The biggest reason they hear is, “Good maintenance response system.”

The second most common answer is, “The owner obviously cares for the house because we have scheduled maintenance being done on a regular basis”.

These are opportunities for you, the owner, to make an impression on the tenant.

Some of the things that Crown offers its owners:

  • Landscaping twice a year
  • Weed prevention and treatment
  • Shrubbery trimming
  • Gutter cleaning
  • HVAC checkup
  • Termite Bond

On Robert’s personal rental properties he has landscaping done four times a year because it shows the tenant he cares about where they’re living.

These are called scheduled maintenance opportunities and Crown believes that being proactive is the best method. You don’t want to wait for the tenant to complain.

Scheduling is important because if you wait and manage ‘fix on failure’ it’s usually going to happen at an inopportune time. Every year Crown has a termite contractor go and walk their properties and issue an annual bond for the coming year. And termite bonds are are a preventative measure, because once you find termites, it’s too late.

Just like us, tenants want to be proud of where they live and if you can provide this for them, you’ll have a satisfied tenant and one that wants to stay in your house for many years.

7. Practice Great Communication Skills

What do owners and tenants really want from their owner (or property manager)? Good communication. From experience, this is where Robert has seen a lot of private landlords make a mistake.

They get the tenant in, hugs and kisses, they make sure the rent comes in and then they go on a communication vacation.

Most investors who get into this business have jobs that are pretty demanding. On top of that, they have a family, kids sporting events, dental appointments, vacations and eventually they slow down on their response to the tenant. And the tenant is expecting a fast, quick, and easy response system. In this business, a strong communication system with the tenant and owner is imperative.”

Speaking together media concept as two crumpled pieces of paper shaped as a human head with talk bubbles or speech bubble icons taped as a communication symbol for business understanding and compromise agreement.

Phones

At Crown, they use Fonality.com, a web-based phone system where you can control where those incoming phone calls go. For years, Crown has rotated the emergency phone around the office.

At gkhouses.com we have a 24-hour service line that can take care of service calls and handle the middle of the night emergencies.

Robert suggests that if you have a problem with tenants calling and saying things are emergency but in fact, they aren’t, just issue a $100 fine for anything that is not truly an emergency.

At Crown, it cut down the number of ‘emergency’ calls dramatically!

Common sense can usually be followed here. If it’s backed up sewage on Sunday afternoon, it needs to be dealt with. If it’s a crack in a window on a Saturday night, it’s not an emergency.

Instant Messaging

At Crown they’ve been implementing a new instant messaging system so the managers can respond at different times of the day and weekend and evenings.

Robert and his Crown team have put together a tenant handbook for the most commonly asked questions…and he suggests that every good investor ought to distribute to them to new tenants.

For the property manager, he suggests pulling your staff together and asking the question, “What are the 10 most common questions a tenant asks?” Compile those answers and put the answers in a tenant handbook.

If you’re a landlord who has several properties, this is a great idea for you as well.

At this point, Robert says that approximately 40% of tenant calls are maintenance related and the other 60% are commonly asked questions.

Find a communication system that works for you and make your tenants feel like you care.

You’ll end up with tenants that don’t want to leave.

8. Tenant Appreciation

And finally, one of the most important aspects that will help you keep a tenant 20 years is that you need to treat tenants like you would your staff if you owned a business…and this means it’s important to make them feel appreciated. Robert insists that investors would do more good and get a greater return by appreciating their tenants more. It’s not a requirement and it’s not in the lease, but they routinely send gift cards to tenants for different reasons.

Some examples of how Crown has used this gift card strategy:

  • When they endure a maintenance problem
  • They renew their lease
  • When they pass a home inspection
  • If you find out about any difficulty – divorce, death in the family, etc.

Robert says that anytime you send a $20 gift card and say, “I’m really sorry to hear about your struggle…let us know if there’s anything we can do“, it’s going to mean a lot and show them you care.

He had a lot of great ideas:

bigstock-gift-card-15448193

“What if you noticed that they paid rent on time for six months? Or even if they’ve gotten behind, worked out a payment plan and finally gotten caught up…it will change their attitude towards your company.

Some landlords are going to be too cheap to consider this strategy. They’ll say, “Why should I send them a gift card for paying six months on time…isn’t that what they agreed to do? Why should I applaud a tenant for that?

And you can definitely take that approach. But in the long run, if you never appreciate your tenants, you more than likely won’t keep them long term. The goal is for them to believe you care.”

The Crown Carnival

This year Robert and the team at Crown took this practice to another level. They planned what he calls The Crown Carnival.

Unfortunately, the day was canceled due to severe storms in the area but he ended up hosting ‘Giveaways‘ that included tablets, gas cards and even a cruise for two.

For an investor, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. But the important message is to think about ways to celebrate your tenants. Keeping a good tenant in your house for 20 years will most likely result in significant ROI.

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At gkhouses.com we are reconsidering everything we do in order to make sure we reward the best tenants.

As demand for rental property continues to increase, especially among millennials, make sure you’re providing an excellent product and even better service.

You’ll stand out above the rest when you can do these 8 things well:

  1. Buy the right house
  2. 2. Get that house in great shape
  3. Put time and effort into curb appeal
  4. Create a strong maintenance response system
  5. Recognize that the tenant is the customer
  6. Provide scheduled maintenance opportunities
  7. Practice great communication skills
  8. Appreciate the tenant

So the question you should consider is, “Do I want to keep my best tenants 20 years or not?

If you answer “YES!” to this question, then follow these 8 principles and you’re well on your way.

If you don’t use gkhouses.com as your property manager, what have you done to keep your best tenants?

We’d love to hear from you.