Building wealth through property investment involves many moving parts. One of them is having someone in your property and paying you rent. Here are two key things you can do to attract and retain great tenants.
The first is to speak face-to-face to a potential tenant as part of the evaluation process. This is especially important when there is more than one suitable candidate for the property.
People can say so much on an application, but you will get a lot more information about someone when you meet them in person.
“Whether they are easy to communicate with or not often shows up quite early,” founder and managing director of property management firm Let’s Rent, Lisa Indge, said.
“If we’re contacting them, for example, and we can’t get hold of one of their referees... we need their assistance to get the application checked. If they’re very responsive to that, that’s a good sign.”
Ms Indge said meetings with potential tenants should take place at the property they’re interested in.
“Are they going to be great tenants or are they going to be walking through the door and pointing out every single little thing that needs to be done to bring it up to brand new.”
Ms Indge said finding the right tenant takes time and effort, adding that those who submit their applications early do not necessarily make the best tenants.
The second element in finding great tenants is getting the pricing right.
Receiving a flood of applications would indicate an accurate pricing position, but not getting many would require a pricing revision.
“The reality is that from one weekend to the next or one day to the next there are a fixed number of people in the rental market looking to move within a short space of time,” Ms Indge said.
She said property managers have three weeks maximum to find a tenant and they need to do this with the right pricing.
Ms Indge also recommends regular inspections – at least four times a year – of the property, saying the responsibility of the property manager doesn’t end with just finding the tenant.
“If your tenant is reporting a lot of repairs to you, that’s a good reason to inspect the property,” she said.
If the tenant is saying nothing at all, it’s even more reason to inspect the property.
“There are a number of different reasons why they might be saying nothing,” Ms Indge said.
“A lot of tenants don’t even notice, for example, when there’s a stain on the ceiling or if their tap is dripping. It’s important that you do check in on those tenants and make sure that your property is in good order.
“The other reason for tenants not contacting is perhaps there’s more people living in the property than is permitted.”
[Related: Rental rates plummet in capital cities]