Need A Tenant? Consider These Points First!

Need A Tenant? Consider These Points First!

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There is a home in our neighborhood owned by a landlord and rented out to tenants. It is one of the largest homes on our street, with a double driveway, expanded playroom and fenced in backyard. In the six years we’ve lived here we’ve seen four families come and go, but there is a good reason for the constant turnover: the home is dilapidated and in desperate need of repairs.

yard artThat in itself should give the landlord some clue why people don’t stay put. Not that he seems to care all that much, but it underscores one of the reasons why some landlords have trouble attracting tenants: lack of curb appeal. Just as a potential buyer will sometimes scratch a home off of her list, a tenant looking for a place to rent will move on if the home you want to rent out isn’t attractive.

Let’s take a look at some points to help you find and retain a good tenant:

Visual Attraction – Does your home (or apartment) appeal to a prospective tenant? Take a look at the front of your property and decide if the home has a warm look about it. Is the exterior in good order? Is lawn cared for? Are flowers blooming and bushes trimmed? You may have a stunning interior, but they’ll never see it if the outside of the home or apartment looks rundown.

Interior Appeal – Tenants will look very closely at what they’re renting before deciding if your house can become their home. Are appliances new or in good condition? Does the interior need to be painted? Are bathrooms clean and updated? Is each room warm and inviting? Is closet and storage space sufficient?

Parking Matters – Your home could be perfect inside and out, but if there is no place to park a car, then you’ve limited yourself to tenants who don’t drive. That may not be a problem in New York City, but in most communities it is. Consider providing off street parking for at least one car, even if that means paving over a piece of the lawn.

Lease Agreement – What sort of lease agreement are you wanting your tenant to sign? 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? In a saturated rental market you may find that it is best to tailor your agreement to what your tenant needs. You may also find that your tenant is a bit financially overwhelmed by having to pay first and last month’s rent, real estate fee, credit application fee, water and electric deposit, and renter’s insurance all at once. Consider providing some relief by either paying part of the agent’s fee or covering the cost of the credit application.

Landlord Assistance – If you’re happy with a tenant and you want to keep her long term, then responding quickly to reasonable tenant requests can keep them happy too. That means sending out a serviceman to fix the heat or air-conditioner unit right away, keeping the common area painted and broom clean, removing snow or debris from the property in a timely matter and the like. Yes, consider not raising the rent even if you have the right to do so: what price can you put on a model tenant who pays you each month and isn’t overly demanding?

For more related information, please read A Guide to Good Landlord-Tenant Relations.

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