Deciding to turn your home, or an additionally acquired property into a rental property can be a great option for covering your ownership expenses while allowing the property in question to appreciate in value. Rental income is considered “passive” income. This means that it is income that is regularly received and requires little effort to maintain. Even though the rental income may not require much effort once you have tenants and the house is occupied. It is important that you understand that before renting out a property you still have to take care of any updates or renovations prior to any income starts coming in. The leasing portion will take up the majority of the time involved with the rental process. That said it doesn’t have to drive you to pull out your before finding a great tenant. Here are a few tips to help you manage the leasing process so that it is an enjoyable experience for both you and your tenant.
Schedule Your Showings Accordingly
When it comes to scheduling your showings, schedule them in a way that makes your life as easy as possible. As opposed to scheduling your showings every day at varying times, try to schedule a block of showings on only one or two days of the week. This will allow you to keep your schedule outside of this process somewhat regular and stable. It is suggested by many in the field to schedule showings in 1-hour blocks and about 15-minutes apart. If you find that you have too many potential tenants to fit into a schedule like this, you might want to consider doubling up on showings – meaning having two potential tenants as opposed to a single one viewing the property at one time. This shows a high demand and will provide you with the ability to turn down lowball negotiations.
Prior to meeting with a potential renter, have them pre-qualify over the phone. This will save you time, stress, energy, and gas money and will help to ensure that you are only showing the home to qualified applicants. This means that when someone calls wanting to schedule a showing, you let them know that you have to ask them a number of questions to make sure that the property would be a good fit for them, and them a good fit for you. Your parameters may vary, as every landlord has their own concerns and focus points. A few great questions to ask include, what their credit score is, if they have pets, what their job is, how long they have been at their job, as well as what their time frame for moving in is.
Prepare The Property Ahead of Time
Once you have pre-qualified and confirmed your appointment it is the time a make a great first impression. Arrive at the rental property about 5-10 minutes early to turn on all of the lights, fluff pillows, open the curtains, and to do some last-minute dusting. These are the details may seem small in the overall process, however, they make a huge difference. Imagine that you are a potential renter, what would you want to see, how would you want a house to appear, how would you want to feel upon arrival? In the 5-10 minutes that it takes to primp the house will allow the potential renter(s) to focus on the positive features of the home.
Keep Your Safety in Mind
As much as you mind not want to think about is every year realtors, landlords and property managers end up getting hurt - sometimes fatally, by people who they were showings houses too. For this reason, it is recommended that when you receive an inquiry about your rental, you ask for the person’s full name so that you can run a quick background check on your state’s public record website.
Appreciate Constructive Feedback
When the showing is over, casually ask the potential renters what they honestly thought about your property. As the landlord, you want to hear both the good and the bad. Positive feedback is a great thing, but you want to know the negative feedback so that you are able to make adjustments and changes where needed in order to make the house more appealing to potential renters. Sometimes the negative feedback is simple and can be easily addressed, but other times it will be items that you really can’t control. These items might include the size of the house, location, or parking. If you receive negative feedback try not to take it personally, and whatever you do, do not argue with the renter. Their opinion may be completely different than yours but in the end, they are potentially the ones that would be living in the home. If this happens, simply thank them for their honest feedback and let them know what you’d be willing to, or can do to address and counteract their concerns.