Articles

The Best Ways to Find Tenants for Rental Property

by APSense News Release Admin

No matter what the condition of the residential rental market, there is always competition for the best renters. If you don't think you need high-quality good renters, you've never had bad renters. A bad tenant can wear a landlord down and discourage them from even being involved in rental properties. Taking the time to attract and screen the best candidates for your rental property is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success as a landlord.

Start with the condition of the property

The best quality renters want the best quality rentals, this is why it's important that your rental is in good repair, clean, and odor-free. All the promotion and marketing in the world can’t make an undesirable property more appealing. A well-maintained, clean property also goes a long way in setting expectations for potential renters. 


You can use one of the many available Home Maintenance checklists in order to make sure you don't overlook anything important. It's difficult to disguise a home with deferred maintenance, It's okay if a home is out of date but dirty, grungy, and worn down are big red flags for good renters. Good renters will say nothing about the condition while many bad tenants will say “that’s ok, we can deal with it”. This is because they don’t have many options. As a landlord, it’s important that you don’t make property condition your weakness.


Landscaping is another important aspect, while renters are not looking for extravagant landscaping, they are looking for usable space. This means some grass, low maintenance plants, trees, and bushes. Once again, if the yard shows signs of neglect and consists primarily of dirt and rock, you're probably not going to attract the best renters. 

Marketing

Once you have your house in order so to speak, it's time to document your rental’s best attributes so you can start the advertising process. Start with great pictures, it's wise to get the highest quality images possible, we suggest professional photography. Think of it as an investment in our rental, these photos can be used for each subsequent vacancy.


Videos and virtual tours of the property are also valuable assets. Both of these tools can provide renters with a clear idea of just how your rental lays out as well as room sizes and the overall scale of the property. This is also a great tool for renters that aren’t local.

Advertising

Once you have compiled all of your assets, it’s time to start advertising. Most of the rental marketing activity now takes place online. Local newspapers are still a good resource for getting the word out about available rentals, just not in the same way they used to be. Local newspapers have online classifieds and ads which many renters use to find available rentals. 


Rental websites are the most effective way to market available rentals today. These sites aggregate information from local Multiple Listings Services, property management software providers, and private landlords. These sites are effective because the information is up to date, and communication between the landlords and potential tenants is fast and efficient. 


These sites will allow you to upload multiple photos as well as virtual tours and videos. There are a growing number of sites available for independent landlords to use, here are a few of the most popular sites. 

  • Zumper - Innovative rental website that allows landlords to post vacation rentals as well as screen tenants. 

  • Rentals.com is a complete network of rental sites including Rent.com live lovely.com and apartmentguide.com 

  • Trulia

  • Rentable.co

  • Zillow


If you want to extend your reach, you might consider using a property management company. There are a number of different sites they have access to that you as a private landlord won't. Additionally, a property manager can take care of screening along with the day-to-day management and repairs required of the property. 


Word of mouth is the oldest form of advertising and in many cases the most effective. Think about the number of times you’ve heard about someone looking for a place. This kind of networking and information spreading is simply human nature and can yield great results.


Social media has actually become a popular place for tenants to look for rentals. Facebook uses their Marketplace pages to allow private landlords to post their rentals.


Social media works as a modern-day word of mouth. If you put it out there, you just might find a great tenant this way.


Post a "For Rent" Sign at the Property, while this one seems obvious, it’s surprising how many landlords don’t do this. Renters drive neighborhoods in order to get a feel for where they want to live, having a sign just makes getting renters that want your neighborhood easier.

Process Inquiries 

Once your property hits the market, you should start to receive inquiries. It’s important to respond to these immediately, consider putting together a standard email response that gives the basic information a renter needs. This is also a great opportunity to share your qualification expectations with prospective renters. Disclosing your standards and expectations immediately will reduce the applicant pool to only the most qualified renters. Here’s a list of items to include in your initial email:

  • Address

  • Rental Rate

  • Deposit Amount

  • Pet Policy

  • Proof of Employment

  • Income to Rent Ratio

  • Minimum Credit Score

  • Background Check

  • Eviction Check

  • References to be checked


This list is a good starting point and should convey to all prospective tenants what your expectations are. If you send out this list and have followed our advice on property staging, condition, and assembling your marketing materials, you should end up with a small group of good candidates. Next, these potential renters will need to see the property.

Show Time

You are going to need to let prospective tenants into the property to see it in person. This means scheduling and executing showings. While this seems like a simple process, you’ll need to schedule time, be prepared to answer questions, and have an application process in place. If the prospect likes the property, they will most likely ask for an application.


It’s important to fight the urge to choose a tenant based on how you “like” them. Remember that most people can be likable, especially when they want something. I have shown countless tenants whom I’ve genuinely liked, only to find out that based on their credit score, they have apparently never paid a bill. 


It’s also important that you treat all prospective tenants the same, it’s the right thing to do but it will also keep you out of trouble when it comes to Federal Fair Housing Laws. 

Screening

This is where the real work of finding good tenants begins. The rental application should have provided you with all of the background information you will need. Now is the time to do the detective work required to determine which of the applicants are going to be the best fit for your rental. 


The easiest way to screen applicants is with the assistance of a property manager. They have the resources and experience to quickly screen multiple tenants. Screening should be a standard part of what any good property manager does but make sure it’s a part of their offerings before signing up. Some property managers will offer a menu of services without requiring you to use them for all aspects of managing the property. For example, some managers with help with tenant acquisition, placement, screening, etc…


If you can’t find these services, there are a number of online services and apps that can help with screening. One of our favorites is Spark Rental’s Landlord App. No matter how you do it, it’s important to screen all tenants and to do each one the same way.


It’s also important to avoid the urge to interview prospective tenants. This is a business arrangement so It really doesn’t matter how you feel about them personally. All that matters is if they meet the standard you outlined in your initial email to the prospects. Tenants today have a good sense of what their credit looks like thanks to services like Credit Karma and others.


Interviewing can open you up to problems down the road, especially with the prospects you rejected. Avoid the hassle of dealing with the hassle involved with disgruntled prospects by keeping it all about the screening process, you’ll be glad you did.

In Conclusion

Finding great tenants for your rental property can be a lot of work but it’s worth it. If you’ve ever had a bad tenant, you know this is true. In residential leasing, you will usually be leased for at least one year and in many cases, longer. You need to make sure that your tenants are going to do what you expect, which includes taking care of the property and paying rent, on time. 


Following the steps we have outlined in this article will give you the best chance at successfully finding a great tenant. It’s also important to state that even the best screening done by the most experienced screeners yields a difficult tenant but this shouldn’t stop you from trying.



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Created on Feb 28th 2021 11:36. Viewed 678 times.

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