The secret to success is a rental that generates consistent, reliable income. Whether you’re an experienced rental property owner or getting ready to rent out your very first property, you need to be prepared to rent it in a timely manner. Moreover, you need to rent to tenants you can rely on.

The property rental process can be a little overwhelming, but there are a few simple steps you can follow to make the experience a lot easier for yourself.

Step 1: Prep the unit

This might seem obvious, but a lot of property owners don’t take enough time to prepare the unit for showings with prospective tenants. First impressions are incredibly important. Make sure your prospects are impressed by what they see at your property!

If your property has a yard or any landscaping, take the time to clean things up, mow the grass, pull weeds and get rid of any branches or debris that are lying around. Invest in a thorough cleaning inside the unit and make small repairs as necessary.  A simple coat of paint can also go a very long way to help an otherwise tired looking unit seem fresh and clean again.

Step 2: Do your paperwork

For many property owners, paperwork is the most dreaded aspect of the rental process. But, it’s also one of the most important. You need to have application forms, lease agreements and additional forms that you might need later, including eviction notices. Since the laws and regulations governing tenant paperwork and documentation vary depending on the location of your rental, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional who is familiar with the rules in your province or state.

Step 3: Set your price

Choosing the right price for your rental unit requires careful thought, research and consideration. You want to make sure the rental rate for your unit is enough to cover all of its expenses and bring in a reasonable profit—but you don’t want to set the rate so high that you scare away potential renters.

Start by researching rental units in your area similar to the one you want to list on the market. These listings can give you a better idea of what renters are willing to pay for units like yours. And, it’ll help you ensure you’re getting a fair rate for your property rental.

Step 4: Focus on the ad

The right ad can be the difference between an extended vacancy at your property and a unit that gets an overwhelming response as soon as it hits the market. Start by perfecting the content of your ad and getting excellent photos, then use a variety of platforms to spread the word about your property.

Let your family members and friends know about your vacancy, put a sign out in front of the property, list the rental on community bulletin boards and use multiple property listing websites to ensure that you reach the prospective tenants that you are looking to attract to your property.

Step 5: Meet the prospects

After you get some responses from potential tenants, you will need to set up a time to meet prospects and give them a tour of the property. If you manage to generate a lot of interest, you can have an open house so that several prospects have the opportunity to tour the space at once. Make sure to bring plenty of application forms to the showing, so prospects can get started with the process after viewing the unit.

If you have the time to do one-on-one showings, try to schedule them on the same day. This means not having to go back and forth to the property over the course of several days. Be sure to confirm appointment times directly with prospects to reduce the number of no-shows.

Step 6: Vet and choose tenants

No matter what kind of impression a tenant makes when you initially meet them, you need to take the necessary steps to thoroughly vet them.

First, review the tenant applications that you receive to look for any red flags. Pay attention to a prospect’s rental history and employment background, since these factors will inform whether a tenant is reliable and able to meet rental obligations.

After evaluating the rental application, run a credit check to verify the information a tenant provides on their application. Next, reach out to a prospect’s references to find out more about them and whether they will be reliable renters.

Respect the process to get results

Nobody wants to miss out on potential profits, so it can be tempting to fill your open rental as quickly as possible with the first prospect who applies. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to result in more trouble than it’s worth. By taking the time necessary to find a reliable tenant, you’ll enjoy long-term benefits and avoid the headaches of a problematic renter.

Monika Jazyk, Rachel Oliver and Gillian Irving are the “The Mothers Of Real Estate” aka MORE. With almost 30 years combined experience and over $100M in deals across multiple strategies, new investors have been turning to MORE for comprehensive real estate fundamentals training since 2016. For MORE information and to register for the online course, click here.