As a landlord, you’re trusting tenants to take good care of your property. The ideal tenant is punctual with rent, communicates well, and respects your home and the neighborhood. A bad tenant, however, can take a real estate investment from passive income to massive headache.
While it can be hard to tell exactly what kind of tenant is arriving at your open house, there are steps you can take while advertising that ensure high-quality responses. Remember that tenants are also looking for someone they can trust, so the more honest information in your advertising, the better. Here are our tips for how to create rental listings that attract the best tenants.
Craft a compelling listing
Quality tenants are looking for as much information as they can get to make an informed decision. The listing for your property is your first chance at making a strong introduction.
Much like products for sale, you need to employ some marketing techniques to catch your tenant’s eye. Don’t be afraid to use words like “spacious,” “luxury” or “comfort” if you feel they apply to your property. Your listing should include the following information:
•Price: It’s important to be upfront about what you’re expecting for rent, to make sure your tenant can afford it. Detail what the price includes, like water or heat. Include any price variables, like pets or parking.
•Bedrooms and baths: Be realistic about what’s available. If it’s technically a three bedroom, but the third room should really be used as a den, list it at two. Be honest about bedroom and bath sizing, too.
•Amenities: What are the perks of living here—a pool, covered parking or upgraded appliances? Advertise them! The more appeal your property has to renters, the more good renters will be attracted to it.
•Map: Teach prospective tenants more about the neighborhood where they’ll be living. Include local attractions in the listing, and any nearby schools or hospitals.
•High-quality photos: This is the best marketing tool – see below!
Take high-quality photos of the property
Show off the beautiful property you’ve purchased by giving prospective renters the chance to envision themselves in the home. Smart tenants will avoid listings with few or no photos. The less information you provide, the more cause you have to wonder why a tenant is interested in your place. To improve the photos in your listing, follow these basic steps:
•Use a quality camera: Smartphone cameras are increasingly advanced, but a DSLR camera can make an even bigger difference in your photo quality.
•Clean the house: It should go without saying, but many listings feature construction in progress or capture the current tenant’s mess. Set aside some time to properly clean and stage the home, preparing it for a photo shoot.
•Let in the light: Plan to take photos during daytime, when natural sunlight is optimal. Flash, lamps and other artificial light can make the room look smaller and photographs look grainy.
•Take plenty of photos: If you’re going through the trouble of staging the home, make sure to take as many photos as possible. You may not use them all in this listing, but may still need them for future reference or later listings.
•Try multiple angles: Let tenants see how the home flows by showing the different doors, windows and hallways connected to each room. Experiment with standing on a chair or sitting on the floor to achieve the best possible view.
•Don’t mislead with photos: You’ll lose a quality tenant if the house listed is not the house they find. Don’t use tricks like putting up mirrors or wide-angle lenses to make rooms look bigger. If you’re including photos of areas not part of the listing, be sure it’s labeled.
Time your listing
Listing your property four to six weeks before it will be vacant is an ideal time frame for finding a quality tenant.
If you advertise your listing too early, you may lose a great tenant because he or she needs to find a place sooner. Advertise too late, and you may get a tenant who’s in a hurry to move due to poor planning or landlord issues. You’ll also risk having a vacant rental and missing out on income, forcing you to take whatever tenant you can find.
Advertise in multiple places
Between Internet rental sites and good old-fashioned print advertising, there are plenty of places for prospective tenants to find your property. A couple of popular ways to share your listing in addition to websites include:
•Yard signs: Post a yard sign advertising the property is for rent. Include the number of beds and baths, rent and a contact number.
•Community boards: Find your ideal tenant wherever they are—on campus, in a coffee shop or at church. Post a one-page flier with a photo of the property, details and contact information.
•Referrals: If you already have a fabulous tenant moving out, ask them to refer an equally fabulous friend. You can even offer an incentive to friends or colleagues who find you a new tenant.
Tenants are an important part of your real estate investment. Just as you want the best in every other aspect of home buying, you also want the best caretakers for your property. Attract the best with a great listing.