Attract Excellent Tenants Every Time  

We’ve all heard the horror stories about tenants who stopped paying rent. Upon driving  over to the property to collect the overdue rent yourself, you discover that your wonderful  tenants (a young couple in love) have broken up and turned into a half brother, his new  girlfriend, a few buddies, their 2 large dogs, 3 snakes and 4 birds. They are all “between  jobs” right now, but don’t worry because the half brother will be getting paid Friday from  his construction job which he starts on Thursday. Was the non-payment of rent really the  first sign, or is there something you can do to avoid this situation from the start? 

Many experienced investors will suggest that you did not screen your tenants properly,  that you’ll soon recognize body language or that “all landlords deal with this - it’s just  part of owning rental property.” Although some of this advice may be true, you may want  to ask yourself, “What kind of tenant am I attracting?” 

Much of your tenant screening can be minimized simply by examining the product that  you as a landlord are selling. Your property is your product. Ask yourself, “how does my  product compare to other products? Why would someone buy my product over someone  else’s? Is my product run-down, old and on sale and the only reason people are going to  buy my product is because of price?” If so, then you are going to get “cheap tenants.”  They are coming into your unit with a “cheap attitude.” 

These tenants will often move in a heartbeat if a cheaper unit becomes available down  the street. After all, they can move in an afternoon by getting their friend and his pick up  truck for a case of beer. This tenant will phone you often to change light bulbs, replace  burnt out stove elements and complain about high utility costs. This tenant’s priority is  based on “saving a buck” – just like the landlord who owns this property. The landlord  has put minimal maintenance and care into the type of rental property and the tenant’s  attitude is a direct reflection of its landlord’s attitude. 

On the flip side, if your product is well maintained, stands out from the competition and  offers amenities not offered in other units in the area like laundry, parking, security,  security lighting, manicured lawns and so on, you will attract a tenant who appreciates  these things. 

This tenant sees a property that is taken care of. They respect that and are willing to pay  more because they are getting a clean, tidy, well maintained unit with amenities that  saves them time and money. This tenant will not move in an afternoon. After all, it takes  time and costs money to move. More importantly, who wants to spend time trying to find  a new place, going through rental applications, locating moving boxes and tissue paper  and then packing everything after long days at work. What a hassle and waste of time  to try and save a few bucks. After all, the landlord is great – they maintain the property.  Again the tenant’s attitude is a reflection of your attitude. 

From all the rentals I have owned over the years, the units that have been the biggest pain  in the you know what - have always been the “cheap units” in inferior locations. I bought  them because of a low price and on paper, the numbers looked good. However, after  discovering my cheap ways, I soon upgraded my attitude. 

As a result, my current tenants also have good attitudes and won’t move in an afternoon  when they see a cheaper unit. So, before you buy that cheap rental property, decide what  product you want to offer. After all, your decisions are a direct reflection of the tenants  you attract to your property.

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