One of the questions I get asked a lot is how to find great tenants. Over the years I have refined many techniques to develop a solid system to find good tenants frequently, without our clients spending any money on advertising. This is accomplished through leveraging technology to create and distribute great “for rent” ads.
Here is what I suggest:
- Take great pictures– Use a good digital camera, make sure everything is well lit and highlight any special features. Make sure all turnover maintenance, landscaping and cleaning is done beforehand. Don’t take pictures when it is raining or overcast, these never come out good. Pick a bright, sunny day to make the property show well.
- Write great ad copy – Include the basic information, features, special offers, and contact information. Highlight any amenities and services included such as pest control or pool and lawn maintenance. Detail nearby schools, parks and entertainment. Use descriptive, delightful words, have a clear reason for why the property is special and a “call to action” for the future tenant to be able to quickly schedule a viewing. The title of your listing should highlight any special offers and should also be “search engine friendly” by using keyword phrases in the title. If a common local search phrase in Google is “ Lutz houses for rent” your title should say -Beautiful Lutz House for Rent (First 1/2 month free!).
- Create a great ad- you can take your photos and copy over to Postlets where you can create a clean and professional ad. It is free and easy to use.
- Target your market–Prospective tenants are looking online to find their next residence, they are no longer taking the time to drive around neighborhoods or check the local newspaper classifieds. To rent most of our properties all we have needed is a good ad on CraigsList. This should be the cornerstone of your advertising, but also focus on where your prospective tenants are. Do your research, most cities have their own directories such as BradentonRent. If you are trying to rent a student property, list on student housing websites, if you are have a vacation rental, list it on vacation websites, etc.
- Distribute it – Although most sites do not get much traffic, you will increase your chances of being found on search engines. Postlets will submit your listings to several sites including Craigslist (most popular), Google Products (makes your listing easy to find by submitting directly to the dominant search engine), Front Door, Oodle and more. Here is a list of some other sites I have found useful:stumblehere – addstoall.com – metrowny.com – adpost.com – usfreeads.com – highlandclassifieds.com – kijiji – backpage – sonicexpressmail.com – bluehint.com
- Update frequently– Post new versions every Friday evening as this will keep your listings at the top of websites and capitalize on the heavy weekend traffic. If you are not getting many calls, sometimes small changes to your ad can make a big difference.
- Follow up with prospects and schedule viewings quickly- Make it convenient for prospective tenants to view the property and have all paperwork ready to get the application process started.
- Be flexible– review all offers and be willing to negotiate, in most cases you will make more money annually by renting out the property for $50 less than what you wanted, rather than have it sit vacant for a month.
- Thorough Screening– The standard in the business is to at least do a credit check, background check, verification of employment (VOE) and verification of rent (VOR, if applicable). This will allow you to see their payment history for debts, if there are any criminal records, the ability to pay the rent and their pay history with previous landlords. Thorough screening enables owners and landlords to make educated decisions about who they lease the property to.
- Set expectations– Educate your new tenants on their responsibilities. Make sure they have a clear understanding of the terms of the lease and how to handle payments and maintenance requests.