For Landlords

How can I attract the best tenants?

1.  Make sure you have the best properties!  When you're showing a property to prospective tenants, make sure that it's clean and fresh.  If you're showing a unit that is dirty or unkempt, potential renters will make the assumption that you're okay with them living that way.  If you have a messy tenant still living in the property and you don't think it will show well, it may be in your best interest to wait until they've vacated and get it back up to snuff.  Save yourself some time by listing more details in your ads. Include the address so

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people can drive by ahead of time.  Include the amount of rent and deposit, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, if utilities are included, any special requirements you may have, etc.

3.  Always do your background checks and reference checks!  If someone has a history of not paying on time, trashing houses, or being evicted - they will do the same to you.

4.  You build a good reputation by being a good landlord!  Treat all your tenants and potential tenants the same; fair, honest, and decent.  Have consistent rules that are consistently enforced.  Remember that it is never acceptable to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, familial status, etc.

How can I be a great landlord?

1.  Be organized.  There is a lot of paperwork, filing, money tracking, etc. involved with being a landlord, so in order to be effective and responsive you need to keep track of it all.  Create a file for each property you own.  Have one drawer where you keep all the information for each property for the current year.  At the end of the year, take all documents from each file, put them in a manila folder, and file them in the larger file for each property. 

2.  Be reliable and trustworthy.  No tenant wants to deal with a landlord that never returns calls, forgets to keep appointments, or is impossible to get hold of.  While you are certainly not required to be on call at all hours of the day and night, it is important to be timely in your responses to your tenants.  Always follow through on what you tell tenants you are going to do.

3.  Be knowledgeable.  You are responsible for knowing the real estate laws and regulations.  It's important that you keep up on all of the latest news and any policy changes.  Being a member of your local landlord association is one of the simplest ways to ensure you're always current.

4.  Be prompt with repairs and maintenance.  When a tenant needs something fixed, the sooner it can be repaired the better.  Small things left unrepaired can easily turn into far larger, more expensive repairs down the road.  Tenants stuck with damaged property, nonworking appliances, a faucet that's been leaking for six months, etc. are a lot less likely to remain your tenants.

5.  Be kind.  Sometimes accidents happen.  Sometimes a tenant is late with the rent one month.  Obviously, you shouldn't tolerate severely damaged property or month after month of late or no rent, but when you have tenants that have established a good relationship with you it's well worth it to be open to working with them a little bit and being more flexible.