The unit will often dictate the kind of tenant appropriate for the property. For example, a 1600 square foot detached home is most likely going to attract a family, whereas a studio will attract a single person.
Finding the balance between who the renters are and who you want to rent to will determine a number of things. Once you know the tenant you're attracting, you can evaluate whether or not your suite has what they'll be looking for. Should you upgrade? Divide your rental house into smaller units? Lower the rent? Raise the rent? You can always add features or change your tactics.
Writing your listing
Most renters will not take the time to ask you about your property. This means you need to put everything they may want to know on your listing. Items such as: security deposit amounts, amenities included, washer/dryer access, parking availability, dates available and smoking or pet restrictions must be included.
This is in addition to the obvious description of the property, room count, and local attractions. You have to assume that the reader is from out of area and knows nothing about the house or the location. The more information you can provide, the more they will feel they know the property and that you are not trying to hide anything. You can’t rely just on the price and location of your property
Getting your phone to ring is the first step in finding tenants, but that is only the beginning. You may think that showing the property and answering any questions is a hassle, but it is only part of being a landlord. Even if there are pictures in the listing and you answered most of the questions, renters need to be reassured when the see the property. This is where they are going to live for the next nine months or so. They will want to feel comfortable with you, in addition to the property.
If you come across as someone who is just trying to get in and out of the house as quickly as possible, your tenant will sense that and move on to somewhere else. You should spend more time showing and explaining the property than you do with preparing what you are going to post online.
Differentiate your property
Look at the neighborhood and then go one step better. Anything that will make your unit stand out and compliment the neighborhood should be considered, a few ideas are:
· Try painting your units a soft tan and the ceiling and trim a bright white. It creates a custom look while still being neutral.
· Depending on the unit, a TV installed over the fireplace will really create that wow factor.
· Add a spa tub
· Shrubs for bare areas that look out of place
First impressions are critical! Make sure the unit is ready to rent and show before you advertise.
Screening the applicants
Proper screening is very important in finding the right tenant for a unit and it’s important to follow the Fair Housing Guidelines to avoid discrimination.
Create a “Rental Criteria” List. This will make the evaluation process much easier. Your criteria should address issues such as: Bankruptcies, eviction filings, positive reference(s) from prior landlord(s), and a sufficient income ratio. Although having a tenant with a perfect record is everyone’s ideal, many perfectly good candidates will have an occasional event that was beyond their control.
Make sure the application is current and addresses all your criteria. The application must be completely filled out, legible, signed and dated. Review the application line by line with the applicant present, if possible. You will also need to obtain documentation to verify identity, employment and income of the applicant(s).
Verify their employment
You should call the employer, but consider not using the number provided by the applicant. Find the number yourself using an internet search. When you call, are you greeted with the company name? If so, ask to speak with the HR department or individual that handles employee verification. Once you have a person from HR, make sure to document their name and ask them to verify the following:
· Is the applicant currently employed at this company
· What was their date of employment
· Employment status (full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary)
· Does the SSN number match
· Current salary
The HR department will most likely ask for written permission from the applicant before they supply this information.
Verify their identity:
Take a copy of the photo I.D. Compare the picture with the applicant. Also, check the signature and the date of birth. If the address on the ID is not listed on the application, ask why.
· Some things that indicate an application might be fraudulent:
· No photo ID
· Social Security Number discrepancy
· Incomplete rental application
· Unable to provide original documents
· Inconsistent address history
Run a credit check
Your application should request permission to run a credit check on the applicant. You must have permission in writing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). A credit report contains a goldmine of information. Things to look for:
· Bills paid late
· Financially overextended
· Tax liens and bankruptcy filings
· Other credit inquiries
· Length of credit history
Don’t reject applicants, instead just choose the applicant you wish to have as a tenant. I know it sounds strange, but if you reject an applicant, you have a responsibility under the FCRA to provide the applicant with:
· A written notice
· The name, address and toll-free number of the consumer reporting agency who provided the report
· Notice of the right to obtain a free copy of their report
· Notice of the right to dispute with the reporting agency
Property management companies
Being a landlord can be rewarding, but it also can be a lot of work. Though you should know the ins and outs of being a landlord, you should consider using a property management company to do the bulk of the work for you. They will take care of a lot of the work, such as:
· Basic maintenance
· Screening the applicants
· Preparing a unit
· Collecting rent
· Finding tenants
Who we are
"As a property manager in Portland, Oregon I have had the opportunity to help many people find rental homes. There is one thing that not only I believe sets HSH Property Management apart from their competitors, but that owners, tenants, and prospective tenants have told us is that we add a personal touch to our service. We genuinely care about the people we are serving and working with to ensure that everyone has a pleasant experience. For owners, finding someone who will care for your property the way that you would isn't easy to do. For tenants, finding someone who cares about your experience in your home, not "just the bottom line" is also difficult to do. The key is, HSH not only has a brain, but also a heart. It's when these two concepts come together that harmony is made. When you care about the people you work for, they in turn care for you and your property. It's a win-win situation. Let us work for you!" - Shauna Carter - HSH Property Management
Contact us today and find out how we can help make being a landlord easier on you.
Ph: (503) 305-7204
Fax: (503) 305-7365