Owning or managing a rental property has plenty of perks, but virtually everyone will agree that the leasing process can be a headache. Advertising availability, holding open houses, taking guests around the property for tours and the complicated background checks necessary to conduct before signing a lease are nobody's idea of a fun time. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management says that some landlords fail to recognize how much of a hassle - and how expensive - this process can be until a long-term tenant has already moved out.
Long-term tenants save landlords a lot of money. How? Think about all the time and work that goes into attracting a new tenant. You'll have to write up a new lease, advertise the vacancy, correspond over phone and email with prospective tenants, pay for repairs and maintenance to upgrade a unit that may have fallen behind the times and conduct interviews with folks interested in renting.
Even when you hire a quality property manager, this process takes time. Instead, knowing the worth of a long-term tenant can save you money and stress. The less turnover you have in your community, the less work you'll need to do and the less money you'll need to spend. But how do you convince long-term tenants to stick around?
Happy tenants are tenants who feel taken care of. One of the main reasons good tenants leave their rental is because of frustrating experiences with the management. Be proactive and check in with tenants regularly, not just when something has gone wrong. Have a positive attitude when dealing with complaints and go above and beyond what is expected of you to solve problems.
Keeping rent increases to a minimum can also help you keep long-term tenants. Unless you have made significant improvements to the rental or community, dramatic rent increases make it hard for tenants to justify staying another year - especially in competitive markets. While cost of living increases are understandable, it's important to keep rent increases reasonable. Reward long-term tenants with discounts when possible. After all, you want to reward loyal tenants, not punish their dedication!
Treating tenants with respect and kindness can go a long way and pay off in big ways. Handle issues with professionalism and you'll see more and more of your tenants staying long-term! That's not just good manners, that's good business advice.
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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