Being a property manager can be many things; fun, challenging, exhilarating, frustrating, & some day’s downright nasty. Kind of like Minnesota weather! One of the best things you can do as a property owner/manager is find good people. It really starts and stops right there. Good people to work with, good maintenance staff, but most importantly good people to live in the properties.
The name of the game in owning rental properties is making money. Why else are we doing this, right? Well if you can place good tenants in your properties the money floods in. Why? There is, little turnover, which means no vacancy. There are responsible people living in the places, which means the property isn’t getting wrecked. You are getting paid on time so you don’t need to waste time, energy and resources tracking down the money. And when they move out your turnover costs aren’t exorbitant, because they respected the house. All of these things add up to low headaches and heavy wallets.
Well you say, “How do I do that?” That, my friend, is the million dollar question! And to a large degree a difficult question to answer 100% of the time. I’ve placed hundreds of tenants over the years and some I’ve been very fortunate in some cases and not in others. I have got better though and here are some things that I consider each time I’m evaluating a tenant:
- Do they show up on time for a showing?
- Are they respectful to me, their family, and others?
- Check references – Call the landlords. Sometimes what they aren’t telling you is important! Make sure to have a good conversation with them. Be friendly and see if they will open up.
- If you can meet the applicant at their current residence it is good to see what shape it is in. That will give you a good indication of what your place will look like! Even if they are moving. Is the place orderly, boxes stacked neatly, are they cleaning up around them, etc.
- Ask for referrals from your tenants in good standing. This doesn’t work all of the time, but we have found great leads from our existing tenants. For them to put there neck on the line to refer someone they are invested in the results.
- If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Try to find excuses they won’t work out. If there aren’t any they are a good fit!
- Talk to a colleague or someone in the business about a certain applicant if you are having trouble qualifying an individual. Most of the time just talking about it out loud helps you verify your thoughts & concerns.
- Don’t settle just to fill a property!
Most of these are common sense, but when you are sitting on a vacancy and need the income, do you make the right choices? Sometimes the worst decisions that I’ve made have been because I’ve ‘needed’ to fill a place and settled on who I chose. It almost always comes back to bite me in the tail!
Finally, I would say the best way to save money is to keep good tenants in your properties. Try to meet with them and see what they like about the property. Ask them if there was one thing that could be improved what would it be. If the fix is reasonable consider making the improvement. If they leave, consider the vacancy and turnover costs and weigh that versus fixing an existing problem that might improve the property as well. One step further, if a good tenant gives notice I would advocate that you have a good conversation with them and understand why they are moving and see if there are things that can be done to keep them. Again, same as earlier, if you can make the corrections and keep them I think that it will pay off.
I hope this helps…GOOD LUCK!