Real estate is a people business. As in any business with customers and
clients, you treat them with friendliness and respect. Tenants and contractors are
no different except you throw in a firm business-like manner with a pinch of
compassion. For some people it is quite an ego trip to own property and be a
landlord. OK, I will admit it is for me, too; however, my advice is to contain your
ego. Represent yourself as a manager for the owner. It is much easier to say no as
a middle person. You cannot be confronted directly. Tenants will say things to a
sympathetic manager that they would not say to the owner.
Tenant / Landlord Relations
Acquiring and keeping good tenants is the key to success. Quick turnovers
are costly and time consuming. Successful tenant management and minimizing
turnovers is accomplished by maintaining a good relationship with your tenants.
Develop a strong relationship by keeping your tenants satisfied. Some hints for
doing this are:
- Remember that a good business relationship is based on mutual respect.
- Show an interest in their lives and needs.
- Keep your word! The fastest way to earn disrespect and loss of
credibility is by not following up on your word. Take care of repairs and
decorating as you have stated. Do not offer something you cannot or do
not plan to deliver.
- Refer to your tenants as residents and as Mr. and Mrs.
- Give residents phone numbers to use in case of emergencies.
I give them my office number since it is a real estate business and my cell
phone number. It has voice mail and alerts me when I have a message, it also
has caller ID in case I do not want to answer at that specific moment. If
there is a problem with one of my properties, I want to know about it
right away. I then call the appropriate person to go and take care of the
problem. Also, give them a list of other important local emergency
numbers including Police, Fire, Ambulance, etc.
- Respond promptly to requests for service. Even if you cannot meet their
demands, let them know where you stand on the issue. Communication is
the key to maintaining good tenant relations.
- Let residents know in advance what they can expect from you and what
you expect from them on items such as rent payment, lease provisions,
pets, complaints, services, etc.
- Respect their right to privacy and peaceful possession of their home.
Give notice and make an appointment when you need to inspect their
Determining Rent Amount
Just as with determining the value of a home, determining rental value is no
exact science. Of course, the nicer your home appears, the more desirable it will
be and the higher rent a tenant is willing to pay. The local newspaper is a good
source to see what other homes in the area are renting for. Making appointments
and going to see what the other homes look like and have to offer is an excellent
way to become familiar with the market. Talk with other people in the area who
may be renting or own rentals in the area.
Realtors can sometimes be helpful; however, selling, not rentals, is their
focus. Rental agencies would be a good source since rentals are their focus. They
should have a good data base of information as a resource for you.
The bottom line is to use your best judgment from the information you have
acquired and put an amount on your home. Keep in mind that you can always
adjust down, but not up. Some people like to set the amount $5 lower than the
closest round number, for example $695 instead of $700. Which sounds better to
Next blog part 2 Finding a Tenant