Whether you’re putting your rental property in the hands of a Jacksonville property management company or self-managing, knowing the best practices for operating your investment property for optimal profitability is invaluable.
There’s a lot to think about, from securing good long-term renters who will take care of your real estate investment to dealing with maintenance issues that can pop up at any time. In reading today, you’ll discover the three critical pillars for successful property management: finding the right residents, communicating successfully with residents, and dealing with maintenance requests.
Plus, you’ll find some insider real estate owner tips to help you avoid financial loss and even enjoy being a rental property owner! So, let’s dive in.
How to Find the Right Tenants
You might have heard some nightmare tenant stories that will send a chill down your spine. To ensure that you don’t deal with terrible resident situations, follow the steps below to find the right renters every time.
Become an Expert Marketer
Finding the right residents begins with the search and how you market your investment property. When marketing your property, be sure to cast the net far and wide to reach a large pool of potential applicants. The more potential applicants to choose from, the higher the chances of finding the perfect tenants for your property.
You can do this by:
- Advertising digitally on relevant channels such as spectrumrealtypm.com, craigslist, realtor.com, and other online property and rental sites
- Contracting a realtor or property manager who can do the marketing and screening on your behalf, allowing you to choose from an approved checklist of high-quality renters
- Spreading word of mouth through pre-existing contacts
- Advertising in print, such as in local papers and property publications, or creating flyers for local community areas
When presenting your property, it is essential to take professional photos and write honest descriptions. Many property managers also recommend adding video content to a listing to give potential renters a virtual ‘tour.’
Research (Then Research Some More)
When it comes to finding the perfect residents for your rental unit, research is the name of the game. After creating a list of potential residents, we can’t stress enough how vital a rigid screening process is when securing residents. Be sure to carefully outline your criteria based on the key points below and keep in mind any updates to the tenant screening process.
Some things to look out for when screening potential renters include:
- Proof of income and employment (a generally accepted rule is that income should be three times the monthly rent amount)
- Evidence of prior on-time rental payments
- Evidence that previously occupied spaces were cared for
- No history of bankruptcy
- No history of evictions
- No prior credit issues
- Trustworthy referrals from previous landlords
- Nothing troubling from a criminal background check
If this is too much trouble or you’re worried it might be a big task, this process can be outsourced to a trusted property management company.
Communicate Clearly and Openly
Clear and open communication sets the standard for an ongoing property owner-resident relationship. Some good communication tips include:
- Being open and transparent about pricing by knowing what to charge for rent (a fair rent price will generally attract a broader range of potential renters)
- Documenting and itemizing everything
- Setting dates and deadlines for documents with clear expectations about things being on time
- Being available and responsive
- Ensure the lease is reviewed and understood clearly by both parties
Although friends and family can be an excellent word-of-mouth resource when finding residents for your property, a property manager will recommend that you avoid renting to friends and family. It’s often challenging to enforce the rules (including on-time rent payment) when allowing friends and family to rent a property—which could negatively impact the property itself or your earning potential—and put you in an awkward situation.
How to Communicate With Your New Tenants
Once you’ve found your new residents, creating a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship is essential. Look at some of the tips below to foster positive property owner-resident relations, including:
- Have a clear move-in checklist to show good faith and willingness to create an accommodating space.
- Establish clear lines of communication through various channels such as email, text, and phone calls.
- Follow up on questions from tenants and prepare notes of what was discussed during each interaction.
- Thank them for timely payments.
- Go the extra mile by remembering birthdays or special occasions.
- Send alerts or notifications when visiting the property with sufficient warning.
- Abide by legal obligations such as a lead paint disclosure.
Quick, open, and honest communication is the foundation of the new landlord-tenant relationship, so always bear this in mind.
Dealing With Maintenance Requests
A natural part of being a real estate investor is dealing with maintenance requests. Be sure to keep the following key points in mind when dealing with a maintenance request.
- Determine the extent of the damage and respond quickly.
- Decide if it is a fix you can do yourself or whether it will require a professional tradesperson.
- Maintain close relationships with skilled vendors.
- Determine a cost budget that can be based on quotes from experienced professionals.
- Be aware of the deadline to fix the problem. For example, in Florida, it is seven days. After this point, your renters could terminate the agreement.
- Honor your responsibilities under the Warranty of Habitability. A rental property owner must ensure that their property complies with basic living standards, e.g., working windows, maintaining structural components, and more.
- Follow the usage rates of essential appliances to preempt maintenance issues before they become a severe problem.
Having a standardized maintenance tracing system, either self-made or through an online service or app, can help you keep track of all issues and avoid miscommunication. As a final point, keeping money aside for unexpected problems can help deal with the financial burden as these issues arise.
Consider a Jacksonville Property Management Group
Becoming a property investor can be an exciting—but sometimes nerve-racking—venture. As the flood of duties rolls in and your to-do list keeps growing, you might feel the pressure to handle everything on your own.
One of the top ways to release the pressure and ensure you’re providing a quality resident experience is to contract the services of an experienced property management group. Spectrum Realty Services can help you through every step, from maintaining resident relations to monitoring maintenance issues and more. Reach out to learn more about our property management services!
Get more expert tips for operating rental properties! Download our free “Expert Guide to Rental Property Management.”