Many of you have heard all of the stories in the media about terrible tenants. The media likes to sometimes sensationalize these stories, however what you never seem to hear stories are the stories about great tenants who take great care of our properties.
Wouldn’t you like to be part of that story? Us too, and part of the reason we created Welcome Home Management. In fact, it’s the #1 reason why a lot of people don’t get involved with rental properties – the fear of dealing with bad tenants!
But what a lot of investors fail to realize is that tenants (or as we like to refer to them, residents) are our customers, and in fact, they are paying down your mortgage which your property continues to appreciate. Not a bad investment, right?
By keeping good tenants happy, they will likely refer other good tenants your way. Our Management company has experienced this many times before and it makes the tenant placement process a lot easier. However, you won’t get the good referrals if you’re slow to make reasonable and necessary repairs, or otherwise falling short on your duties as a landlord. Sure, you can get away with it for a while, but you’ll ultimately see the quality of your tenants and your properties decline—and consequently, your rental income.
Showing residents that they’re appreciated may cost a bit out of pocket however, treating others how you want to be treated creates longevity among your residents. With today’s market, you’re in fierce competition with other landlords as well as home sellers and their real estate agents to keep good tenants in your units.
How do you do it? Simple!
Here are 5 cost effective ways to show residents you appreciate them:
1.Leave a welcome letter and a small gift basket: Place this on the kitchen counter when new tenants move in. When tenants renew their lease for another year, you can repeat this gesture by sending a kind note and a small gift basket.
- Jump on the chance to make repairs: It’s your property you’re repairing, and you almost never save money by waiting. Tackling a request faster than expected is also a great way to differentiate yourself from a lot of landlords. It may not be the sole reason that they renew; but on the other hand, many landlords have lost tenants and suffered vacancies because they were slow to handle repairs. Stay well-capitalized so you don’t have to break a sweat over unexpected repairs, and always budget at least 5% of your property’s value for repairs per year.
- Replace an aging appliance: You don’t have to wait until the tenant moves out to put in that brand new refrigerator. If you’re planning on doing the replacement anyway, go ahead and do it now. Why would you invest in making the unit more attractive to future tenants without first trying to keep your current ones? A new or upgraded appliance can be a noticeable quality of life improvement–and it might just be the tipping point for them to renew their lease over looking for a new place.
- Track tenants’ birthdays and key anniversaries, and send them a card or a small gift: A gift card toward dinner at a local restaurant goes a long way in making tenants feel special, as does the simple act of commemorating days that are significant to them.
- Give a small gift card to your local grocery store right before major holidays: Just $25 will always be appreciated (and put to good use).
Remember, all of these expenses are just that; business expenses, which can be written off against your rental income. You’re not just a landlord, but a business owner and your residents are your customers. If you put the resident at the forefront of your decision, you will do well in this business.
If we can ever help handle these types of things for us, our team is willing to assist.