One hot topic in the real estate industry is the debate over what it takes to be a great landlord. What approach works best with tenants? How can you succeed as an owner; avoiding headaches, renter problems, and property issues? Some say that playing “bad cop”— being harsh, stern, and ‘in charge’ is the best strategy to win over tenants. Others have developed an excellent rapport with renters by showing generosity. It’s not question that being an able and diligent landlord is a must, but the angle to take is where the debate occurs regarding the landlord/tenant relationship lie.
A point to keep at the forefront of your mind, as an owner, is to always to be responsible and professional. Protect your assets and your family finances. From there, you have a choice on how you will treat the people you do business with and interact with on a daily basis.
People are motivated (more often) long-term, when treated from a place of love and respect, as opposed to fear and intimidation. Your tenants may listen for awhile if you make them afraid of you, but you will probably have a greater peace of mind— and win your tenants over more effectively— if you operate from a place of respect, kindness, and assertiveness.
Many real estate investors find that they have the greatest success dealing with tenants when they deliver service that is ‘above-and-beyond’ expectations. Being a good landlord is becoming more and more of a necessity as renters are faced with more and more options of places to live. If you want to win tenant loyalty, treat your tenants well.
If you want to “wow” your tenants, try these seven simple steps to win renters over, keep them happy, and make you an unofficial ‘Landlord Of The Year.’
Fix Things Before They Break— The saying that, “little things make a big difference” is true in many facets of life, especially in real estate investing. As a landlord, you will face repairs and upgrades, so you might as well make these ‘fixes’ sooner rather than later. Your tenants will think of you as angel and notice how proactive you are. Too many landlords wait till things break and cause significant problems; leading to disastrous results. When you take an active interest in your property and your tenants, it shows them that you care, and in turn, you will reap the rewards.
Make Special Dates A Point To Remember— People appreciate when you remember special events and holidays in their lives like birthdays, anniversaries, and baby announcements. This year we are delivering thanksgiving groceries to ten lucky families that live in the properties we manage. The little things go a long way!
Give Them A Break— Not everyone has learned to be great money managers or renters yet. Be kind and patient, giving people the benefit of the doubt sometimes. People will face unexpected life challenges at certain points, so be as understanding as you can, while still keeping in mind what you need to run your business and be successful. But, it’s ok to cut people some slack every once in awhile.
Return Deposits Quick— If tenants are moving out, most expect to receive a deposit back quickly to help them in the transition. Don’t stretch out and keep any money that belongs to your tenants or former tenants. If they were great renters, hand them back their deposit on move-out day.
Friends & Family Discounts— To win over referrals, do not strictly rely on your efforts and goodness alone to get more people to move to your properties. Offer small discounts for the friends and families of current tenants. If it’s legal in your area, provide a referral or finder’s fee.
Offer A ‘Buy’ Option— Maybe your tenants like where they live and like renting from you, but they are ready to buy their own place. If possible, why not offer them an option to buy? You can structure a deal to be a win-win and give someone the feeling of being a homeowner; PRICELESS!
If you can keep your tenants happy, it will be a win-win combination. When your renters are unhappy, this could potentially cause them to move out at the end of a lease; resulting in a vacant space and costly renovations on your end.
By not going the extra mile (or even a mile) to keep your tenants happy, it will ultimately cost you more money and more time than if you had anticipated and met their needs in the beginning. I’m not suggesting you be a doormat type of landlord with no backbone or lacking an assertive nature, I’m just suggesting that thoughtfulness has the potential to take you far in your real estate investing career.