Landlords and renters share a trait that makes us human: anxiety. We all worry that we might not be good enough. As a landlord you might worry nobody will want to rent your property, and as a renter you might worry nobody wants you as a tenant. In this post we will go through some tips on how to stand out, how to be sought out and how to happily rent or rent out a home for an extended period.
This section is a few tips on how to be desirable as a landlord, not only as a person, but through the way you present your property. Think of your property as a business in which you sell stable living. This is how you sell yourself, your home, and hopefully gain a good reputation along the way.
Keep a clean house
Cleanliness is a must for all homes, whether you’re a landlord or tenant, clean your house. Specifically for landlords though, you should always find a way to keep your property in its best condition for current and future tenants. It never hurts to have your property professionally cleaned before having potential tenants see it for the first time. We understand a professional clean is an added expense for something you might be able to do yourself, but it is a small price to pay to have your house look immaculate and it saves you time. If your property is carpeted consider having that professionally cleaned it will make your carpet look new and get rid of any potential smells. This professional clean also goes for any furniture you may have there for similar reasons. Doing this is a great way to also check your house for things like mould.
Fix cosmetic issues
Cleaning is one thing, but physical issues are another. Take the opportunity to make your house look new. Start literally from the ground up and review your flooring. Consider a switch to carpet, floorboards or tile depending on what else you might want to change. The choice in flooring might reflect a potential new paint colour in the house, maybe new curtains or new lighting. Before doing any of this you will need to make sure to fix any of the smaller cosmetic issues, so be on the lookout for any dings and scratches on your walls or on wood or ceramic flooring, as well as doors and cabinets. Electrical and plumbing is something people don’t look past. Make sure your light switches and power points are still in good order, over time light switches can become faulty. Test all your taps and drains. Make sure there are no clogs or leaks. If you think it’s needed, you may want to replace tile grout. If you don’t replace it when it needs replacing, you could be looking at water damage and mould while you have tenants; this will look very bad for you as a landlord and leave you more at an increased financial loss.
Upgrade whatever seems out of date. If you are renting out a furnished house you will need to take the age and condition of the furniture into account. People won’t want to rent a poorly furnished house, and sometimes even a professional clean can’t fix it. Australian summers can be punishing. If you don’t have air conditioning, get it. If you do have air conditioning but it’s old, upgrade it to something newer and less costly on bills. If the property is a full size house I recommend ducted air conditioning. If it is a house you’re renting out you should also put solar panels on the roof. Doing this could increase the rent value while also cutting power bill costs for the tenant.
Kitchens can be the life force of a home and make a chef out of a person who hates cooking, but it all comes down to functionality. One of the things that keep people out of the most is space and the condition of the oven and stove. If your kitchen is on the smaller side it isn’t an issue, you just need to arrange the kitchen to give the illusion of space. You can do this by giving the kitchen the largest amount of counter space, and if possible, an island never hurt anyone. You can make the most of a kitchen by where you place things. Think about making a little microwave cave in a cabinet above your counter. Replace cabinet doors with handles and finger grooves. But most importantly, upgrade the oven and stove. If a person has the functional space they need, they will make the most of it. Upgrades are a necessity and the road to a happy tenant.
The front of your property will invite people in, and the back of the property is where your tenants will entertain their friends. For a house or apartment I would suggest giving the option of gardening to the tenant, however, when they eventually move out the property will be stuck with a garden the next tenant might not want. If your tenant would like to garden or grow vegetables, advise them to purchase a wooden gardening box. This is something that can be used in a home or on an apartment balcony, and when the tenant moves, they can take it with them. You will also need adequate lighting, especially for a balcony. An apartment is the likeliest rental for people these days, and they will still want to entertain and get outside without leaving home. A well lit balcony is the perfect place to get fresh air and entertain.
Know what you’re looking for in a tenant
Knowing what you’re looking for in a tenant is usually pretty standard: financially secure, clean, trustworthy and respectful. The reality is that most people will do a massive clean within a few days of their rent inspection, even if they’re already clean freaks. Picking the traits you want in a tenant should reflect the home itself. Maybe you property has multiple rooms and bathrooms and is near schools, so it would be ideal for a young family. It could be that same house but near a university making it ideal for student housing. Factors of location, amenities and weekly rent are all different factors in choosing a tenant; simply picking someone with the most money might not be the best plan for your property as that person could easily just leave after a few months when the lease is up. Pick someone who will stay.
Be respectful of tenants
Things will go wrong, accidents happen and sometimes you will need to roll with the punches. By this we mean that sometimes you might find the rent hasn’t come in, which could have been a bank issue with direct debits, or the tenant broke a window by accident, or some other bad thing has happened. These things happen sometimes, and it might be the tenants fault or it might not, either way, unless they’ve driven the car through the house or burnt it to the ground, give them a chance to rectify the issue… unless it happens multiple times. Then you have a bad tenant. But until bad things happen too many times, be respectful to your tenants. When they move they could spread the word that the house is great and the landlord is great to deal with. If you own multiple rentals then a good reputation is a big plus.
When choosing a property manager you need to make sure that they are in a position to manage as you would. Going through a realtor will give you the option to meet the property manager and decide if they’re a good fit for you, your property and your future tenants. Don’t be afraid to request meetings with multiple property managers before you make your choice, and don’t be afraid to turn any of them down. This is business and you have to do what is best for you, your property and tenants. So when choosing, try finding someone who is professional, a good communicator and willing to keep your best interests in mind.
As where a landlord has to sell themselves and their home, a tenant has to sell only themselves. Once you start renting a home it becomes your responsibility. You need to make yourself come across as someone who is capable, responsible and stable. The tips in this section also apply to dealing with property managers.
Applying to rent a home isn’t a completely formal thing, but it is a good idea to clean yourself up. Your appearance to a potential landlord is a sign of respect. Make your best effort to be presentable. Sometimes being prepared isn’t just about the way you look, but the way you act, So prepare any questions you need answered and ask them as clearly as possible.
Be aware of the landlord’s desires when it comes to pets. The unfortunate thing about pets is that they can be noisy and destructive (even if they are the cutest things in the world), and when looking for a home you will need to make sure the property in question allows pets. If you do have them you will have an easier time finding a place that allows them as lying about them could be a breach of your rental contract. And don’t make assumptions if you see a little door for animals on the back door. Just because it looks like a home that allows pets doesn’t make it so.
You may get shy or nervous around new people. Fortunately most people should understand your nervousness and from there the best you can do is be yourself. We recommend the three C’s: cool, calm; casual. Once you get the home you will need to keep this up with your landlord. Just because you live there now and you have a contract doesn’t mean you should bite the hand that feeds.
When meeting a landlord, you have to be on time. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time meeting them or the fiftieth, punctuality is something that will always work in your favour; it shows that you’re responsible and respectful of each other’s time.
Have a good record in other properties
You could be renting a property for a number of reasons. You may have just moved to the state, you may be saving a deposit to buy a home, you might just be passing though; either way, you will want to have a good record as a renter or property owner. When you apply for a new rental you should ask your former landlord or property manager to be a reference for you.
None of us dream of renting a mansion, we dream of owning it, but if you’re renting instead of buying then you need to be able to rent within your budget and apply for properties that best suit your needs. When applying you will also need to be prepared to pay a bond when you get the property, so have moving money saved in advance.
Becoming a tenant isn’t easy; neither is being a landlord trying to fill a property. But the goal is for everybody to win. If you’re a landlord you really just have to keep the property up to date and be good to your tenants. The better the condition of the property, the more likely you will get the financial return you desire, and the more likely you will have long term tenants. If you’re a tenant then be sharp, honest, comfortable and responsible. And look for properties that suit your individual needs and financial situation, even if you don’t think you’re trying to rent a property not meant for you, the landlord will.