Attracting and retaining high-quality tenants will help you earn more on your Dallas Fort Worth rental property. So, how do you attract tenants? How do you know they’re well-qualified? And, how do you keep them in place?
We’re breaking all of that down in our blog today, providing some information on what we do as professional property managers in Dallas Fort Worth to identify the best possible tenants, place them in your property, and then convince them to renew their lease agreements year after year.
Tenants are looking for convenience and customer service. When you can provide that, you’ll have no trouble finding and keeping residents.
Attracting High-Quality Tenants
To attract the tenants you want, you’ll need to do three things:
Price your property accurately
The right price point will attract good tenants who know they are likely to be accepted at any property for which they apply. Study the market and price your home according to what homes similar to yours are going for in your exact neighborhood. Consider your property condition and whether you’ve made any upgrades or updates that may add value to your rental amount. Consider the market and your competition. If there isn’t a lot of inventory, you can ask a little more. If the market is flooded with rental properties exactly like yours, you might need to lower your price to attract the best tenants.
Market your property effectively
Good tenants won’t be attracted to your property if they can’t find it online. Make sure you’re taking great marketing photos, writing engaging listings, and providing all the information that potential renters need in order to learn about the home you have available. Then, make sure your property is listed on all the sites that tenants are using to find their next home. Share your listing on social media. Be responsive when tenants call to ask questions or schedule showings.
Provide an easy application process
To find a qualified applicant, you need to require an application of every resident who is 18 years of age or older. Online applications are usually preferred by tenants, and make sure it’s easy for applicants to upload their supporting documents like pay stubs and copies of their ID. Provide a written set of qualifying criteria before anyone applies so they’ll know what you’re expecting from a tenant. This helps you focus your application process on high-quality tenants. If the potential tenants don’t meet your documented requirements, they won’t apply. This saves them money on an application fee and you’ll save time screening an applicant who wouldn’t qualify.
How to Know a Dallas Fort Worth Tenant is Highly Qualified
You don’t want to place any tenant who applies. Set up your qualifying criteria and stick to it when you’re talking to potential renters and screening their applications. The idea is to find a high-quality tenant, which is someone who will pay rent on time, follow the terms of the lease, help you maintain the home, and renew their lease agreement year after year.
Here are some of the things you might look for when screening for that high-quality tenant in Dallas Fort Worth:
You want to make sure your tenant can afford to pay rent every month, so make sure income verification is a part of your screening process. Ideally, your tenants will earn at least three times the amount of your rent. This means that if your rent is $2,000 per month, the tenants can demonstrate that they earn $6,000 per month. It’s perfectly acceptable to combine the income of all tenants living in the home. So, if you’re renting to a couple with two incomes or to roommates, their combined earnings should meet the threshold of three times the monthly rent.
A credit check is essential when you’re attracting and retaining high-quality tenants. Perfect credit is hard to find, but you do want to verify that bills are paid, especially housing-related bills like utilities. You want to be careful of tenants who have outstanding debts owed to former landlords or management companies, and you never want to rent to someone who has an eviction. Check nationwide eviction records to be sure.
One good way to find a high quality tenant is by asking whether they were reliable in the past. We recommend that you ask for landlord information for the last two years, at least. Talk to current and former landlords to find out whether they were good tenants or difficult tenants.
The most important question you can ask a former landlord is this: Would you rent to this tenant again? The answer will tell you everything you need to know about whether this applicant is a good tenant for your property.
Criminal background check
A background check needs to be part of your screening process, and it should be thorough. Make sure you’re checking criminal records from across the country. You want to eliminate any tenants with a history of drug convictions or violent crimes. We recommend that you check the sex offender database and avoid renting to anyone with a predatory past. Placing a tenant with a history of violence in your property will not only endanger the condition of your home; it might put your neighbors in danger, which can create additional liability concerns for you.
Retaining High-Quality Dallas Fort Worth Tenants
Once you have a great tenant in place, how do you retain them? This is important for your financial foundation because vacancy and turnover costs are always going to be higher than expected. Our best advice for tenant retention is as follows:
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Always be responsive, available, and accessible when you’re trying to retain tenants. You won’t have a good relationship if you’re not able to communicate transparently with your tenants. Always share your expectations early and clearly. Tenants become disgruntled when they are surprised by things they didn’t know.
When you’re moving your tenant in, go over all the most pertinent information. Make sure they understand the rent collection policy and how utilities should be handled. They’ll need to know what they’re responsible for in terms of maintenance. You cannot change the lease agreement or include additional rules and restrictions halfway through the lease term. Be consistent, open, and responsive.
Respond to Maintenance Issues Right Away
Well-maintained properties will easily attract and retain good tenants. You cannot ignore repair requests, even small ones. If you’re slow to respond or you don’t take their needs seriously, your tenants are likely to leave at the end of the lease term. Make maintenance a priority, and respond to repair needs with a sense of urgency and respect for your tenant’s requests.
Making routine and regular improvements will help you keep tenants. Good renters want to live in a home that’s attractive and comfortable. Replace out-of-date appliances, make sure the walls have fresh paint, and install floors that are easy to maintain and clean.
Both repairs and regular improvements will reduce tenant turnover and even increase the amount you are able to charge in rent. When your residents get a sense that you’re willing to improve the property and make it better for them, they’ll want to stay. Don’t be shy about communicating the value of the upgrades you’re making to your tenant. This will make it easier for you to increase rent at renewal time. They need to understand that they’re receiving value by living at your property.
Be Strategic When Raising Rent
Most tenants expect that their rent will go up when it’s time to renew the lease. Make sure it’s a reasonable increase, however, and not one that will chase them away. Study the Dallas Fort Worth rental market before you make any rental increases and have some documentation available to show your tenants why the increase makes sense.
Remember to consider the current economic climate as well. Rents are high right now, and they’re continuing to climb. You’re well-positioned to justify a healthy increase. Your tenants know that. So, if you increase the rent but leave a little room for them to feel like they’re getting a deal, you’re almost certainly going to hang onto that tenant.
Make rental increases that reflect the market and your desire to keep your good tenants in place. Approach them a month or two before renewal time to get an idea of what they’re planning to do. You could always offer an incentive to keep them in place.
When you have a good relationship with your tenants, you’re more likely to retain them. Ask for feedback throughout the lease to make sure you’re meeting their needs and providing a positive rental experience.
These are some of our best tips for attracting and retaining high quality tenants, but we’d be happy to provide some more customized advice if you’d like to tell us more about your property and your history with placing tenants. Contact us at Assign Property Management for all of your Dallas Fort Worth property management needs.