One key to profitability is making your rental property as attractive as possible to the best tenants. Knowing what tenants want helps landlords fine-tune that strategy.
How do you find out what tenants want? Published trends, available for both national and local markets, are a big help. But the trick is to discover what renters think about your property. The best way to do that is to ask.
You may be surprised how much information you can gather simply by asking the questions. There are many opportunities to do that, from the application process through the term of the lease.
Here are six examples:
1. The first phone call. Before you get into the details, ask what the caller is looking for in a property. Track all of the responses. The applicants who don’t apply for your vacancy are telling you as much as those who do.
2. Chat with the prospective tenant during the property tour. Listen to what this renter is saying they like and don’t like. When someone says they’re not interested, find out what doesn’t work for them. Ask those who do like the property to highlight what they see as the best features.
3. Keep a master log of all tenant complaints. Over time, you may see patterns emerge, and that can guide your property management decisions.
4. Consider using free survey tools like Survey Monkey to keep in touch what tenants want. Another easy approach is to offer printed surveys that tenants can return. Tenants love to weigh in, and to feel like their opinions count.
Ask questions that are relevant, but avoid stirring up controversy. Examples of survey questions can include how well management is doing, smoking preferences, paint color, flooring or appliance options for upcoming renovations, or best use for common areas.
Be sure to share the results with the participants. This is a good way to stay present in the day-to-day management, and in the process, discover interesting trends.
5. Renewal time is a great opportunity to speak to tenants about individual preferences. Find out what they would want in order to renew the lease, or why they are not renewing.
6. An exit interview is a crucial tool for discovering what tenants want. This can represent the best information because an exiting tenant isn’t as likely as a current tenant to hold back their opinions.
Use as many of these methods as practical, tracking the results over time. Reference this information when making property management policies, or decisions about upgrades to your property.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.