Closing the Lease Deal: How to Turn a Prospect into a Tenant

Posted by Teresa on July 27, 2010 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentRead the First Comment

tenantscreeningblog.comAccording to MPF Research, the apartment rental market is showing signs of improvement, as the vacancy rate declined from 8.2% to 6.6% in the first half of 2010.

That’s good news for landlords. Perhaps you’re already seeing an increase in the number of prospective tenants viewing your rental properties. If you’d like to fill your vacancies fast, this might be a good time to review our tips for selling a good prospect on your rental unit. Don’t let a good tenant go just because you failed to close the deal and get a signed lease!

Remember, there is more to renting an apartment than the unit itself. People want to feel good about where they live. Highlight the following:

  • Good communication with owners or management: let the prospect know how well you handle interaction with tenants. Examples of great communication include 24/7 emergency availability in case of emergency, a stellar call response policy, and active listening—which starts the minute you meet the prospect.
  • Demonstrated level of professionalism: when you’re on time, your documents are in order, the unit is clean and ready, the grounds are professionally maintained, and you have the statistics to back up why your property is the best, who wouldn’t feel good about living there?
  • Location: make it your mission to know every business and attraction within a 5-mile radius. Letting the prospective tenant know there is a dry cleaner, grocery store, library, park, and coffee shop close by could seal the deal.
  • Amenities: even if you don’t have a first-class gym or on-site laundry, list the amenities you do offer. Things like water-saving fixtures, low-VOC paint, professional landscaping and free parking are good news to many good tenants.

When the prospective tenant shows signs of interest, be proactive and close the deal. People sometimes have a hard time making a final decision, so it’s up to you to help them:

  • Have a lease application ready. Never show a unit to a prospect without one.
  • Get a commitment: ask them to complete the lease application.
  • Let them know you only want the best tenants, so there will be an application fee to cover paperwork and required tenant screening.
  • Your goal should be to collect a signed application, first month’s rent, and security deposit at the same time. Let the prospective tenant know if they do not qualify, the rent and deposit will be returned.
  • Remind the prospect that you are showing the rental unit to additional prospects and you cannot hold it without a deposit.

You don’t have to be pushy. If you have a good prospective tenant who needs a great apartment, it’s just a matter of putting the two together. As the rental property owner, it’s your job to make this win/win situation happen!

3 Reasons to Retain a Tenant in Your Rental Property

Posted by Teresa on July 23, 2010 under Housing Trends, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenantscreeningblog.comRegardless of the economy or the rental market, it is always a good time to retain your tenants. To keep tenants from moving out, some landlords have been offering incentives like free cable and even large-screen TVs to go with them. But is it really worth it to invest that kind of cash into keeping tenants?

Actually, yes. Savvy rental property owners know that keeping tenants is a good idea. Here are three reasons why you should retain tenants when possible:

1. Empty units cost money. Whether or not a rental unit is producing income, it is costing you money.. Mortgage payments, taxes, maintenance, lawn service, and sometimes even utilities continue to chip away at your cash reserves, while It could take one, three, four months or longer to find an acceptable new tenant. Why not do what you need to do to keep a current tenant in place?

2. Turnover is costly. There are a number of expenses associated with turning over a rental unit to a new tenant:

  • Advertising
  • Management fees for finding a new tenant
  • Installing new carpeting, flooring, or paint
  • Repairs
  • Damage each time furniture is moved in and out
  • Lost rental income during the changeover
  • Tenant screening

Landlords are better off delaying these expenses as long as possible. You don’t want to incur these costs before you absolutely must. And don’t forget—the time needed to complete the changeover to a new tenant is lost rental income, too.

3. Reduced rents: It’s all about perception. A full building looks like a good place to be, and frequent tenant turnover looks bad. If your tenants are regularly moving out of your rental units, it can affect the rent you can charge. Think about the impact on potential new tenants if, each time they do a drive-by look at your apartment building or 4-plex, there is a moving van out front—and it’s not being unloaded. Potential future tenants will get the impression that nobody wants to live there, and the value of your rental will decline. Stability means desirability, which means higher rent.

Whether it means giving lease-renewing tenants a DVD player, a restaurant gift card, or free cable upgrades, it is usually worthwhile to invest a little to keep a tenant happy and in place.