Landlording & Rental Properties

The Speech You Should Be Giving to Every Single Tenant Moving Into Your Rentals

Expertise: Personal Development, Business Management, Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Flipping Houses
125 Articles Written

You’ve dreamed of owning your first or second (or tenth) rental property. The exhaustive search of dozens, if not hundreds, of properties brought you down to the top two or three, and you made an offer. You get the price worked out, the negotiations for the perfect house are done, and the deal is locked down. The inspections have a few snags, but you work through those, too. Maybe termites are found, or maybe there are some minor plumbing issues to deal with. You talk it through with your agent, your partner, your spouse. Everything is either worked out, deal-with-able, or you simply already knew it was an issue.

The title company sends you an email, and the closing docs are ready. Your private money lender or banker call, and they say they are ready to fund the deal (or you are ready to just send the wire from the cash stash you’ve been saving up). And voila! Your deal is closed.




Now what?

Rehab time! We do a serious rehab. We want to do everything we can (within reason) to bring the value of our property to 95-100 percent of its maximum potential ARV (after repair value) while staying in our buying and equity capture criteria. If you are going to buy a rehab house and then make all the needed repairs to create a home for someone to live in, you must think carefully about how you are crafting the picture your future tenant is seeing.

Related: 12 Tips I’ve Learned From Screening Close to 500 Prospective Tenants

Whatever picture you paint through the kind of rehab you perform, the quality of materials you use, and the skill they are completed with will be equal to the kind of tenant you will attract.

This doesn’t mean you need to put expensive tile on the kitchen floor or install the super-plush, amazing carpet in the bedrooms. It just means you need to be conscious of your product from a standpoint of what the outsider will see and feel when they walk into your property.

So, you did all that stuff. You made your house awesome. The contractor has finally finished up, you've put the final touches on all the paint, and fixed the few little cleaning things the maid missed. A few nice-smelling seasonal diffusers are plugged into the walls, giving off a cinnamon spice scent or whatnot, and bam, you go to market your property for rent.


Of course, you poke through the various competing properties near yours, and yours is definitely the nicest. The pictures of your property look amazing, the write up about it is great and gives the facts the tenant needs to know, and the whole description gives a good and real overall picture of the property.

The flood of emails and calls starts coming in, and you start booking appointments to get your new potential tenants to see the property. One by one or two by two, they walk into your property.

“Man, this place is beautiful.”

“Johnny’s bed could go right here.”

“Dad’s grill would be PERFECT on this awesome deck.”

Ah yes, they are picturing their perfect place to live, and you are just about tasting the money finally rolling IN instead of OUT.

There are a handful of folks who come in and out of the property and then hand in applications. Out of the group of showings come several great candidates, and all have met the initial financial requirements, so you ask to run their credit, background, and rental histories. And of course, they oblige.

Think Back to What You’ve Done So Far

So, you researched your home before you bought–the neighborhood, the rents, the ARV when you’re done. Then you spent your money buying the house. The best contractor you knew or found was hired, and you spent more money, time, and research. And then, after all that, you spent more time and money cleaning your house and preparing it to be rented.

Related: 6 Simple Tips to Help Keep Your Tenants Happy (& Paying)

You've called the perfect applicant and explained they have met all your criteria, and you would love to have them as a tenant in your property. You've worked out the lease details, received deposit you requested, and completed whatever else there was to do. They agreed with every detail, and you guys talked through a move-in date and a time to sign the lease. It's all working out.

Here’s the Part That’s So Important

You BETTER tell them exactly your expectations. Here’s my well-rehearsed speech.

You: Joe and Betty, I’m so excited you guys are going to be renting from us, and 123 Main St. is an awesome house, right?

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Tenants: Yes.

You: Great. There are just a couple things I want to make sure are 100 percent clear. As you can see, I’ve put a lot of time, energy, and money into this home, and you love it because it’s beautiful and well done, right?

Tenants: Yes. The kitchen is so beautiful. It’s the nicest home we’ve seen.

You: Exactly. And we want to keep it that way. Here’s my job: We rehabbed it and fixed its problems, and I will be here to take care of any issues you have with the house. And you have two jobs: To take care of this home, YOUR new home. And two, TO PAY ON TIME. I want to make sure it’s abundantly clear to you that we have ZERO tolerance for people who don’t pay their rent on time. Our policies are laid out here with our late fees and how you could get evicted if you don’t take your part seriously. Are we clear on this?

Tenants: Yes, yes we are clear. We will pay on time.

You took all the time in the world to get your property ready and prep your contract with what you wanted.. You better make sure you do the same thing for your tenants. It doesn’t mean you will never have an issue with a tenant who doesn’t pay on time, but it DOES mean you’ve made sure they understand the rules.

You do what you say you’re going to do, and you hold them to the same standards. Real estate is an awesome business. Make sure you keep up with what is happening, start to finish, buy to rehab to rent–and beyond.

How do you communicate with your tenants when they move in? What’s your move-in or lease signing speech?  

We want to hear it. Leave a comment below!

Nathan Brooks is the co-founder and CEO of Bridge Turnkey Investments, a Kansas City-based company renovating and selling more than 100 turnkey properties per year. With over a decade of experience in real estate, Nathan is a seasoned investor with a large personal portfolio and a growing business portfolio. Just last year, through Bridge Turnkey Investments, he helped investors add over $12 million in value to their real estate portfolios. Nathan regularly produces educational content to fuel his passion for helping other people learn about and find success in real estate investing. He has been featured regularly on industry podcasts such as the BiggerPockets Podcast, Active Duty Passive Income Podcast, Freedom Real Estate Investing Podcast, Fearless Pursuit of Freedom Podcast, Titanium Vault, The Real Estate Investing Podcast, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, the Good Success Podcast, FlipNerd, Wholesaling Inc., The Real Estate Investing Profits Master Series, Flipping Junkie Podcast, Flip Empire podcast, Think Realty Radio, and more. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and can be found on stage regularly at events across the country.
    Adam Schneider Lender from Raleigh, NC
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Nathan, What incentives do you build in to incentivize tenants to pay on time?
    Brian Long from Oceanside, California
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Heard this great idea of giving tenants a lottery scratcher for x amount of consecutive on time payments.
    Karen Rittenhouse Flipper/Rehabber from Greensboro, NC
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hi Nathan: We tell new tenants to plan on an hour in our office to sign their rental agreement because we go over it in detail when they sign. It doesn’t have to take that long, but I want them to know immediately that we take this seriously and they should, too. We then sit and read it to them, highlighting important things like the way evictions are handled and that if their toilet backs up, they need to call a plumber. They don’t call the office because we don’t live there and we didn’t back it up. There’s lots of conversation letting them know that this is now their home and they are responsible for taking care of their property along with us. Also, the state gives them 5 days to pay rent so, on the 6th, we will send them a letter letting them know that the eviction process has begun. I always say, “but I realize that won’t apply to you because you’ll be paying on time, right?” Naturally, they agree. We offer many ways to pay including online and automatic bank drafts so there is never a reason for late pay. Your article is right, up front understanding is of primary importance. If they come back later and say they didn’t know something was policy, I photocopy their signed and initialed contract and send them the highlighted part to refresh their memory. 🙂
    Mark Graffagnino Contractor from Atlanta, GA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great post. Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. I’ve always gone through the lease terms and how the late fee and eviction process works. But starting with my next tenant I will be using “I WANT TO MAKE THIS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR…..ARE WE CLEAR ON THIS?” Thanks Nathan.
    Lorraine Hadden PT Investor from Palmdale, California
    Replied over 5 years ago
    To be honest, I’ve never even had a conversation with tenants …. I have an addendum/attachment to my rental docs that spells out the condition of the property prior to move in and our expectation that the property remains in that or better condition during the ENTIRE rental period. Next, re: not paying on time….rent is due on the 1ST OF THE MONTH…the day following the grace period, if the rent isn’t in my hands, a NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT is given to the tenant. They either pay or that puts them on notice I will will IMMEDIATELY start the eviction process. There is no issue!!!
    Lorraine Hadden PT Investor from Palmdale, California
    Replied over 5 years ago
    To be honest, I’ve never even had a conversation with tenants …. I have an addendum/attachment to my rental docs that spells out the condition of the property prior to move in and our expectation that the property remains in that or better condition during the ENTIRE rental period. Next, re: not paying on time….rent is due on the 1ST OF THE MONTH…the day following the grace period, if the rent isn’t in my hands, a NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT is given to the tenant. They either pay or that puts them on notice I will will IMMEDIATELY start the eviction process. There is no issue!!!
    Ayodeji Kuponiyi Investor from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I can relate to this post. This past weekend I just welcomed my new tenant’s into 1 of my units. Prior to them moving in Saturday, I emailed the lease for them to review so that if there’s any questions, they could ask on the lease signing date. On the signing day, I go through the entire lease & addenda with them. They sign and initial and I welcome them to their new home and remind them about paying rent on time & keeping their home clean.
    Luka Milicevic Rental Property Investor from Nashville, TN
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Nice post and I will be adding the “speech” part in future lease signings. What I do when tenants move in is I have a “welcome package” waiting for them when they walk in. It has basic things like toilet paper, dish washing detergent, hand sanitizer, etc. Along with this package is a short letter reminding tenants that late fees are STRICTLY enforced and there are simply no exceptions. This is after going over the lease and reminding them verbally. I like to mention it a couple of times and I also give them tips on how to make sure they pay on time and I eliminate as many excuses as possible. I accept personal checks, so what I do is on my welcome letter; I tell them to mail the check 5 days before the first. If I receive their check lets say on the 28th, I won’t cash it until the first. I also give them 11 stamped and addressed envelopes (if their lease is 12 months). That way all they have to do is put a check in the envelope and drop it in the mailbox. Like I said, I try to eliminate as many excuses for late payments as possible. The speech on them taking care of your property is great. I will be adding that to my initial conversation with the tenant when they sign the lease.
    Curtis Yoder Rental Property Investor from Tulsa, Ok
    Replied over 5 years ago
    One of our tenants could not ever seem to pay on time regardless of the late fees. We offered him a $25 a month rent deduction if he paid on time for 6 months. The $25 a month off would apply for as long as the rent was paid on time, otherwise the rent went back to the original amount, plus the late fees. He has not been late in 8 months.
    Neal Collins Developer from Portland, OR
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Managing rentals for clients required a steep learning curve and each day I push myself to refine our model by learning from others. Your speech brought to mind one thing that no one yet has touched on. It’s not having rent paid on time, because that typically isn’t an issue with our rentals. It’s the expectation of repairs. In your speech you said that its your job to fix any issues with the house. This sounds completely logical and normal, but is this actually the best thing to say? I’ve found that there is a training period when tenants move in. You either train them so that they learn you aren’t there to jump when they say jump, or they train you. Time is the unforgiving element I management in my opinion, and there is nothing worse than being called on an “emergency” to the property only to find out it could have waited or the tenants could have fixed it themselves.
    Robert Edwards from Bradenton, Florida
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thankyou for the posts everyone I have learned a lot.
    Russell Brazil Real Estate Agent from Washington, D.C.
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I need to train my tenants better