Want long-term renter & how to get new renter in day or two after last one leaves

10 Replies

I'm trying g to learn and fix the mistakes I've made in the past and need some advice.

1. How can I rent to someone who will stay more than one year? My rent is fair, the house is well kept up, it's in a nice neighborhood.  Each renter leaves for different reasons.  How do I choose one that will stay for a while?

2. I want to move new renters in as soon as possible after my current renters leave the end of May. How do I screen people before I show them the house? I don't want to disturbe the current tennents by  showing the house many times.  I also don't to show the house to people who are not qualified. 

3. The way I find renters is to put a "For Rent" sign in the yard and includes in a box with info. flyers.   I always get a good response. Is there a better way to get the type of renters that I want?

Hi Susan,

Welcome to BP!  I am not a property manager, but heres my experience.

1. you can't choose a renter who is going to stay for a while, I have done in the past where if a renter gives me a notice and I really liked them as tenants, I've discounted the rent $25-$50 depending on the area to encourage them to stay, market rent and the time they're leaving (its easier to find tenants in the summer than during the school year where I am at), some have stayed, some still left.  I figure the $25 loss a month is better than having a tenant leave, repaint, clean, and any other maintenance that needs to be done, not including trying to find a good tenant to replace that person.  It is always cheaper to keep a tenant than to get a new one

2. Have your tenants fill out an application and if they're serious do a background/credit check and income verification, show them pictures of the property (when it was vacant) and let them know for the privacy of my current tenant I am only showing the property to prospective tenants who will qualify for the property.  Then if all their paperwork checks out, schedule a walk through and have them pay a deposit as soon as possible to hold the unit for them, otherwise you will go to the next qualified applicant.

3. word of mouth, craigslist, tenant referrals are all free.  I've had many tenants who were happy to stay at my properties recommend others who moved in without any problems.  next thing would be ads in the paper but that costs money. 

Good luck!

Sandy

You can try and get a 2 year lease signed. This is no guarantee they won't break it but it is worth a try. If using this approach, ask for first and last months rent and consider offering them a small discount if they fulfill the lease terms.  If and when a tenant states they want to vacate early, I give them written permission to break the lease without penalty. I spell out in the notice they must give notice at least 30 days in advance and that the property must be vacated in move in clean condition. I was successful in getting $100 more in rent moving in a replacement tenant in one instance and got $175 more from a new tenant in a different property. I didn't lose one days rental income when they broke the lease, we stayed on good terms, and I was able to get more money from the new tenants.  When you get an excellent tenant, do what you have to (within reason) to keep them!

There is a lot going on here.

First you really cannot get someone to stay for a year. All you can do is sign a lease, with a designated time frame. month to month, 6 month, yearly ect. Along with that especially with the longer leases you can add a clause that if they break the lease there will be a fee. You have to check your states lease laws to verify how much, and when and how you can assess this.

Second, how are you screening your tenants?

Do you do background checks? Have them fill out prequalifying applications?

Third is where is your property?

Is your property near a college? Commuter area? How is the neighborhood? Have you checked if your rent is too high? or too low? Is there anything that would make a prospective tenant want to move after a while? I know if it were near a baseball field with lights shining in my home during the summer, and I didn't know it when I moved in It may be a factor of me wanting to move. It wouldn't hurt to ask why they are moving.

Of course we would all want seamless turnovers, but its not always possible. The property needs to be cleaned, repairs made if needed.

I don't like showing the property if there are tenants, drive bys only, with the words do not disturb the tenants on any ads. I would think it should not take longer than a week to paint if needed, clean, shampoo carpets, bug spray, landscaping if needed, to turn it around. Longer if there are damages or time to replace carpet or appliances ect.

I also have learned so much! I have some bad habits that I am resolving and treating this more like a business. The biggest thing is ive learned that I am a Landlord first they are the Tenant. I can be friendly and I will go out of my way to help if needed, but I try to keep it professional, I am not their mother, or sister.  It is a fine line and we have to be aware of it.

I hope to hear how it works out and please keep posting!!

Originally posted by @Susan Pompea :

I'm trying g to learn and fix the mistakes I've made in the past and need some advice.

1. How can I rent to someone who will stay more than one year? My rent is fair, the house is well kept up, it's in a nice neighborhood.  Each renter leaves for different reasons.  How do I choose one that will stay for a while?

2. I want to move new renters in as soon as possible after my current renters leave the end of May. How do I screen people before I show them the house? I don't want to disturbe the current tennents by  showing the house many times.  I also don't to show the house to people who are not qualified. 

3. The way I find renters is to put a "For Rent" sign in the yard and includes in a box with info. flyers.   I always get a good response. Is there a better way to get the type of renters that I want?

 The best indicator of a tenant who will stay longer than one year, is if they stayed at their last place more than one year, and the reason for moving.

So, if you have an applicant who is transferred to a new job (great reason to be moving) and they have lived at their last place for several years, they'll probably stay longer than one year.  

Also if they have kids in school, and your home is in a good school district - coupled with the fact they stayed longer than one year at their last place - they'll probably stay longer than one year.

By any chance is there a problem with a neighbor?  Noisy? Rude?  Your tenants might be leaving because of a neighbor problem.

2. You'll never get people to apply before seeing the place.  Would you?  Think in terms of what would you agree to.

Honestly, it's best to show apartments when they're empty.  People like to picture their own stuff in an empty space, not look at someone else's mess.  Plus, your current tenants' stuff is at risk of being stolen, and you'll be on the hook.  And your current tenants might not be cooperative, and sabotage your efforts.

3. If you put a for rent sign in the yard, people will bug your current tenants.  Bad idea, in my opinion.  Again, pretend you're the tenant.  Would you want for rent signs on your current home?  People looking in the windows?  Knocking on the door?  Letting themselves in the backyard for a gander?  And yes, they'll do that.

Advertise on Craigslist.  Put your criteria in the ad.  When they call you - (and I advise having them call you, so you can hear them - are they screaming at people in the background?  Sound drunk? Rude?  You can learn a lot by talking to people on the phone) go over your criteria with them again on the phone and ask them if they qualify on each count.  Good credit?  No evictions?  Good landlord references?  Make 3 times the rent? No pets? No smoking?  Etc.  You'll weed out a bunch more that way, too.

There have been some awesome suggestions thus far.  Hop on the podcasts too - you may find some of your questions are addressed. Also @Joshua Dorkin posted this for you! Two BP guides to help.

I hope that helps.

Two things:

  1. Post on the internet.  CL, any local classified sites, anywhere you can.  Signs and the local paper, in my experience attract the bottom of the food chain.
  2. Videos.  Take a video of the house.  Arrange with your current tenant and tell them that this will reduce showings.  Link to it in all your ads.  We video all of our properties just before move-in when they are at their best.  A year later, we can market without showings on a desirable property.

Wm

Something I do is check for stability in their lives..i casually ask about their job, how long they have been there etc..it's not a requirement, but if someone has nothing to hide, they'll be happy to talk about it..how long they have been at their present employer..

are they married, families tend to stick around longer than single people..are they leasing a car? buying it? these little things paint a good picture on what you're gonna get yourself into with prospected tenants..

Thank you for all of the great ideas and suggestions. Uriel and Sue, I think you both are right about families staying longer. One renter left because she got engaged, current renter got job offer in another city out of the blue. If you have a family, you don't want the kids to go from school to school.

It's an older, quiet area. I lived there 16 years and most of my neighbors are still living there. It's within walking distance to good schools and parks. Most people want to move in on the 1st. If I wait until it's empty, it will sit empty for most of the month. I like the idea of advertising online, I'll have a bigger pool of renters to choose from. Sue Kelly, it is amazing how much information you can get from a phone call. 

My mother had the same renter in the same house for over 25 years!  I'm going to keep learning and plugging away and hopefully I can start having renters that stay longer than a year.  Bigger Pockets is great for all the amazing help that everyone is willing to share. 

Hello @Susan Pompea

Hey Susan, I read one of your earlier posts about trying to get military . A lot of military men and women stay 2-4 years. So here are two websites that will allow you to post directly to military. The website addresses are www.mfsfr.com & www.ahrn.com. These websites may help you get tenants that will stay longer. Don't forget you may have to post 2 months in advance because military is always looking in advance.

There are some tenant screening services that do not cost a whole lot maybe $15-$20. As far as screening for longer staying tenants, you can make sure to look closely at their past performance or longevity of their stays at their prior residences. Their past history will be a good indicator of how long they may want to stay in the future. Another way not to disturb your current tenant(s) with too many showings, is to make sure to schedule all the showings in one day with 15 minute increments between each showing. This will show the perspective tenants there are a lot of people interested in the property and you will pick the best one. Trulia and Zillow are solid ways to advertise that will attract more renters that will hopefully be the type of renters you are looking for. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions. We love to help.

How do you collect rent? We suggest opening a free checking account, giving renters deposit slips, and having them deposit rent right into the account. The tenant will get a receipt. This will help you save time and money, and also the headache of lost checks in the mail.

The video idea is a great one! I will have to adopt that for my own properties. 

One thing you may consider is a declining rent scale, especially if you own the property outright or otherwise have very strong cash flow out of the property. Even if you only lowered the rent $5 per month per year, when coupled with the inevitable inflation of the rest of your market, your place will really start being impressive (financially) against the competition. I know most people here would say that's a crazy idea, but one month between tenants easily wipes out the difference. It really all depends on how badly you want to keep the tenants. 

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