As a landlord, you're all too familiar with the process of finding a tenant. Even if you have multiple interested parties, you want to make sure you connect with the right person. On the other hand, you don't want to lose out on a lot of rent money to continue your search.
Perhaps your best option, then, is to do all you can to keep the great tenant you have now. You can't change their mind if they're moving to a new city, buying their own place or making another permanent life change. However, you can make your digs more desirable in the meantime, so they stay until they absolutely have to go.
Here's how to do it.
Provide the Perks They Want
Every renter will have a different set of must-have items in a rental, whether it's a parking spot, washer-dryer or updated finishes. You won't be able to please everyone, but you can spruce up your place so it offers as many of these pluses as possible.
Aside from the aforementioned updates, consider the perks many renters will request when signing a contract. Storage space, reduced pet fees or the ability to personalize the place are all bonuses that might sway your tenant to stick around longer.
Discount Their Rent
Once you've found the perfect tenant, you can keep them around for a solid year or more by providing special rent rates. You might cut the amount they have to pay each month, or minimize the security deposit they offer on top of first month's rent.
You could also give your tenant a credit for one month's worth of rent. It's up to them to use it wisely — for example, they could put it into a separate account and self-prorate it to reduce their monthly payments year-round. No matter how they spend it, they'll be happy to have it, and even happier to stick around knowing their landlord is making it a great deal for everyone.
Write Your Lease Right
As a landlord, you're probably familiar with lots of property-related legalese. Unfortunately, your tenants might not speak the same language. It's up to you to bridge that gap so everyone's clear on the terms of the lease you're agreeing to and signing.
In fact, clarity is key to ensuring your lease is legally airtight. On top of that, you'll want to keep detailed records of the unit's condition and share exactly where you'll put the security deposit. Note any repairs you won't cover, and remind tenants of the activities you won’t allow on your property, too. You've found a great tenant, so you probably won't have to worry about this part, but it's a good protection for you to have.
The property and its cost aren't the only selling points your tenants will be weighing. As a landlord, you can also be a pro or con, depending on how attentive you are to your renters' needs.
The best way to create that reputation is to be helpful and prompt when your tenants reach out about an issue. If you haven't heard from them in a while, don't be shy to touch base to ensure everything's in working order. It will impress your tenants, of course, but it could also save you money down the line. You'll get ahead of any minor issues that could become major ones in the future.
Welcome Them to the Neighborhood
It's the little things that will really touch your tenants. When they move in, make sure you're there that day to answer any questions about the property. They will appreciate your presence even more if you bring along a welcome package to make them feel at home.
You can and should tailor this gift to the person moving in. Most people will appreciate a bottle of champagne or a stack of local takeout menus — in fact, those will probably come in handy as soon as the moving-in has finished. For families, cookies or other treats for the kids will make a great impression, too. Just make sure your selections are equal parts informative and enjoyable. Information and snacks, anyone?
Finally, it should go without saying, but you're a big part of the reason a tenant would choose to stay. So, make sure you're as kind as you can be to your tenants. Help them out, but also give them privacy. Make them feel like your home is theirs for however long they live there.
All these tips will undoubtedly make an impression on your tenants. And, unless they need to move on for personal or financial reasons, the many positives you've put into practice will inspire them to stay longer — it's a win-win situation for both of you.
Author Bio: Holly Welles covers real estate topics for the up-and-coming renter or homeowner. She runs her own blog, The Estate Update, and can also be found dishing up advice over on Twitter @HollyAWelles.
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