As people weigh up their housing options in an increasingly volatile economic environment, many of them are choosing to rent instead of buying. This presents an opportunity for Australians who are looking to diversify their portfolio and invest in real estate. You may be new to this and wonder how difficult it may be to retain quality clients, to safeguard your investment and pay rent on time. Most experts agree that retention is the most important element, so what can you do to keep people around for the long term?
Why It's Worth It
Firstly, you should consider why it's important to retain clients rather than going through the "churn." Whenever you have to bring new people in there can be quite a lot of expense associated, as you have to go through a screening process while this happens. Also, the property is almost certain to be sitting vacant for a certain amount of time over this transition.
One of the first things you can do when you're happy with a new tenant, is to leave that all-important first impression. Spend a nice amount of money on a valuable housewarming gift. If you like, you can leave it on the countertop for the moment they first walk into the apartment, or if you want to go even further, then you can deliver it yourself. Try and figure out something that would be practical for the new homeowners and it doesn't have to be a significant cost.
Once you've allowed to settle in, offer them the opportunity to earn some referral money if they can recommend high-quality tenants for your other places. After all, if you really trust a new tenant then it's likely that they will only recommend people who will be good prospects, as well. It will be worth you putting up a significant offer so that they can be motivated to actually do something. You might want to consider taking half off next month's rent as an example.
When holiday time rolls around make sure that you do something for all the tenants in your community. This can be a barbecue when the weather is warm, or a special Christmas activity.
Ease of Accounting
Don't make it hard for your new tenants to pay you. Some landlords require a physical presence at an office and even an antiquated form of payment such as a check. Allow them to do this digitally and set this up with a property management company to handle it all on your behalf. It'll be much better for your cash flow, as well.
What Happens in an Emergency?
The mark of a good landlord is their ability to act quickly in the event of an emergency. It's vitally important for you to take care of issues as they arise and you should never make your tenants feel as if they have been hard done by. It may be a good idea, therefore, to allow for a penalty clause, if an issue is not cleared up promptly.
Making the Most
All of these ideas should help to endear you in the heart of new tenants and ensure that you make the most of your investment in that rental property.