7 tips to attract top tenants

Everyone’s idea of the perfect tenant is different, but do you know which tenant best suits your investment strategy? Does your investment strategy benefit more from steady, long-term tenants rather than chasing the highest rental price? Is your property attractive to that group of people? It’s important to know not only what kind of tenants you want in your property (regardless of who they are) but how you can find those people in the deluge of applications you will no doubt receive.

1.    Who are your ideal tenants?

Answering this involves more than saying ‘this is a property for executive couples’. This is about knowing which questions to ask potential tenants. Work out what your ideal tenant looks like, and what you want from their tenancy: would you rather have someone there because that’s where their work is (for time being), or a longer-term tenant who’s looking for somewhere consistent to raise their family? The former might let you capitalise on short-term market gains, while the latter will give you more stability.

But don’t lose the forest for the trees! Your application form should still ask the important questions, like whether the prospective tenants smoke or have pets. If your properties have low income requirements, you’ll need to know whether applicants are eligible before even considering them. Know where your line is and stick to it.

2.    Does your listing speak to your target audience?

Your property listing has to sell the property to the right type of tenant. You might well want the executive couple with a new family, but is your property marketed towards them? If you’re marketing towards families, talk about the proximity to schools and family-friendly entertainment. If you’re focused on working singles or students, talk about public transport access and proximity to the CBD. You should know all nearby features and amenities that might appeal to your target market.

This goes for any photographs that accompany the listing. If the property is a brutalist monstrosity but you’re trying to market it to parents with kindergarten-aged children, you might need to get creative. Pick the best features and emphasise those while giving as little time as possible to the less-attractive ones.

3.    Are applicants who they say they are?

Do your homework! Make sure your prospective tenants are who (and what) they say they are. The current rental market is competitive, so tenants with less-attractive rental histories will often misrepresent themselves on applications. It’s the responsibility of your property management team to ensure that these people are who they say they are, and that what they’re saying is accurate. Make sure your team is willing to check references, call bosses and do credit checks — otherwise you could be stuck with the consequences for a long time!

4.    Make the property as attractive as possible

Again, you need to make sure your property suits your target tenant. Obviously, you can’t substantially alter your property, but there are small quality of life changes that can be made. If you’re looking for families, things like a proper washing line in the backyard or a dishwasher can make a big difference. If you’re looking to woo more executive clients, or tenants who like to entertain, make sure that the fixtures and fittings are up-to-date and match throughout. Small details can make a big difference, and they can also improve your property value.

5.    Be flexible

We’re all short of time, but if you want to make sure you get the best tenant you can, you might need to try and be flexible. As an example, if you’re looking for working couples, you’ll need to think about holding open houses on weekends or outside of business hours. By the same token, if you’re looking for families, you’ll need to make sure that your inspection times aren’t interfering with school pick-up or drop-off. Discuss these needs with the team running your inspections.

This also applies when choosing which applicant is best. Remember those hard lines discussed in number one? Remember them when you’re selecting applicants! You should always go for best applicants over first applicants.

6.    Make sure your property managers are reputable…

Believe it or not, tenants have plenty of opinions about agencies. If you sign with a real estate agency that has a bad reputation around town, then tenants may well avoid your property. No property management group is going to tell you that they don’t answer emergency calls over the weekend, so you’ll need to do your own research. Check online reviews and, if possible, ask around to see what renters think of various agencies. You’d be surprised with how happy people are to share their experiences with you.

7.    … and organised!

This is your side of number six above! Making sure that your team are on top of everything they need to be on top of is paramount. If staff are turning up late to inspections, or taking forever to return your calls, it might be worth looking for alternatives. Disorganised property management teams wind up frustrating both you and your tenants, so be on the lookout for those red flags and make your expectations clear. If they still can’t do what they’ve promised to do, start shopping around. Your tenants will be happier to deal with an agency that responds to them, and you won’t feel like you’re spending half your time chasing up answers.

 

Great tenants are the secret ingredient of hassle-free property investment. If everyone can be on the same page, you’ll save time and stress in the future by not needing to replace tenants every few years, or worse, deal with evictions! By knowing what you want, and what aligns with your property investment goals, you’ll be able to make the right decision and ensure a steadier, more ideal future for you and your tenants. What more could you ask for?