Today’s home renters—young millennials and middle-income couples and families—can often become tomorrow’s buyers. Foster good relationships with tenants in your single-family rental (SFR) from day one and you will be first on their mind when they are ready to buy a home, bolstering the fix and flip side of your business.
Get to Know Your Tenants
As soon as your new tenants sign a lease, your relationship changes. You probably already know the basics about your tenants from the initial interview. Now it’s time to go a little deeper, by asking friendly questions about their future plans and interests.
Discuss the neighborhood with them, such as the best places to eat and shop. Work your own vocation into the conversation, too, so they know you are available to answer questions about the neighborhood or local real estate. Of course, always be sure to keep the relationship professional. You do not want to become emotionally attached to your tenants, in case you ever have a dispute or need to evict them.
Stock Your SFR With the Necessities
In every home you rent, include a roll of toilet paper and hand soap in the bathroom. Add paper towels to the kitchen, along with a few basic cleaning supplies such as glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and a sponge. Not only does this make new tenants feel welcome, it can help them get started on the right foot keeping the apartment clean.
Put Together a Welcome Packet
Check with the Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a pre-made resident welcome packet that includes coupons to local businesses. The post office may also provide one with change of address forms. Add a personal letter that includes your contact information, details about the HVAC systems, and anything else new tenants may need to know. Consider adding a gift card to a local restaurant so your they can order take-out on moving day.
Stay in Touch
Once the tenant has moved in, maintain a good relationship by touching base at least monthly. Never enter a tenant’s apartment without prior notification, but do send a quick text, email, or call to see how things are going. This conversation provides a good opportunity to gauge if the tenant is happy or is planning on leaving. Use this as a way to mention that you also have homes for sale or other properties for rent, if they know anyone who is looking.
Respond to Complaints Promptly
By law, landlords must respond to requests for repairs within 48 hours, and some requests in as little as one day. If you have any doubts about your responsibilities, refer to the lease agreement to keep all tenant discussions amenable and professional.
Consider Rent-to-Own Arrangements
If you have found a fabulous tenant who is almost ready to buy a house, consider offering a rent-to-own arrangement. These arrangements can bolster cash flow in your investment business and also foster your reputation as a good landlord who cares about tenants. That can lead to more word-of-mouth referrals and a strong local business network, making it easier to rent or flip your next investment property.
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