By Neil Fjellestad and Chris De Marco
Independent rental owners contact us daily for advice and seek our management help. Primary concerns include: their vacancies are not moving like in times past; their rental rates are stagnate; their tenants do not pay their rent as agreed. We understand that our market is very demanding and requires each rental owner to compete like never before in order to increase and maintain rent values. We ask the hard questions – what specifically are they are doing to motivate renters to sign a long-term lease at top rental rates and pay the rent on time; every month. Here are some follow-up questions.
• Why not make a few minor adjustments to improve the appeal of the exterior of your property? Replace dead or dying landscape, fill pot holes in the parking area(s), make sure the outside is well lit, provide adequate trash container(s) and pick-up, sweep walk ways, wash windows and keep the property clean. You are saying with your actions that property value is as important to you as the monthly rent collected.
• Do your rent and repair policies demonstrate respect? “Green living” and a renewed frugality are important to all of us. By using energy efficient lighting along with timers you are demonstrating a respect for the rent your resident(s) pay(s). Your building’s water use can be improved with low-flow shower heads and commodes. Timers on exterior watering that adheres to neighborhood and/or community standards save money. Renters(s) are paying for these property expenses through the rent charged and they know it. Your wise property expenditures are a reflection of your respect for your resident(s) as well as your property value.
• Are you making it easy for your rental customers to do business with you? Make it easy for your residents to pay rent and submit maintenance requests online from their smart phone. Potential renters should be able to fill out an application the same way. These modern technologies ensure that monies and information move with speed and security. It also says that you want to compete to keep your renter(s); that you respect their time and their money.
• Are you on top of what other rental properties are currently charging? Being competitively priced demonstrates customer respect. Your confidence in this regard will be evident in your resident decisions and communications including strict adherence to rent collection according to the lease. Your renter(s) will respect your requirements.