Michigan Property Management Tips - How to Find the Best Tenants for Rental Property

Posted by JMZ Property Management on Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 2:33pm.

Michigan Property Management Tips - In Search of the Perfect Tenants

When trying to fill rental space, good tenants (the kind that pay on time, keep a clean home, and renew their lease good-tenant_300for years) rarely come to you by accident or stumble across your listing.  They connect with a landlord or property manager by strategic design.

Don't get stuck thinking good tenants are only in great neighborhoods or come from affluent backgrounds.  Good tenants are everywhere, even in the heart of some of the least-attractive suburbs in metro Detroit.  If you're investing in property, you want to find the best tenants to fill your space.  This reduces your overall costs and keeps a positive-income producing investment from becoming a liability.

Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Finding Good Tenants Starts with Appearance

Too many landlords focus on the attitude and appearance of prospective tenants, but they should really be focusing on their own appearance.  You should be trying to satisfy and impress your tenants, because a quality tenant is judging you and your attitude.  They won't likely rent from someone they feel won't care about their issues, or be difficult to work with.

If you can't be bothered to shave, shower, dress appropriately or be kind - what indication do they have that you'll care enough to tend to their issues?

Know a Good Tenant in Order to Find a Good Tenant

Every landlord and property manager in Michigan has a different concept of the ideal tenant.  You need to figure out who your target market is before you start searching to fill a space.  Do you want a working professional?  Do you prefer college students for short term leasing?  Do you prefer single individuals or do you want a family with children in your units?  Perhaps you prefer seniors.  If you don't know who you prefer, you're more likely to end up with someone you don't want.

Avoid Showing Unfinished Properties

If you bought a house and plan to rent it out, don't show it to prospective renters or allow the property manager to show it before work is finished.  You might be able to picture what everything will look like when it's done but the tenant has no idea.  All they see is unfinished home.  This is one way to scare away ideal tenants in a hurry.

Get Good Tenants by Highlighting Benefits

A common sales tactic is to focus on the benefits people get by buying something.  In your case, once you know your ideal tenant you can target the benefits to them.  That means including marketing information that features nearby businesses that relate to their shopping and lifestyle, activities, landmarks, gyms, shopping malls, etc.

Charge Application Fees to Find Good Tenants

Charging an application fee offsets your costs relating to background and credit checks.  More importantly though it will weed out the tenants who don't have a lot of money.  If a potential tenant can't afford a small application fee, there's a good chance you'll run into problems in the future with collecting rent.  Another indicator is that if the check written for an application fee bounces then it's a red flag to turn them down.  Ideal renters and good tenants feel comforted by this kind of system because they know that they will be less likely to encounter "icky neighbors".

Meet and Greet Tenants Where they Live

Conduct a tenant interview in their current residence if possible.  Some of the worst tenants in the world are the most well-spoken and best-dressed people when they meet at your office.  A look at their current residence can often show you how they typically live, spend their money and how they take care of their living space.  Even if someone cleans up, they would be hard pressed to hide damage to the unit along with their belongings.

Dig Into Rental History

A thorough background check can save you a lot of heartache and expense.  Don't just talk to the current landlord, talk to the previous landlord.  If the tenant is a serious problem, their current landlord might be eager to get rid of them and give them a glowing referral just to get them out of the rental unit.  A previous landlord can provide a more accurate picture of the tenant.

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