Find Great Tenants
The quest to find good rental tenants is likely the most important task for landlord businesses. Good tenants make your business run smooth and profitably.
If you’re poring over the spreadsheets everyday to find a few savings, then perhaps it’s time to look at the other side of your business to create long term, sustainable ROI. The key to acquiring good tenants is making it a business priority and getting analytical about whether you’re doing this right.
Your property management analytics should help you determine which advertising techniques, rental listing sites, and types of renters are profitable. These should be part of your KPIs. Analytics can help you identify those who are costing you money.
Good tenants pay rent on time, take care of the unit, keep a good tenant/landlord relationship, and keep renewing their lease.
Landlords Selling Unprofitable Properties
How many landlords sell their rental property because they kept choosing the wrong tenants? From target marketing to vacancy ad writing, to rental advertising, there is a streamlined process to finding the good ones.
Lighten Your Workload and Enjoy Higher Rents
It might be said that the cost and workload of being a landlord is due to choosing the wrong tenants. Your worst tenants begrudge paying rent on time, create friction and conflict, don’t take care of their rental, create emergency visits and losses, and perhaps refuse to pay rent.
Good tenants pay their rent on time, never neglect the home, nor generate drama or friction and they renew their lease. Good tenants understand the need for rent increases. Poorly chosen tenants conversely are on the liability side of your business. Most of the posts on Facebook landlord groups and other forums are all about landlord’s bad tenants and what they do.
Lots of Ways to Improve Tenant Acquisition
The path to tenant-finding success is likely a multipronged one, paved with your best marketing and advertising materials. Pros use strategy while amateur landlords use luck.
Please do review our posts on how to attract good tenants, how to choose good tenants, how to write great rental ads, placing ads on great sites, how to retain good tenants and how to get them to renew their leases. And we’ve covered tips on how to screen tenants well, and provided tips for tenants on how to be a good tenant.
Good Tenants = Profitable Rental Business
The characteristics of a good tenant are listed in a previous post, but let’s summarize them for modern, high ROI landlords.
- are ideally suited to the lifestyle of the unit, building/house, and neighborhood (they find it valuable)
- are committed to their own life and lifestyle (stability)
- are responsible and won’t damage your real estate asset (respectful)
- have the financial ability to pay the rent price you set (financial capability)
- are balanced and won’t create drama, unnecessary maintenance or trouble with neighbors (maturity/self-esteem)
- are moral, honest and conscientious and will enjoy their rental unit responsibly (good neighbors)
- are accountable to the lease they signed and will not try to break it (responsible)
Living and lifestyle is a personal thing. The unit you are renting may not be ideal for some renters. They may have all of the above ideal tenant characteristics, yet they aren’t right for your unit. This isn’t so much of a science, but rather a thorough art to identifying the right tenant.
Landlords have optimized many parts of their business, but the techniques and processes for finding great tenants are not well known. Perhaps they’re just not sexy enough, but your marketing materials and messages can make the best tenants magnetically attracted to your rentals.
Certainly, tenant-related marketing and selection tasks are covered in the IREM and NARPM property manager training, but sophisticated tenant acquisition strategies are beyond their scope. If you don’t have your own marketing team and leasing agent, you’re going to step it up to stay competitive in this area. And with a little effort, you can do it affordably.
Finding Great Tenants Means Marketing Well
Finding good tenants is a sustained marketing activity. Marketing will produce more high quality leads than filling vacancies using generic ads.
Finding good tenants means know exactly what you’re looking for, what they want, generating content that will attract them online, and a lead process that gets them signed to a lease. Marketing is another topic, but suffice to say that simply placing signs your rental property’s front window is not considered an ideal way to promote your vacancies. Advertising in classifieds is not wise either.
The best way is to strategically reach tenants on the websites they use. Quite a few excellent quality renters peruse listings, not because their lease is ending, but because they’re curious about whether they’re getting good value. They might be open to better places to live.
When you reach them online, it’s the content and messaging you’ve provided that peaks their interest and creates an inquiry.
An inquiry doesn’t sound like much, but it may be someone who is more financially able to pay a higher rent price, lease for a longer period, and always pay their rent on time. If you’re a landlord, that should excite you.
Best Places to Attract Good Tenants
Some of these sites such as Facebook offer very good targeting of renters. They use AI too to find people who exhibit behavior typical of someone who might be interested in renting. Google too, has the well developed power of knowing what each user is interested in, their age, gender, and more. They know so much, they know what the renters next step is.
Some of these rental listing sites offer access to relevant prospects in your city and they draw a big volume of rental property searchers. Even on the lowest quality sites, there are good relevant renters. If you write your ads professionally, it will eliminate a lot of the high risk, unstable, inappropriate apartment hunters from responding.
However, high quality rental listing sites that cater to your ideal tenant are important. To reach more good tenants, you should develop more marketing content for placement on the web and on your own website. These are the focal points for visitors to learn about the suitability of your property(s) and to build a sole preference for them.
Just placing ads that lead to a short listing or a phone call might not be wise. You want to be able to screen out the wrong inquirers and attract that the best rental prospects. A good strategy means you’ll be able to keep your good prospects interested.
Stop for a moment and consider how poor quality tenants are created. Compare that to how good tenants are created. Sometimes good ones come recommended by a current tenant. Some are referred by a quality person who reviewed your rentals and website and then shared it with friends. Quality people tend to hang out with quality people such as their friends and family. This means your marketing has a bigger audience than you may have thought.
Places to Capture Good Tenants
- Targeted Facebook Ads – using Facebook’s own profiling system is powerful. The cost is high, however if you learn to fine tune FBs profiling capability, it will help them reach more suitable prospects. It will cut down on advertising spend waste too.
- Facebook posting – Yes, your Facebook posts can reach good prospects and referrers if you make an effort to make connections and engage with them. Facebook now restricts your posts to those people you’ve engaged with so it’s important to engage with important influencers in your community.
- Your Marketing Website – your website where you showcase your rentals is the go to resource for all serious rental tenants. A good tenant will be looking for this. They want certainty, authenticity, accurate property details, photos of rooms and amenities, videos, and they want to hear your sales pitch. All marketing and advertising roads lead to your website. Make sure it’s impeccable and you’ll be able to justify much higher asking rents.
- Google search and blogging – Google draws search results from billions of pages, videos, and blog posts. If you write blog posts that touch on important topics, community venues and events, you will reach prospects who will remember your rentals and company name. The landing page might be the topic, however, it links to your vacancies and your marketing pages. It’s all in the name collecting visitors, growing awareness, and getting shared online.
- Hotpads – a highly visible, well trafficked and well branded website, good for finding good apartment tenants.
- Zillow – Zillow works hard to build awareness with those who have ambitions of buying or selling a house. However, they do have a rental section which of course, can build awareness in your geographic region.
- Realtor.com – Similar to Zillow is Realtor.com. Realtor.com, Homes.com offer good reach to high quality prospects and they have some targeting capabilities.
- Pinterest – Here’s an interesting alternative because Pinterest users are all about lifestyle. Many of them either produce, sell or enjoy seeing items related to living and homes and lifestyle. That’s important because only quality people spend so much time on home decor, furnishings, kids stuff, and recipes. Make a presence in their world, and you have an immediate emotional connection to them.
- Linkedin – the world of professional networkers should not be ignored. Linkedin users average income is high and they typically have steady employment and can easily find another job when they have to. Some are too ambitious, however you have your tenant screening system to validate their reliability and true financial capability.
- Instagram – the growing world of image-based social networking shouldn’t be ignored either. As Instagram’s users get older, they are interested in renting or buying homes. Realtors are venturing into this world now. Users often post daily life items with an entertaining edge, and by creating visual materials related to your building or vacant unit, you may see them shared around by users. Again, getting visibility amongst the rental crowd is one of your marketing goals.
- Zumper – they are one of the better apartment listings sites and have a suite of advertising tools for landlords.
- Rent.com – Rent.com also has big reach through Apartmentguide and rentals.com and a number of marketing services to help you get your rental unit rented.
The Best Ways to Find the Best Tenants?
I think the title of best ways to find good tenants says it all. You’re finding them not the other way around.
In conclusion, the best way to find good renters is via the best websites which your target renter visits, with well-written vacancy ads that lead to great marketing materials on your website. It’s your marketing content that helps good tenants find you, so definitely upgrade those materials to include interesting blogs, videos, photos, and even virtual tours to create the best experience possible for them.
The quality of your effort is part of the value proposition they’re looking for and this path is the tool that brings the best to you.
You may need to create more visual marketing materials such as interesting photos from your units, building, neighborhood, and go “beyond the unit” to participate in the neighborhoods and city you are in.
Renters are looking for lifestyle more than ever, so if you have the comfort, convenience and amenities they talk about online, you’re going to get seen more.
Reaching, attracting, and engaging good tenants isn’t easy. There is no magic bullet. Good results come from good marketing practices.
Once you’re proficient at marketing, it’s ease to find the best tenants. The challenge then become filtering in the very best of them so you get the cream of the crop. Good tenants are the basis of all rental businesses.
Check out ManageCasa’s full landlord software capabilities including your new marketing website now.
Additional Resources: Quality Property Management Software | How to Attract Good Tenants | Sources of Good Tenants | Why do Good Tenants Leave? | How to Choose Good Tenants | How to Write Effective Rental Ads | Screening Tenants with Social Media | Tenant Onboarding | Rental Listings | What Tenants Want | How to Retain Good Tenants | How to Get them to Renew their Leases | Screen Tenants | How to be a Good Tenant | Best Landlord Software | Landlord Apps