I have always felt that one of the single most important assets as a landlord is one's reputation. All too often, we hear about landlords who do not keep up their properties, charge too much for rent, and in general, have no care or consideration for their tenants. That is certainly not a category in which I want to be included. There are many things that you can do to promote your properties and attract quality tenants, but I have found that the most important marketing factor is building a solid reputation as a landlord within your community.
You see, the simple fact is that word spreads. When you are a bad landlord, word gets around. I have also found that when you are a good landlord, word gets around about that, as well. One of the reasons that some landlords seem to never have any vacancies is that they have taken the time to cultivate their reputation within their community. It is certainly not because there are no other available rentals or because the prices are so low. Rents can be positioned right at the local market price and there can even be a sufficient amount of properties available for rent that provides prospective tenants with plenty of choices. Attracting dependable, quality tenants is as good as gold in the property rental business. Developing a reputation as a landlord who is firm, fair, maintains the property, and treats tenants with mutual respect is critical to attracting such tenants.
So, how do you go about developing a stellar reputation within your local community? Begin by going above and beyond. There are certain legal responsibilities that landlords have to their tenants. It should go without saying that you need to meet those responsibilities, at a minimum. It also certainly does not hurt to go beyond the minimum. When possible, throw in a few extra niceties to make life easier and nicer for your tenants. Leave a welcome to the building or neighborhood basket for new tenants when they arrive.
Keep your properties in good working order. Do not allow yourself to become known as the landlord who takes forever to repair items. In fact, do everything in your power to avoid repair issues by being proactive regarding maintenance issues.
Recognize important events in the lives of your tenants. Take the time to get to know them. Send holiday cards and birthday cards. When your tenant renews a lease with you, send them a gift card or gift certificate to let them know how much you appreciate the fact that they have decided to remain in your property.
Becoming active in your local neighborhood is also important. Consider volunteering for local projects, housing initiatives, and other organizations. Not only is this a good way to network with others in your community, but it also demonstrates a strong commitment to giving back to the area you call home. The ability to help others can prove to be a tremendous bonding experience that can also bring you closer to your local community. In all honesty, such efforts are not a one-sided experience. Certainly, you could just write out a check, but actually participating in community events lets people know that your community is important to you and may even help you to get to know prospective tenants better.
As we forge into 2014 with our new resolutions and goals, let us keep in mind the importance of a solid landlord reputation in our communities. We have a social responsibility to our communities as land owners. And, of course, I hope that you continue using VerticalRent to strengthen the collaborative effort between landlord and tenant.
Matt Angerer is the CEO and Co-Founder of VerticalRent. A veteran landlord and real estate investor, Angerer brings a unique angle to the business of owning rental units. Once a cubicle jockey in the corporate rat race, Matt desired a more fulfilling approach to building assets and financial security. Witnessing his father (John) create a small nest egg of rental properties, Mr. Angerer realized the power of wealth building assets. Inspired by what the "Average Joe" could accomplish, Matt set out to create an easy-to-use rental property management software for the 40 million landlords across America that own between 1 and 50 rental units.
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