Avoiding vacancies and making a profit isn’t just about choosing the right renter – it’s about being the best landlord. Your tenants are your customers, and in order to keep them happy, you need to meet their expectations and needs accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll experience high turnover rates and negative reviews online, which can seriously disrupt your revenue stream.
If you want to keep long-term residents happy, you need to work on improving your landlord skills. Here are some of the biggest traits that respectful, high-paying tenants look for in their landlords.
How You Can Be a Great Landlord
First, let’s talk about what you can offer your tenants that will prove you’re a standup landlord. The actions may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how often property management Seattle services underestimate their power. A little bit of respect and a great attitude goes a long way.
1. Offer a Proper Welcome
A proper tenant welcome encompasses more than a simple handshake and greeting. Show your renters that you really care about their transition to the new place and area. You might provide them with some basic moving essentials, recommendations to local coffee shops or restaurants, or maybe you can give them a map of their new surroundings.
The point is to go above and beyond as soon as the renters arrive so they know they can expect stellar service from their landlord over the next months – or years.
2. Act Professionally
Even if you’re just renting out the basement below your house in Seattle, this is a business transaction between you and a customer. Treat it as such; wear business casual clothing during your first few meetings, speak professionally, and use the proper documents and technology to finalize any deals.
Although it’s great to get to know your tenants, remember that they’re your customers more than they’re your friends. You don’t want things to get messy if you’re forced to evict them or handle negative encounters. Be mindful in how you maintain a healthy landlord-tenant relationship.
3. Be Accommodating to Any Tour Requests
Nothing steers people away from a rental more than a landlord who won’t work with their schedule or accommodate their needs. If you want to fill your vacancies quickly, you need to be open to tours at good hours.
Work with any visitors to meet their tour requests and take each and every tour seriously. Rental shoppers are likely evaluating several places, so you need to stand out against the other professional property managers in Seattle with awesome customer service.
4. Stay Available at All Times for Emergencies
The biggest complaint most people have about their landlords is that they don’t respond quickly to emergency situations.
Whether their toilet is leaking or their power went out, your tenants need to trust that you will react expediently. Otherwise, they’ll start looking for a bigger complex in the Seattle area with better maintenance and repair teams. Show them that you can handle any problems with a short wait time and few complications.
5. Get Online
People just don’t find their new apartments and houses in the newspaper or on bulletin boards anymore. Everything is online, from rental advertisements to payments and documents. The more you can adapt to new technology, the easier it will be for your tenants to interact with you.
Look into online portals like BuildingLink that make paying rent and reporting problems a breeze so your tenants don’t feel like they’re living in the 90s.
5 Tips That Help You Be a Great Landlord
Now, let’s talk about your attitude and how it can impact your reputation as a landlord. Your interactions with tenants will set the tone for their entire lease, so make sure you’re behaving in a manner that facilitates long stays and happy customers.
1. Always Respect the Tenant’s Privacy
Although this might be your property, your tenant will consider it their home.
This means they’ll want their privacy and security during the lease term. Do your best to respect your tenant’s space by leaving them alone as much as possible, asking their permission before dropping by, and keeping their information private from strangers. Again, this is a customer, not a friend, so you need to maintain proper boundaries for both of your sakes.
2. Listen to the Tenant’s Concerns
It doesn’t matter what the tenant’s concerns are and if they’re valid or not. The important thing is to lend the tenant your ear whenever they need it.
Listening to their problems and questions will show that you care and lead your tenant to believe that you have their best interests at heart. You might not like to hear it, but this is one of those situations where the customers’ needs and opinions come before your own.
3. Exercise Compassion
Tenants want a landlord they can come to with problems related to their living situation. Show them a bit of understanding and compassion whenever they express a concern. Remember that moving is difficult, and your tenants probably want the arrangement to go as well as you do.
An understanding attitude, as well as thoughtfulness and kindness, will do wonders for your reputation with tenants. Consider adding a few nice touches to your tenant’s stay. For example, give them gifts on holidays or bake them a treat if something goes wrong in their life. These acts of generosity will speak volumes about your landlord qualities.
4. Be a Problem-Solver
A big part of tenant property management in Seattle is learning to deal with problems so that your clients don’t have to. It doesn’t matter if their roof is leaking or their neighbor is noisy – it’s your job to put an end to the problem before you lose a valuable tenant. Instead of telling your renters to handle the situation on their own, take matters into your own hands to keep them happy.
If you run into serious issues with your tenant, keep your cool no matter what happens. Tenants tend to get very upset when something goes wrong, but by maintaining a level head and can-do attitude, you can turn a nasty problem into a positive situation.
5. Know Your Laws
You definitely need to understand landlord-tenant laws in Seattle if you’re going to be an excellent landlord. It’s not your tenant’s job to know everyone’s rights – it’s yours. Plus, you don’t want to infringe on local regulations because you’re not aware.
For instance, did you know that if you’re going to increase any housing costs or fees associated with the rental by 10 percent or more, you’re required to give at least 60 day-notice?
Read up on laws like this to make sure you’re abiding by them properly. You’ll also want to have a lawyer look over your lease documents to ensure everything is legal.
A Final Word
In all honesty, being a wonderful landlord is difficult. It requires a great deal of time and energy, as well as knowledge and expertise. If you feel like the job is more than you can adequately handle, you may want to hire a full-service property management team in Seattle.
Find one that can keep your tenants happy and handle most of the dirty work for you. In the end, you and your tenant will probably appreciate the switch. If you have any questions related to property management in Seattle, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us!