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As the year is coming to an end, you are busy preparing your family’s big Thanksgiving feast and starting to create your long Christmas "to-do" list. While focusing on the holidays, you nearly forget your resident’s leases are nearing an end! Don’t fret just yet, here are some helpful tips to finding the perfect residents.
Below, you will find 7 essential steps our company, Cincinnati Real Estate Group: Property Management, uses when finding, screening and leasing units. Whether you hire a management company, like Cincinnati Real Estate Group, or have the ambition to do it yourself, these tips will help you secure the best residents!
1. Give yourself 60-90 days prior to the current lease’s end date to prepare. During this time, make sure to offer the current residents an opportunity to sign a new lease with rental increase based on market conditions. If they decide they will not be renewing their lease, you will have plenty of time to schedule showings and find new residents.
2. Start advertising on sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads and Craig’s List. Our company uses software that will automatically syndicate to 30+ websites maximizing advertising for your property. Make sure your ad includes important details of your lease such as move in dates, rent price and amenities so that prospective renters are aware of what they can expect once they move into the unit. Include as many pictures as possible. Our company likes to include between 15+. The more pictures included in the listing, the more interest you will receive. Included should be multiple pictures within each room and outside of the property. Adding descriptions of each picture can be helpful, as well.
3. You’ve posted your ad and now are starting to get interest! Make sure to give current residents at least 24 hours before doing a showing and ask that they clean up beforehand. You might even want to give them a couple of days’ notice, if possible. When doing showings, you can do one on one showings or open houses. Whichever works best, however in our experiences we have seen higher success with one on one showings. It may from market to market, but for Cincinnati Real Estate Group: Property Management one on one has proved to have to greatest potential. As you show the unit, make sure you are very familiar with the terms of your lease. Prospective renters will have lots of questions
4. Now that you think you have narrowed it down to a few interested parties, make sure to have them fill out an application. At a bare minimum, the application should include the following:
Current work and previous work history
2-3 previous landlord references
2-3 employment references
On the Cincinnati Real Estate Group: Property Management application, we use our property management software to include extremely detailed questions to gather the most information about the renter. Gathering as much information about your prospective renter is key when leasing a unit.
5. After receiving multiple applications, it’s time to do the screening process. This is the MOST important part of the process! Properly screening a prospect will give you a good idea of how they will be as renters. After getting permission, submit a background and credit check request on the prospective renter. Our team uses a screening company associated with our property management software, however if you are doing the screening process yourself you can use sites such as Cozy.co. For both the credit and background check, it is only $39.99 to run the checks. Make sure the prospective renter has decent credit, pays their bills in a timely manner and does not have an extensive criminal background.
6. Call all previous landlords and employers! In our experiences, this has proven to be a critical step in the screening process. Once you have worked your way to this phase, it may be easy to simply disregard calling the references because of the renter’s immaculate credit and background check, but you must persevere! The prospect may be the best at paying their rent every month, but if your don’t do your due diligence to learn about their rental history, you can expect to have headaches trying to mend unexpected situations with him or her.
7. Whatever method you choose and works for you, be consistent. It’s important to follow the Fair Housing Act when selecting new residents.
Finding good residents can be a lot of work initially, but once you have found the perfect candidates, it makes the rest of the year a breeze! If this process seems too daunting, you can hire a property management company in Cincinnati, such as Cincinnati Real Estate Group: Property Management, to take care of the hard work for you so you can get back to your already busy lifestyle!