How to Have Faster Move-Outs and Move-Ins
There are two phases to changing tenants - moving out and moving in. The quicker both can occur, the easier it is to maintain income levels and keep rent payments coming in. What you do as a landlord can help determine how quickly you’re able to turnaround your property as one tenant leaves and another moves in.
Know Your Market
Keeping an eye on what your rental market is doing is a good idea in general. When you receive notice that your tenant is leaving, it’s time to do a little more research. Find out whether the general rental market is on the rise or in decline. Check your specific neighborhood and surrounding area.
If your property is in a more desirable location, you’ll want to set your rent at a competitive level which may mean increasing the price. On the other hand, if the market or your neighborhood is in a decline, you may need to decrease the rent to attract a renter. Avoid lowering your rent too much but if it’s overpriced, finding a tenant will be more difficult.
Ideally, you’re performing an annual maintenance walk through. When a tenant moves out, get in there as quickly as possible. Note what needs to be repaired, replaced, or cleaned. Take pictures to document repairs or cleaning that will be billed against a security deposit in case there are complaints later.
Once you know what needs to be done, schedule the repairs, maintenance, and cleaning as quickly as possible. The longer you delay, the longer it will be before a tenant can move in. Don’t forget to change the locks, too. What you want is a rental that’s move-in ready as close to the time that it becomes vacant as possible. But don’t skimp on repairs either, this will only cause problems later.
Market Your Rental
In a hot rental market, it doesn’t take much to find a list of tenants applying for your property. But when things slow down, you’ll need to make the rental well in order to gain attention and find a suitable renter. After it’s clean, have professional photos taken so people online will get an idea of what the property looks like. Highlight amenities and extras, and if you can, include a floor plan.
Marketing a rental isn’t that much different from marketing a home for purchase. You need to be where the renters are looking, and you’ll need to be prepared to field phone calls and emails. Make sure the rent and security deposit amounts, as well as the application process, are clear in the rental listing to decrease some of the questions you’ll get and increase the applications.
Screen Tenants Well
A quick move-in is aided by having good tenants who are serious about moving. Make sure you have a process for background, credit, and reference checks. The sooner you can find a well-qualified tenant, the sooner they can move in and begin paying rent every month.
Make sure you follow all fair housing laws when screening and accepting tenants. Pay attention to the details of their rental payment history and other background information. As soon as you’re sure you’ve got a well-qualified tenant, let them know the property is theirs to rent. The longer you wait, the longer it will be until you’re accepting rent payments.
When you keep the lines of communication open with outgoing and incoming tenants, you decrease confusion. Once a tenant lets you know they’ll be leaving at the end of their lease, let them know what their responsibilities are for move-out. Remind them of anything you may have told them when they moved in or in the lease about their responsibilities upon vacating the home.
Once you’ve got new tenants ready to move in, go over as much information as possible. Provide them with a move-out checklist so they’re aware of what they’ll be responsible for during and at the end of their lease. Give them a move-in checklist so they can note any problems and the condition of the property as they moved in. You’ll use this when they move out to determine what was an existing problem and what was their responsibility.
The time of most uncertainty as a landlord is that time in between tenants. When the move out process is smooth, you can get your property back on the market faster. Tenants who have been screened properly and are given the information they need are better prepared to move in. Developing a system to quickly transition between renters saves you money. If it sounds like a lot of work that’s because it is. Work with a property management company, like ERA American Real Estate, who knows how important it is to keep a paying tenant in a property and has the tools to make the process easy.