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Once the lease is signed, does the communication between you and your renter get cut back to the once a month rent check and a few maintenance emergencies? Do you provide any kind of welcome at move-in or regular contact to let your tenant know how much you appreciate having them in your property?
Moving – we’ve all done it. It is stressful, chaotic and we’re so hurried that it is easy to forget some of the important things. But, you’re the landlord. Your job is complete! You repaired the unit, got it refurbished, and advertised, you’ve screened the renter and the home is ready for their chaotic hustle and bustle as they arrive to fill it with their belongings. So, give them a hand and help them out with a few of the tips below. Consider it your random act of kindness – it will go a long way in your new relationship.
Here are some tips that I’ve seen and come up with that you may want to start implementing in making your new tenant feel more at home.
Suggestions at move in –
– A welcome basket or tote bag filled with items to greet them on their arrival. You could even use a recyclable tote bag from the local supermarket since they are low cost. Some great suggestions to place inside would be:
A roll of toilet paper
Trial size dish soap
Trial size laundry soap
Trial size fabric softener
A bar of soap
A bag of munchies – chips, trail mix, etc.
A package of juice boxes
Coupons to the local pizza delivery joint, or take out restaurant – or at least their phone numbers
– A keychain with your contact information, including a cell number with their new house keys on it. The snap apart plastic ones work great for placing your information inside.
– Numbers to call for maintenance emergencies. Your number, a secondary person to contact in case you cannot be reached. If you use contractors for heating, plumbing and electrical, you may wish to provide those as well. If you have the funding, get some magnets made up so they can put these on the fridge.
– Information on where the electrical and water shut offs are in case of emergency. If your rental is a multi-unit building, include an evacuation plan showing emergency exits and fire extinguishers. If you have them, laundry room and common area information on cost, use & rules. From reservations if needed, all the way through to clean up.
– Phone numbers for local utility companies. Include Water, Sewer, Garbage, Phone, Electric, Gas, Television, Phone, etc. Information on what day garbage and recycling are picked up for the area. If the tenant is to pay utilities, tell them when they need to have them switched into their name. Even a change of address form for their mail is a nice touch.
– A “Welcome to your Home” guide. Provide a fully detailed explanation of how to use the appliances, what not to place in the garbage disposal, when to change the smoke detector batteries, the size of the heater/air filters, etc. If you have instructions that came with the appliances, provide copies in a folder that they can have on hand.
– Names, addresses and phone numbers to the local grade, secondary and high schools. Libraries and local grocery stores are also handy to have. Provide information on the local bus lines, phone numbers and copies of the local route schedule. Tell them the locations of nearby parks. If you have one handy, present them a map of the local area – especially if they relocated from somewhere else.
– If you do not require renter’s insurance, suggest it (it is a great benefit to you and your new tenant) and offer the name and number of a local insurance agency that provides the coverage. This is very low cost for the renter (usually only around $20/mo.) and protect your investment from damages and your Tenants belongings during times of travesty.
Follow up every 3 months –
As the seasons change so does the periodic maintenance on your investment property – from gutters to outdoor faucet insulation. This is a great time to touch base and see how things are going with your tenants. Maybe they will have a small repair they have been putting off mentioning to you. Ask if they have any “wish list items”. Make sure to provide notice if you decide to visit in person. Usually a phone call or postcard will do the trick if your maintenance is to be done outside the dwelling.
After 3 months –
If it has been longer than 3 months since move in, or if every 3 months is too much contact, try to occasionally remind them of how much you appreciate them. A card at the holidays or just before lease renewal is a nice touch.
If you have exceptional tenants that you would like to keep for a while, provide them an occasional gift card to a local restaurant or frozen dessert place every 6 months or so. Another thing I’ve seen is a once a year discount of say $50 on 1 months’ rent. Is it less expensive to offer a yearly $50 credit to a great renter to keep them or to relist the property and hope you find someone like them to fill it? If you break it out, that is less than $5 per month to keep them happy. Other ideas may include – items on their wish list. Maybe their 2 yr. old can’t turn the bathroom faucets and they would like a lever system. Is it a low enough cost that it would make them happy and you could save the faucet you take out as a spare? Find some small items that make the home more appealing and the renter will be more likely to stick around.
Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? I’d love to hear them!
Until next week, may your rentals be filled and your home be a happy place.
Lori Hartjoy is the owner of Blue Mountain Rentals, established in April of 2011. As well as being a devoted mother of 3 toddlers, she provides over 20 years of clerical experience to her clients. Her background includes processing employment, tenant screening, background checks and working as a property manager and payroll clerk for a major telecommunications corporation.
The information contained on this blog and from any communication related to the Blue Mountain Rentals website is provided for informational purposes only. All information you choose to use is at “your own risk”. Please visit http://www.bluemtnrentals.com for more information on how Blue Mountain Rentals can provide a win-win solution for your housing needs.
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