By: Aaron Lennon, Buyer Specialist / Experienced Landlord on the Spokane Home Guy Group. (509) 869-2613
Often knowing where to start is difficult. It is important to get as much rent as possible but to do that you need to have qualified applicants to choose from. Finding quality tenants is pretty easy in the Spokane area however if marketing is not your strong point I suggest you start advertising early and let applicants know the unit will be available on X day of the month. Then start showing the unit right away even before you consider it ready for renting. You will also get a feel for what people think of the unit in a more informal setting as they view the unit while you are getting it ready.
Strong marketing is the most important factor for charging high rent. You need to get your unit in front of as many potential renters as possible. 2 weeks of strong marketing should be enough time to find qualified applicants at a high price point. Engage as many marketing avenues as possible. CraigsList.com, Rentals.com($30), Local newspapers, and FOR RENT signs similar to garage sale signs around the neighborhood are great ways to market a new unit.
If you are renting a duplex or triplex then chances are you only need to find one good applicant willing to pay your price. If you are not getting any applicants after the first weekend then your price is too high or your marketing is poor. If you are doing a large renovation start to advertise the unit extremely high and lower it each week until you start getting good applications. However by the time you unit is ready to rent you should already have the renter setup with their move in date. Time is money, each month you don’t rent your unit for $1000 when you could have rented it for $900 is another year it will take to make up the difference $100 at a time. The flip side of this is if you rent it for an extra $100 then you are making a free month of rent every year. So as a general rule it is best to insure you rent units in the first month they are advertised then you will not be faced with this paradox. The other part about timing is the time of year. If you need to rent a unit in the winter around the holidays you will normally have far fewer applicants. Renting in the spring or summer months should yield higher rents. You can help to encourage this with your lease dates.
Applicant Screening and Lease Agreements:
Screening applicants is important. There are a number of screening tools and places you can download leases and notices. This is a 3 step process.
a. SHORT Application: Meet the Applicant when they contact you and have them fill out basic information such as the name of everyone who would live there, number /type of pets, income for each person, where they are living now and why they are moving, most important is their email address . This is their “application”. Collect it from everyone who even looks at your place and make them fill it out while they are looking at it. If they call then take down the basic info over the phone. Keep this information. It is important.
b. Screening: Some laws have made it difficult to run credit and verify information on an applicant. So the easiest way to get this information is to have the applicant go online
and run the report on themselves. This makes you look like the good guy since you don’t need to collect an application fee and you don’t have to waste your time verifying their
income. The website handles all of that. The applicant simply fills out all the information at www.myscreeningreport.com and then they give you access to it. Some of the information this company provides is a bit outdated but it is very detailed and provides an accurate picture of the applicant.
Photo Credit: Turkey Chik