Finding good tenants: 2 things TO DO + 2 things NOT TO DO

Landlord Tool Thunder Bay Rental Property

This is THE topic that most were open about when I first started talking about buying my 1st rental property. EVERYONE wants to tell you about the nightmare tenant story their friend had, the upward hill climb landlords have to go through to kick people out, the drama and headache "a friend of a friend" had to go through.

For some, these stories are enough to say - FORGET IT. Real estate investments are not for me. But, to be honest, there isn't any experience in life that is 100% rainbows and unicorns. So why would renting out your property be any different. You are essentially operating your own business and if you think self-employment is a holiday, you are delusional [just call me - we'll chat]. 

I'm not superstitious, BUUUUUUTTTTT....  as I write this post, I'm holding my breathe and knocking on ALL THE WOOD. Because in the 3 years that we've had tenants, they have all been absolutely amazing.

Be Picky

Plan for vacancies. Not just financially. Prepare your ego for it as well. This is something not a lot of people talk about. Not everyone will want to live in your property. Which you wouldn't think you would take personally... but you kind of do. You put a lot of sweat, money and thought into preparing your property to rent. Things are move in ready, clean, maybe even renovated. People are calling, coming to see it, and then *crickets*.

No calls.

No applications.

Silence.

WHY? This place is so perfect!

They are being picky. This is where they are going to LIVE. Spend most of their spare time. Most of the things on their checklist need to be there: location, price, bedrooms, space, lights, school zone, yard, etc. #allthethings

AND SO SHOULD YOU! Make a checklist of all the things you are looking for in a tenant: clean, respectful, ambitious, honest, responsible. Look for these qualities when you are with them. Do they take their dirty shoes off when they entered the property? Do they answer your questions honestly? Why are they looking for a new place to live? Are they asking for favours off the start?

You are going to potentially have a longterm relationship with this person. Think of it like hiring an employee (except they are going to pay you). This property could be your largest monetary investment. So the person living in it should be someone you can trust.

Be Clear

While you are communicating with prospective tenants be clear on your expectations, the conditions of the tenancy and what they can expect from you. Don't be vague about snow clearing + grass cutting - say EXACTLY what your expectations are + what they can expect from you. Be honest. If you have good intentions to mow the yard on Fridays, but last summer you only did it 3 times SAY THAT. This can be uncomfortable and feel "bossy" or "pushy" but it's not. Put yourself in the tenants shoes. They want to know where the lines in the sand are. There is the opportunity to be criticized for your boundaries - and criticism doesn't feel good. But by establishing the guidelines from the start you are going to avoid messy moments and expensive mistakes

Don't make assumptions.

Be kind, be honest + be clear. It may help you avoid uncomfortable situations later on.

Don't Make Exceptions

It is SO easy to feel pressure to make exceptions based on various situations + people. Especially when it means getting your place RENTED and to be able to move on from this stage. BUT DON'T. It's better to stick to your guns. Write down all the non-negotiable conditions. And practice saying no. It will help you when the questions to come up + you will be able to feel confident and effortless when you actually have to say "no".

Don't Be a Jerk

The golden rule of treat other people as you want to be treated is not just something your mom told you. It's something if you don't already implement in your life, you need to start. Don't be obnouxious, don't be a @**hole, be kind and respect everyone. 

I am NOT a lawyer or paralegal and would never pretend to be one. If you have an actual legal question about a situation you are in with a tenant, I am NOT your girl. However, there are a ton of amazing professionals in Ontario that are highly respected and often referred. I'm hoping never to need their services, but if I find myself in a pickle I would get in touch with : Harry Fine or Howard Tavroges

Trust your gut! And ask questions.