Maximizing your tenant retention numbers is good for business. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do as an investment property owner. Retention creates a sense of stability for your rental property, and it also saves you money in both the short and the long term. With high tenant retention numbers, you’re avoiding long vacancies, and you’re not paying for the turnover costs that come with preparing a rental home for a new tenant.
Turnovers often cost thousands of dollars. They are best avoided whenever possible.
As professional property managers in Tulare, we work with owners and residents all the time to ensure a pleasant and respectful rental experience. We have a high rate of tenant retention, and we think it’s because of our great tenant relationships and our understanding of resident needs.
Here are some of our best tips for maximizing tenant retention in your Tulare rental property.
Create a Leasing Experience that’s Easy and Efficient
The marketing, showing, screening, and leasing process is an excellent opportunity for you to show tenants what type of landlord you’ll be. You actually want to begin retaining your tenants as soon as you identify them.
When you can be responsive and helpful, you’ll likely attract well-qualified tenants to your property easily, and developing a professional and positive relationship will not be difficult.
Be a resource during this period. Let prospective tenants schedule showings at times that are convenient for them. Self-showing technology can really facilitate an easy process of seeing the home and completing an application as long as you’re available to address any of their questions or concerns.
Work quickly to get tenants approved and scheduled for move-in. Guide them through the application process and help them submit all the supporting documentation that’s needed. Be available to answer questions. Don’t make them wait to find out that they passed your screening; send an email or make a phone call as soon as you have gathered and analyzed all the data you need and verified all the information you have.
Moving is a challenge even for the most organized tenants. You can help them feel more at ease in these ways:
- Provide a simple, stress-free move-in experience.
- Have the lease signed and the move-in funds collected before their moving day.
- Go over the lease agreement and answer any questions.
- Provide a brief orientation to the home so they know how to set the thermostat and where to find the breaker box.
- Work with tenants on a move-in inspection to ensure that you’re all on the same page about the condition of the property.
When Tulare tenants move into a home easily and efficiently, and that home is in excellent condition and perfectly clean on day one, you’re setting a great foundation for your tenant retention plans.
Listen Actively and Communicate Openly
Tenant retention requires good tenant relationships, and good relationships start with good communication. Achieve this with open, transparent communication. Be available and accessible to your tenants if you want to retain them. Always share your expectations with residents so they aren’t left wondering what exactly you expect from them.
Throughout the tenancy, be prepared to communicate about maintenance, pest control visits, rental payments, and inspections. Always answer questions promptly. Be available by phone, text, email, and even social media. Tenants have different comfort levels, and you’ll need to understand what your tenants need when it comes to communication.
Invest in technology, but keep communication personal. Check in with your residents once in a while to make sure they’re having a good experience.
Remember the importance of listening. Sometimes, tenants just want to be heard. When you’re willing to listen with empathy and concern, tenants are less likely to leave you.
Rental Property Maintenance and Improvements
Maintenance is probably not one of your favorite things to think about. It’s often expensive, exasperating, and challenging. Costs for even minor repairs are rising and finding good vendors to help you can be a challenge with the labor market squeezed. Sometimes, those emergency repairs are challenging to manage, especially when you have a tenant who is upset.
You can’t avoid maintenance, however, and with a solid maintenance plan in place, you’re more likely to retain the tenants who find responsiveness very important.
If you’re slow to respond or you ignore the requests altogether, your tenants are likely to leave at the end of the lease term. So make maintenance a priority, and respond to repair needs with a sense of urgency. Even if they’re minor.
Tenant retention requires more than just maintenance.
Upgrades and updates improve the condition and value of your investment while at the same time retaining tenants. So, consider making some cost-effective renovations, especially if your tenants have a specific request. Do they want a more efficient dishwasher? Consider installing one. New paint? Go ahead and do it, especially if the lease renewal is coming up.
The best tenants in Tulare want to live in a home that’s attractive and comfortable. Some of the cost-effective upgrades you can make to attract and retain them include:
- Replacing out-of-date appliances and installing energy=efficient models.
- Painting walls that have become faded or chipped.
- Cleaning or replacing carpet.
- Updating the landscaping
Updates like these will help you motivate tenants to renew their lease agreements. You can offer a new washer or a freshly painted bedroom. Maybe your tenants want a backsplash in the kitchen or better lighting outside.
Incentives and Conveniences Matter to Tulare Tenants
Providing a good rental experience means making things easy on your residents. Two good examples are: allowing for online rental payments and allowing pets.
Online rental payments are convenient, secure, and preferred by tenants. No one wants to write out a check or hunt down a stamp. Let your residents pay rent digitally, whether that’s on a platform you’ve provided or via some electronic payment app that you’ve downloaded. There are multiple ways to accomplish this, and tenants will appreciate the convenience.
Then, there are the pets. Retention can be easily improved by allowing pets. Not only will pet-friendly properties rent faster and earn you more money through pet fees and pet rent, they’ll also help you keep your tenants in place. Your residents don’t want to pay a new pet fee every year by moving into a new property. They also don’t want to spend a lot of time finding another rental home that will allow their pets. When you’re willing to consider pets, you’re likely to keep your pet-owning tenants longer.
Renewal Time: Resources and Incentives
You’ve done everything you can, it seems. So, now that it’s approaching the time that your tenants will have to decide whether they want to renew the lease agreement or move on, what’s the best way to approach the conversation?
Think about what your tenants might need. What are you willing to negotiate? Maybe it’s some of the upgrades we talked about earlier. Use those as a bargaining chip. You can also provide some incentives such as a free carpet cleaning. Give tenants a gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop when you ask about the lease renewal.
Small gifts demonstrate gratitude. If your tenants know that you want them to stay, they’ll feel valued and appreciated.
Keep Rental Increases Reasonable
You will likely raise the rent on your Tulare property at renewal time, and your tenants will more than likely expect it. They know the market and they understand that rents have been rising while they were living in your property. Don’t shy away from increasing the rent when you’re working on tenant retention.
There should be an increase, but it must be a responsible increase. Study the Tulare rental market and look at homes that are similar to your rental. Chances are, you’ll be able to raise your own rent while still staying at or just below the market prices. This will encourage tenants to stay because even though their rent is going up, they don’t have to worry about the expense and hassle of moving into a new place that probably will cost just as much.
A Secret Weapon to Tenant Retention? Tulare Property Management
Retaining tenants is easier in a professionally managed home. Tenants like to work with Tulare property management companies instead of independent landlords because they trust that property managers will understand that systems, processes, and communication will be automated and consistent. They know that property managers understand the laws and the requirements of rental properties in Tulare.
We have solid and effective tenant retention plans, and when you work with good property managers in Tulare, you can expect lower vacancy and turnover costs. We would be happy to tell you more about how we retain our best tenants and make sure they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. If you’d like to talk about our strategies, please contact us at River Drive Properties.
River Drive Properties provides effective and professional property management services in Merced and the surrounding areas including Fresno, Modesto, Tulare, and Turlock. We have extensive experience with both single-family homes and multifamily properties.