If you are fortunate enough to rent out your property without any vacancies, you realize that it is a constant overlapping process. Before the existing tenant moves out, you have a new tenant lined up and ready to go. While this is how the business should go, you need to be careful not to rush the move in process. Every tenant has to be treated as a new entity, with you wiping the state clean from any previous tenants. When they get the keys to the unit or property and open the door for the first time, they should feel completely satisfied and excited to live there. If they don’t, you could be in for a long nine months.
It could be tempting to move one tenant out and within 24 hours have a new tenant arrive. This will certainly aid your short term bottom line, but in the long run, this is the worst thing you can do. After every tenant leaves, you need to take a few days and have the unit professionally cleaned. Even if you fancy yourself to be a neat freak, there are plenty of areas that you will miss. The stove, curtains, blinds, tub and toilets may appear to be cleaned, but the difference between how you clean and a professional job can be like night and day. This is the first impression a new tenant will have of their new property. If it is dirty, it sets the precedent for everything moving forward.
In addition to having the place cleaned, you need to make sure the lease and finances are in place. Even if you went over the lease when they signed, go over it again when they are moving in. Items that may be obvious to you regarding pets, smoking, payments, visitors and parking need to be nailed home and understood. If they said they would have security deposit money when they move in, hold them to it. If they don’t have it and you let it slide for a few days or a week, it sets a precedent of how your payments will be moving forward. They most likely had at least a few weeks and in some cases over a month to have this ready. If they can’t provide this, how confident are you they will have your rent every month?
If there were any items that you said you would remove or replace when they saw the property, you must follow through with your end of the bargain. There are landlords who will try to go cheap and not have the property cleaned or painted and not update items just to save a few days of rent. This is the type of shortsighted thinking that gets landlords in trouble. Even if you just take three days to get everything in order, you are only losing less than $100. This is a very small price to pay to have a happy and excited tenant that is anxious to live in your property every month.
The first few days of any new lease are very important. Instead of treating your rental like a factory, keep in mind what your tenant may be thinking. If you have the property looking as you would if you lived there, you have a much greater chance of keeping the unit filled and checks coming in every month.