January 15, 2012
My friend owns a house in West Vancouver which they currently rent out. When he first started marketing the rental suite, he made a number of mistakes that cost me time and money. Below are some tricks from my friend to help you from not making the same errors.
Make yourself very easy to reach. When I first posted by listing on Craigslist, the response was minimal. After further review of my ad, I had not used my cell phone number and a shockingly large amount of people still don't have internet/ email access.
Don’t put too much content in your ad, I actually made that mistake myself. Paint a good picture but don't overdue it.
Show lots of pictures in your ad. Make sure your property is squeaky clean and use your camera in good lighting.
Pre-screen your potential tenants as best you can before driving to location and meeting them in person.
- When are they looking to move in?
- How long where they at their last home for?
- Why did they leave/ are leaving?
- How long are they planning on staying in your property?
- Are they comfortable with a lease?
- Do they have a problem verifying references?
- Do they have a job?
- How much do they make?
- How long have they been employed there?
- Are they comfortable with you checking their credit? If they have an issue with this, better to know now.
Do not wait a day or two to show the property. If somebody contacts you and says “I want to take to take a look”, get out there quickly (after pre-screening) and show them immediately. What generally happens is someone comes in see the place, they like it and say “we will take it” without looking at many other properties.
Look for longevity. Someone or a couple that have bounced around from place to place is not what you are looking for. Ideally, you want a tenant in there for a very long time. Unless of course they don't understand the concept of rent increases.
Ask for the last two landlord contact details. Don’t phone the current landlord, if he or she is a bad tenant, they have an incentive to get rid of them. Call the past landlords instead. The challenge with this is the prospective tenant could have a friend pretending to be his previous landlord. So, call and say “I’m calling about the house for rent in West Vancouver”. If they say you have a wrong number or I don’t know what your talking about, then it's likely you are speaking to the potential tenants friend. If it's really the landlord, he or she will tell you the truth about the tenant.