McGrath Real Estate’s leasing team is charged with advertising your property, processing and vetting applicants and creating the necessary paperwork. Integral to this process is determining whether the applicant will be a good renter. There is no crystal ball that allows us to know for certain but through verifying information, there is a correlation between certain information and how a renter will treat the house.
Credit is a great indicator of how a potential renter will perform. Someone who cares monitors and maintains their credit shows they are responsible with money and understand the importance of doing so. That is not to say that everyone with average or poor credit is not responsible, unexpected circumstances can happen and we thoroughly review and confirm everything on the credit report to come up with a risk assessment.
Current and Previous Landlord references are a must. They have firsthand knowledge of whether this applicant pays rent on time, treats the home with respect, whether their pets are behaved and if there were ever any issues during their tenancy. We think it is important to speak to at least two landlords to make sure there is a pattern of responsibility.
Income and employment stability also speak to the responsibility of a renter. We speak to their supervisor to ensure that they are in good standing with the company and also verify what they claimed to make. We use an income to rent ratio of 31% (No more than 31% of income can go to pay for your rent; this standard is actually a little higher than most mortgage companies require!)
Once we have verified, presented and approved the applicant, their tenancy begins. McGrath Real Estate performs annual inspections, which start approximately six months into the lease, so we know how the house is being maintained and can spot problems before they get out of hand. But how can you be a good Landlord? Here are some tips for a successful Landlord experience:
- Be Responsive: While your renter is in the home there will be issues that arise, things that break and maintenance that needs to be done. Renters want their Landlord to be responsive to them and to handle their issues effectively. We are here to be your Renter’s point of contact during their tenancy. That being said, in regards to desired maintenance and repairs there are times where we must get approval from you. Many of our Clients are overseas and there is an expected time delay, or are in areas of the world with limited internet and phone availability. We understand this and try and set expectations with your renter immediately so they understand why there might be a delayed response. That being said, Renters want their Landlord to responsive and we sometimes must make decisions for you. As your management company we will only ever do what is in your best interest and the best interest of the property itself. If we feel that a decision must be made and you are unavailable we will do what needs to be done. Client Advocate will keep you appraised to the situation and explain our decision process.
- Perform Regular Maintenance: While the tenant has a leasehold interest and is required to maintain the property there are a few items that you are responsible for and will not only keep your tenant happy but will also keep your property in good condition for your return. An example of this is cleaning gutters. Gutters are actually a Landlord responsibility (see our blog article “Why McGrath Real Estate Choose to Not Make Tenants Responsible for Gutter Cleaning” for more information on this issue). By having a bi-yearly gutter cleaning service you are ensuring that the gutters don’t overflow, and that your renter’s home is in good condition. Other such responsibilities include tree trimming, weeding and payment of Homeowners Association dues.
- Respect their Privacy: Many of our Clients come in to town occasionally and wish to see their property, which we can accommodate. It is important to remember that while this is your property, for your Renter, it’s their home. Visits should be scheduled during normal business hours (9-6 Monday – Friday) and weekends should be avoided if at all possible. We do understand that this is not always possible and many tenants will be able to accommodate off hour visits. If you are interested in visiting your home while you’re in the area you should contact Billy Bradley at WBradley@McGrathRealEstate.com and he will help you coordinate a mutually exclusive time.
- Raising Rent Isn’t Required (Or Always Recommended): Of course, we want to improve you cash flow at every opportunity, we do believe it is in your best interest to request a rent increase we will do so. Sometimes if you have a good tenant, it’s better to keep the rent the same then to have them move out and risk vacancy costs as well leasing fees and commissions.
- Honor the Contract: This is a no brainer but when you signed the lease, you entered into a binding contract with your renter. There are both Landlord and Tenant responsibilities and expectations and just like you expect them to do theirs, they expect you to do yours. If you wish to review the lease, visit our website or email Lindsay Curtis at LCurtis@McGrathRealEstate.com.
McGrath Real Estate strives to provide a pleasant living situation for your Renter and a smooth experience for you in terms of management. If you ever have questions about your role as a Landlord or your lease feel free to contact Client Advocate at ClientAdvocate@McGrathRealEstate.com.