One of the challenges of property investment is being able to find the elusive 'perfect tenant.' It's that ideal tenant that will ensure the financial success of your property, as well as give you peace of mind that they will take great care of your investment.
A good tenant is made up of several factors but perhaps the number one attribute is a person who always pays their rent on time.
Real estate expert and author George Astudillo told The Huffington Post Australia late rental payments is a top frustration for many landlords.
"Late payment leads to frustration and embarrassment as it makes the landlord late in paying expenses, such as a mortgage," Astudillo said.
"Cleanliness is a major factor; an ideal tenant will take care of the property. Being lazy with household chores will speed up wear and tear. Paint needs to be dust and grime free and carpet will wear out quickly if grit and soiling are allowed to accumulate."
"A perfect tenant is a co-operative tenant, particularly in the event of a problem. Life is unpredictable, it's tough enough dealing with challenges without a tenant making things more difficult."
The trick is to choose wisely when you choose a tenant and don't take any chances. You might be tempted to take a risk on a tenant who's willing to pay more money. However, Astudillo said if they turn out to be less than they promise to be, the cost of new carpet, repainting and repairs will quickly absorb the increase and leave you in debt.
"If a property has been vacant for a while there can be a tendency to cut corners. Don't let the temptation cloud your judgement," Astudillo said.
"Sometimes a tenant just seems so nice, you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember nice people don't always make good tenants."
Once a landlord selects the right tenant, it's wise to take steps to make sure they stay put. If you're not careful, your tenant will leave: turn over costs a lot of money, including marketing fees, agents' fees and possible property damage.
While there are multiple reasons why tenants move – and many will be out of your control – there are some simple things you will have control over.
"Looking after your tenant and the property they live in makes good business sense. The tenant is your customer, and having a happy customer is always good for business," Astudillo said.
Astudillo's Landlord Checklist
Treating repairs too casually or without care is the most common reason for creating distrust and discontent in tenants. Unless the problem is an emergency, they are at the mercy of the owner. Reasonable requests for repairs should happen quickly.
Allowing the property to deteriorate will change the appeal to the tenant. If the property is no longer up to the quality the tenant is prepared to pay for, they will move. Keeping your property looking its best will also mean you can keep the rent within reach of the market.
Rent increases that are excessive, either too many or too much, will also make a tenant feel taken advantage of. In these situations, the tenant will start looking for better value elsewhere.
Courtesy and Respect
Tenants need to feel respected. Your attitude towards repairs, maintenance and rent reviews, as well as the tenants' right to privacy, are simple ways to show respect.