Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The BEST Tenants

The best tenants want the best product. Everyone says they have the best product but we begin with a very strong emphasis on designer/"wanna stay" features in our homes. And we attract the best tenants with pictures of those features. Ideally our homes are photographed when they are inhabited, furnished, clean and at their very best. High quality images of amazing homes attracts the best. Unfortunately it also attracts a lot of people that would like the best but simply don't qualify to be our tenants.

How do we qualify?

First we get lots of information on an applicant. Much of that information can simply be observed. How do they present themselves? Do they keep their car clean and well maintained? Are their children taught to be respectful, etc. etc. And some of the information is obtained through reports, copies of documents, etc. It is all information until we begin validating it. Saying someone has a job is very different than getting copies of 3 pay stubs, seeing they were deposited into the bank statement copies we obtained, having a letter from their employer and making a call to their boss. In short, we don't rely up on information until we validate that it is real through cross checking it.

Having a list/inventory of all the information that can help you make the best decisions is a great place to start. Making it as easy as posible for the prospective occupant to help you get the information you need is also critical. Having a formal series of questions can also add to the information inventory - especially if you take the time and effort to listen and ask clarifying questions. Forms that can be signed that give you access to the information can help make it easy and make it fast!

After information is gathered and cross checked/validated we use it to assess; financial ability to pay us and the quality of human being that they are. This is as much art as anything - often little interactions are big tip-offs. But having all the questions, answers, insights in one place coupled with the benefit of reviewing all that information with someone who is knowledgeable and not as close to it has always helped us make the best assessments and decisions we can.

Attracting the Best Renters

Our strategy for insuring we attract and retain the very best tenants is to create a "Designer Home" with many "Wanna Stay" features - i.e. features the occupants like a lot and can't find elsewhere. We aspire to the opposite of the "white box" Much value can be added by caring and putting forth effort. Constant engagement in the question, "what would make this a more special home to live in?" Quality of workmanship contributes much to this cause. Constant innovation, shopping for components, finding closeout bargains and an unyielding desire to "notch up" the quality and desirability of each home all contribute to making it happen.

In the spirit of this strategy, our Managing Partners "walk the walk" by:

Always maintain 6 professional grade images for each property of designer/”wanna stay” features that can be used for advertising the rental of the unit in the investments dropbox folder.

Perform at least one annual improvement while the property is occupied that adds a designer/”wanna stay” feature.

Performs at least one formal inspection/renter happiness survey that insures the property is being maintained clean and well and encourages the tenants to provide you with ideas for improvements that will result in that tenant being happier, ideally staying longer, attracting and retaining future tenants.

Is constantly asking everyone (contractors, tenants, designers, business associates, prospective tenants) what would be "cool"? What would make you want to live here? What would make you want to live here for a long time?

In short, creating homes that have the features that attract long term amazing renters is our passion.