What you missed July 2008 Meeting
by Robert Davis
Mister Landlord himself Jeffrey Taylor was our main speaker. Jeffrey said he has over 140 rental units and has a goal to fill any vacancy within 3 days. To accomplish this, he uses various incentives for the prospective tenant as well as the vacating tenant. He says we need to set ourselves apart from the average landlord. We have to do things like tailoring our ads to attract the type of tenant we prefer. For example, he found that nurses and teachers make good tenants. He might therefore put in his ad “Nurses Welcome” or “Teachers Welcome”. If a nurse or teacher sees that ad, they will naturally be more inclined to call on his ad over the other ads.
He tries to give the people what they want and set up a situation that makes them feel like a winner. If you go into Burger King and ask for a hamburger, what is the order taker’s response? Usually it will be “do you want fries with that?” They do this because often the customer will say ‘yes’, and they have an additional sale. We as landlords should do this as well. One example is to ask if they would like a custom upgrade such as paddle fans. We might add $10 a month to their rent for staying in one of our ‘custom’ homes.
Jeffrey talked about some things we can do to help a prospective tenant decide to fill out an application when they are looking at the home. He said we should know what is special about a particular home. For example, the home may have an unusually large bedroom closet or bathroom. Maybe it has a better quality kitchen, appliances, counter tops, cabinets, etc. He said we should be sure to point out the special things about the home, rather than just have them look around and fill out an application if they want to. Another incentive he might use is a move-in basket. This could be placed on the kitchen counter and explain that it is given for free if the applicant is approved and moves into the home. Another thing we could do is to hang some new towels in the bathroom and add a floor mat. We might tell them these will be given to them if they move in.
On our application, we should ask perspective tenants what they like most about where they are now. He can use this information to cater to their wants more if they do move in. Another item we may add to our applications is to ask if they know anyone else who is looking for a place to rent. When talking to them, he wants to know if they have any disagreements with their current landlord. Also, he wants to know if there are any recurring problems with their current residence or landlord. These might be people he does not want to rent his property because they may be a problem. Jeffrey has a list of 30 things to watch for in a perspective tenant. He said he scores them according to their income, stability, etc. He also will deduct for any foul language used – even if to someone else, and if they are not on time for the appointment. If they pass his initial scoring, then he does a credit and background check. If that passes, depending on what area they are coming from, he may go look at their current address.
Another thing Jeffrey does to avoid future problems is to let them know up front that there will be an annual rent adjustment. He tells them, “If we ever raise the rent more than you can handle, let us know.” So if he wants a $20 bump, he might send a notice of a $40 increase. If the tenant calls to complain, he asks them what would be a fair middle ground for the increase. They would probably say half, or $20, is OK for them. This way they feel like a winner even though they are paying more rent.
Lastly, he talked about the move-out of a tenant. He tells them he wants to give them back all of their deposit if they leave the home clean and ready for a new resident. He may send over a maintenance person a few days before they are to move out to do a ‘pre-inspection’ and see if the tenant can receive their full deposit back. They can then be told what has to be done to receive the full refund. They may opt to have the maintenance person do this for a fee so they can get all their deposit back. He offers them a $50 bonus above the deposit also if he can get someone approved and ready to move in before they leave. This way the current tenant is eager to have it shown, should make it neat and tidy, and possibly point out good features to a perspective tenant. Jeffrey gave a captivating and informative talk. He has a lot of good material to help us with landlording, and may be reached through his website at Mrlandlord.com.
Past What You Missed
Jack Shea (2008)
See past meetings schedule here