Now that you’ve spent all this time getting your listing up and running, it’s likely the inquiries will start rolling in. It can be an exciting and scary time for a new landlord handling their first interactions and transactions.
Here are some tips to getting through it like a champ:
Confirm credibility of the tenant. Ask your potential client why they’re looking to rent your property, who will be staying there and for how long, pets, etc. Once you feel they would be a good “fit” for your property, have them complete a formal rental application. There are template applications, contracts and checklists available for free by logging into your MyCHBO account page. You’ll also want to protect yourself by running a credit check to verify their credit and eviction history. Read this blog post to learn how to do a credit check on your own.
Complete lease agreement. You’ll want to create your own lease agreement based on your state and HOA laws. You can find a template lease agreement online in your MyCHBO toolbox (login to your account and you’ll see links to all the tools you need – please visit here first before contacting a Property Specialist, as you will find everything you need there and more), but be sure to have your lawyer review it before using it. The agreement should include your rental detail and any special instructions. Another place to find a template lease agreement is WhichDraft.com.
Collect Security Deposit and/or Letter of Responsibility. Be sure to collect a security deposit upfront to reserve the property for the tenant. If it’s a corporate renter and their company will be paying their fees, you’ll want to send the tenant a Letter of Responsibility to give to their company representative for completion. A sample Letter of Responsibility and a template invoice and receipt are available upon logging into your MyCHBO account. Note: You need to determine your own security deposit amount. According to a survey, the average refundable security deposit for a corporate rental is $682. You can read more about security deposit averages in the 2010 By Owner CHBO Survey.
Arrange for key exchange. Many landlords are able to personally welcome someone into the home, while others have lock boxes on the property. Lock boxes should be kept in a safe and well-lit area. Kwikset has keys that can easily be rekeyed by the homeowner. There are also keyless entry door locks that require a code and can be changed after each tenant. Also, if you provide a garage door opener, be sure to write down the make, model and code so it’s easily replaced if lost. Record serial numbers of access cards so they can be deactivated by building management if lost or stolen.
Prepare property. Make sure the property is clean and ready for the next tenant. Put your property’s manual in an easily accessible spot. Read this blog for tips o n how to prepare a rock-solid property manual.
Clean and inspect the property for damaged items. Don’t skimp on the inspection and ask your tenant to sign the inspection list upon arrival to confirm the property’s condition.
Follow up. Shortly after arrival, be sure to call and check in with tenant to make sure everything is going well. This is a good time to confirm departure date and details if it’s a short-term tenant.
Follow up again. Once the tenant has left, you’ll want to again follow up with them and ask them about their stay. You also can ask them to write a review on your property listing on CHBO.
Return deposit. Inspect the property for damage. If all looks good, promptly return the tenants deposit. Each state requires security deposits to be returned within a specific timeframe. Check here to see your state’s rules.
You did it – whew!