Here’s a quick math question for you- if your rental property cash flows $200 each month and your monthly mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance is $1,200, what happens when your tenant Should You Form an LLC?doesn’t pay the rent. Or, the property is temporarily vacant for one month and your cash flow is negative by about $1,000? The result is it will take another 10 months of rent to recover that one month of vacancy. To avoid this and keep your property occupied 100%, here are some ways to make sure that money comes in each and every month.

 

Keep Them Happy. Happy tenants don’t look for another rental property if they’re doing just fine where they are. It’s no fun moving to another property and tenants would rather be enjoying where they live instead of complaining about their landlord.

Quick Response Times. When tenants call, respond quickly. That shows your tenants that you care about them. From basic maintenance calls to larger issues such as hot water or heat, make sure you respond same day and take care of any problems immediately.

Don’t be Nosy. Respect your tenant’s privacy. Don’t just “drop by” unannounced to check up on your property. If you need to make an inspection, give your tenants a respectable notice and the reason for your visit.

Use a Property Manager. The key to a quick response is the use of a property manager whose sole job is to not just take care of your property but take extra care of your tenants. Make plenty of background checks on your potential property manager to make sure they’ll treat your tenants well. Your property manager is the face of the unit, not you.

Proper Rent. Make sure your rental rate is competitive for the area. A property manager can research rental rates for similar properties in the area or your real estate agent can help as well. If an apartment, if you charge higher rents than other units in the complex, you’ll need to justify the higher rate with better amenities.

Prepare. Finally, if a lease expires within 90 days, you need to know the intentions of your tenants. If they need to move, it’s time to start finding a new tenant to make sure there will be as little vacant time as possible. If your lease agreement allows for a month-to-month option at the end of the initial lease term, it will be difficult to prepare for a new tenant and a longer vacancy is likely as you won’t know exactly when the unit will be ready for a new tenant.