Excluding property management services, you may prepare for and secure quality tenants either with the help of a Real Estate Representative or on your own:
1. Hire a Real Estate Representative: Realtors can add significant value to the overall leasing process including pricing, advertising, showing, screening, negotiating, and paperwork. The total cost is usually one month’s rent. If you don’t have the time or skills to find a great tenant, I’d be happy to introduce you to a Realtor partner that’s best suited for your specific location.
2. On Your Own: Many Landlords have successfully found tenants on Craigslist and Kijiji, though be prepared to plan, deal with administrative aspects (e.g., paperwork, agreements), and screen a random selection of prospective tenants. Be cautious — there are many sophisticated scams operating online. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Viewit.ca is a great advertising site for Landlords. For a monthly subscription fee, your property will be showcased online to prospective tenants. If you prefer to take on the task yourself, read on and make sure you understand all the requirements to ensure you’re adhering to rules, regulations, and the screening process. Not doing so could be time-consuming and costly in the long run.
Renting out a property in Ontario can be exciting, but the process requires planning and careful thought — whether this is your first rental property or you’re a seasoned landlord. From new laws to offering a standard lease, there are several aspects of being a landlord that you must keep top of mind. Rental property management is a business, which requires professionalism, financial prudence, and the ability to attract and screen potential tenants thoroughly before move-in day. Legal and financial considerations should be at the forefront of your actions.
Here are five steps you can follow to make the property rental experience much easier for yourself:
1. Prepare the Unit
Too many property owners don’t take enough time to prepare the unit for showings with prospective tenants. Make sure your prospects are impressed by what they see at your property! If your property has a yard or any landscaping, take the time to clean things up, mow the grass, pull weeds, and get rid of any branches or debris lying around. Invest in a thorough cleaning inside the unit and make necessary repairs. A simple coat of paint can go a very long way to freshen up a dull and dreary unit. The better your property shows, the greater the likelihood it will attract tenants who will appreciate and respect your investment and their home.
2. Do the Necessary Paperwork
Many property owners dread dealing with the paperwork or neglect it entirely, but it’s a crucial part of the rental process. You need to prepare application forms, lease agreements and additional forms that you might need later, including eviction notices. Since the laws and regulations governing tenant paperwork and documentation vary depending on the location of your rental, you should consult with a professional who is familiar with provincial guidelines.
3. Set Your Rental Price
Choosing the right price for your rental unit requires careful thought, research and consideration. Your rate should be enough to cover all unit expenses and still bring in a reasonable profit — but you don’t want to set sky-high rates that dissuade potential renters. Research rental units in your area similar to the one you’re listing on the market. A Realtor can help you determine what renters are willing to pay for units like yours — you’ll also ensure you’re getting a fair rate for your property rental. Request an introduction!
4. Focus on the Advertisement
The right ad can be the difference between an extended vacancy at your property and a unit that gets an overwhelming response as soon as it hits the market. Perfect your ad content, take high resolution photos, then use a variety of platforms to spread the word. Let your family and friends know about your vacancy, put a sign out in front of the property, list the rental on community bulletin boards, and use multiple property listing websites to ensure that you reach the prospective tenants that you are looking to attract to your property.
5. Meet with Prospective Tenants
Once you’ve received responses from potential tenants, set up a time to meet prospects and give them a tour of the property. If you generate a lot of interest, you can have an open house so that several prospects have the opportunity to tour the space at once. Bring plenty of application forms to the showing so prospects can get started with the process after viewing the unit. If you have the time to do one-on-one showings, try to schedule them on the same day so you don’t have to visit the property multiple times over several days. Confirm appointment times directly with prospects to reduce the number of no-shows. Working with a Real Estate Representative offloads much of this process.
6. Carefully Select Your Tenants
Screening potential tenants is an essential part of the rental process — you need reliable tenants. No matter what kind of impression a tenant makes when you initially meet them, take the necessary steps to thoroughly vet them. Your property management experience and your net return are highly dependent on the quality of tenants you have on your property. However, legal mistakes during the screening process can result in unintended consequences.
First, review the tenant applications that you receive to look for any red flags. Pay attention to a prospect’s rental history and employment background, since these factors will inform whether a tenant is reliable and able to meet rental obligations.
After evaluating the rental application, run a credit check to verify the information a tenant provides on their application. Consider joining the Ontario Landlords Association to access valuable resources and premium credit check services.
Next, reach out to a prospect’s references to find out more about them and whether they will be reliable tenants.
Nobody wants to miss out on potential profits, so it can be tempting to fill your open rental as quickly as possible with the first prospect who applies. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to result in more trouble than it’s worth. By taking the time and effort to find a reliable tenant, you’ll enjoy long-term benefits and avoid the headaches of a problematic renter.
Here are a few helpful tips for attaining the most favourable results:
Tip #1. Insist on an in-person or virtual interview before offering a lease agreement
Tip #2. Ask essential questions as you show the unit to prospective tenants
Tip #3. Gather all relevant details on your rental application
Tip #4. Obtain a prospective tenant’s written consent for due diligence checks
Tip #5. Perform due diligence by authenticating references and feedback
Tip #6. Ensure that your screening process does not violate local rules
If a rental applicant is not a good fit, trust your instincts and do not let them rent your space. You can also consult with a residential Real Estate Lawyer to help you navigate the legalities of tenant screening and audit whether your process complies with local rules and regulations. I’d be happy to introduce you to a qualified Real Estate Lawyer.
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