By Jennifer Lynn Walker
I am a landlord and also a realtor. I come from two different angles reaching the same goal. We all want the same thing: a tenant who is quiet, clean, doesn’t complain and pays rents on time. How do we go about finding these people?
Before you market your place, you need to make it attractive to a renter who feels like this is their home. So they love the place and will take care of it. Personally I make sure it’s 100% clean, windows and all, that everything is fixed and that it’s nicely painted in a neutral colour. This will help rent it faster, allow you to choose from more than one potential renter (hopefully), and you will be able to ask for premium rent.
OK, Jenn, you might ask, now what? I’ve detailed and staged my rental, now how do I get them coming in?
Personally I’ve found that most of my renters come from online advertising such as www.kijiji.ca and craigslist.org. If you want to go all out and stretch your reach, hire a realtor and have them list it on Centris.ca. This will give you maximum exposure and a realtor will do all the work for you. Realtors will organize visits, do all the paperwork and do background credit checks. The usual fee is normally one month’s rent or around 10% of the annual negotiated income.
For maximum exposure, don’t forget to:
- Place a for rent sign on the exterior of the property. Make sure you include a phone number!
- Advertise in newspaper classifieds that list rental accommodations. I find this method very pricey and not as effective as online ads.
- If you are interested in attracting students, campus housing offices often provide a free listing service.
- Flyers on bulletin boards: libraries, community centres, grocery stores, churches, etc…
- Social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc…
Think about the quality and location of your rental and who you will be attracting and advertise to those people. If it’s a higher-end furnished condo, think about business-focused newspaper classifieds, or working with a realtor rental locator might work best.
How do I chose the right tenant?
First I get them to fill out a form gathering all their personal information, such as their job info, addresses, birthdates, SIN number, references. With this information I do a credit check and make some phone calls. If something feels suspicious, call the Regie du Logement, and make sure they don’t have any cases or a history of bad events pending against them. Make sure that on this form they are giving your permission to use this information.
When all is well, I go with my gut feeling more than anything. Do I feel that they are standup citizens and are looking for a good place to rent for themselves and/or their family? Are they respectful, clean appearance, polite and thoughtful? These traits go a long way in a lifestyle, which includes taking care of their home. If you can meet them at their previous home even better. Chances are that how they are keeping their home now is how they will be keeping yours.
Real Estate Broker & Educator
Jennifer Lynn Walker has specialized in buying and selling both residential and multiplex properties since 2003. She’s built a strong network of specialist, to give her clients a seamless experience throughout the real estate journey. Founder of Montreal Real Estate Investor’s Group, and Jolly Green Homes. How can I help you today?
Is it better to rent it right away or wait for a great tenant?
I would wait. Bad tenants can cost you thousands of dollars and time, stress and headaches, so a couple of months of income loss by an empty dwelling pales in comparison.
Restrictions for tenants
I always advertise for a non-smoking tenant. That way your property will always be easy to rent afterwards. I don’t mind pets, as long as they don’t bark and their nails stay trimmed. Also, allowing pets will allow you access to more potential tenants. I will allow tenants to personalize their new home by painting, however I have to approve of the colour. Whatever you allow, even if it’s not on the lease, will be considered “Grandfathered” in and legally they will be able to continue to do until they leave. Such as, if you allow them to store some of their belongings in the basement, it will be construed as part of the lease, whether it’s written or not.
Good luck! Here is a list of sites that will advertise for you for free: