Question: I own a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Breakfast Point, Sydney, which is predominately an apartment property area. My finances are thinning and I am struggling to find a good, long-term tenant. What are some tips on locating, securing and maintaining a tenant?

Answer: The two biggest factors in attracting and keeping good tenants are the quality of the rental property and its rental price. Well presented, clean and well maintained properties offered at a price in line with market value will attract tenants.

Locating a great tenant is based on promotion of the property through a solid marketing campaign that includes internet advertising with bold, attractive pictures and a detailed description of the property’s features. A professional marketing campaign, coupled with several open for inspections at convenient times, will draw prospective tenants to apply for the property.

Your property manager will then be able to qualify who are the most suitable tenants by meeting with them and checking their references. Choosing a poor property manager is sometimes the reason for poor tenants.

A good property manager should have thorough knowledge of your local rental market, be experienced with well-developed interpersonal skills and an eye for detail. They should be backed up by a rental company with the support and resources to efficiently manage your property in a business-like manner and the property manager must understand the principles of property investment and what is important to landlords and tenants.

If your property is slow to rent, ask why that is so. Is the property tired or in need of an upgrade? Have maintenance issues been overlooked? Is it too expensive compared with similar properties nearby? Is your property manager opening it for inspection a couple of times a week and is this promoted through advertising? Does your property manager have the skills to follow-up with prospective tenants and negotiate with them?

Fix some of these problems and your property will probably lease very quickly.

Do not take shortcuts on maintenance because it will directly impact on demand for the property. It is a false economy to overlook maintenance or presentation issues in the hope of saving money while losing money because the property is vacant. Experience also shows that tenants are more diligent in caring for a property that is attractively presented.

  • Answer provided by Rob Farmer, CEO of RUN Property (www.run.con.au)