Toronto Income Property Newsletter: June 2012

The beginning of June is the traditional start of summer but it feels like we’ve had two months of summer time already. I suppose I shouldn’t complain but I think that we are in for some HOT months ahead. The real estate market generally slows down a little at this time of year, but as of this week, everything is moving along with no immediate signs of slowing down. Income properties in good condition with good rents are still selling quite quickly often at asking price or more. This month I will talk about how to attract and maintain good tenants

For all the soccer fans, Euro starts next week and then we’re into the Olympics after that. It should be a good summer for all of us sports fans.

Landlords: How to find and keep good tenants!

Finding good tenants starts with having a good place to rent to them. Even in a bad part of town, no decent person is going to live in a bad place (at least not for very long). Never show a vacant apartment to a prospective tenant until it has been painted & cleaned. Don’t show a rundown unit to someone & then tell them how you’re going to fix it up. Always do the work first, make it presentable, and then bring them in. You can’t expect a tenant to have a ‘vision’ of what the place will look like after it’s fixed up. Remember, the crummy tenants will take anything. I once had a girl tell me over the phone that she needed a place immediately & she didn’t care if there were holes in the walls or if the apartment was a total wreck. I politely told her I couldn’t help her and hung up the phone. What kind of renter do you think she would’ve been? Always paying on time? No problems? I would’ve gotten a security deposit and first month’s rent and then be fighting to get her out. Good places attract good tenants. Bad places attract bad tenants. It’s pretty simple.

If you ever purchase a multi-unit building with a few bad tenants you should work to get them out as soon as possible. Obviously you have to work within the boundaries of the Tenant-Protection Act, so maybe sure that you understand both your and the tenant’s rights. Your good tenants won’t put up with crazy behavior and late night loudness; they’ll simply move out without notice one weekend and leave you scratching your head. Better to be proactive & let your good tenants know your on top of the situation rather than let them slip away.

So you’ve got a decent place & it’s ready to be rented. You didn’t go overboard on expensive countertops and imported ceramic tile. It’s clean, sanitary and presentable. You could give the keys to someone & they could move in that night. How do you get people to come and see it? The answer is as simple as it seems: Craigslist, kijiji.com and view-it.ca

I’ve used these sources many times and it works. I like these avenues better than a sign in the window. Using the Internet will save you a ton of headaches. You don’t want volume. You want quality. Having 90 people respond to your sign & ad with phone calls may sound great to a novice, but I’d much rather spend a half hour of my time with a targeted gathering of prospective tenants. An added benefit when you acquire more buildings is that you can direct someone to the right place for them. They may not like the apartment that you are showing right now, but the apartment being vacated in another building at the end of the month may be perfect for them.

As any good salesman will tell you, it’s all about getting qualified leads. I’ve rented apartments a week before Christmas & remember people telling me beforehand that nobody would show up. If you have a decent place, they will come. There will always be exceptions; bad weather, lull in the rental market, etc. But in good parts of town and bad, this advertising system has proven itself. It works.

Keeping good tenants is just as simple. Be responsive to their concerns, treat them with respect and make sure that the premises are always in tip-top shape. Remember they are paying down your asset every month, so do everything in your power to keep things running smoothly.

2012 YTD Monthly Sales

Here are this years sales in the GTA compared to 2011 As you can see month-on-month sales have been increasing every month.

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