Good neighbors rank high on the list of things money can’t buy. But if it could, what people would pay might be amazing, especially if they’ve had a bad neighbor before. Someone next door or down the street who respects the neighborhood and others’ enjoyment of their homes enhances any neighborhood.
How to Be a Good Neighbor + Find Tenants Who Will, Too
Why Being a Good Neighbor Matters
Responsible and responsive neighbors help keep property values high by maintaining their yards and homes. The noise coming from their homes is seldom noticeable from the street or others’ yards. They also lend a hand to others when they can, which often helps the appearance of the homes, inside and out.
On the intangible level, having a harmonious neighborhood keeps it stable. People who are willing to share of themselves foster a sense of community, something that’s difficult to achieve in a culture that’s built on autonomy and anonymity.
Good neighbors also foster a sense of safety and security. Apartments.com published the results of a survey that indicated that 57 percent of renters point to the neighborhood’s safety as a key factor in choosing their next rental.
See also Ways to Give Back to the Community
What Real Estate Investors Can Do
Even though you may not be directly affected by the actions of your tenants, you can take steps to make sure the people you select will respect the property and the rights of their neighbors by:
- Reading and understanding what the homeowner association (HOA) rules are. Ultimately, you’re responsible for your tenants’ behaviors. HOAs have considerable legal power, and they could fine you for the actions of the tenants.
- Schooling yourself on the local noise laws and applying them to your rental properties. Don’t be afraid to remind loud tenants about the noise restrictions that apply.
- Keeping your property maintained. If you don’t have time to do it yourself or the time to hire someone, consider using a professional property management group. They have professionals who specialize in all aspects of home maintenance, inside and out.
How to Find Good Tenants
As a property owner, you don’t necessarily have an obligation to select tenants based on their degree of personal thoughtfulness and consideration toward others. They do have to have the ability to follow the neighborhood rules when the home is in a community with a homeowner’s association (HOA).
Those basics aside, having a good tenant extends beyond paying the rent on time and keeping the property clean. Professional management companies use these tested techniques to research prospective tenants by:
- Talking to former landlords. It’s worth the time it may take to make a few phone calls to previous landlords. They may or may not disclose every detail about the person, but it’s a good place to start.
- Checking the credit report. Although being a good neighbor doesn’t necessarily correlate with credit-worthiness, it does indicate how well they meet their commitments.
- Running a background check. Be aware of what shows up on this report with regard to their past history. If any citations show up for misconduct, like disturbing the peace, ask the prospective tenant to explain the situation.
- Hire a property management company to do the legwork for you. These companies have lots of experience finding clients that will treat your property with respect, pay on time, and stick around for a while to minimize your costs.
See also How to Attract Long Term Tenants
In the End
As always, a property owner can set an example by keeping the property in its best condition before move in and making arrangements to keep it so during its occupancy. Screening the tenants carefully may also help you identify the ideal tenants for the neighborhood. The benefits of leasing to tenants who will be good neighbors far outweigh any of the effort associated with the extra time and money it takes to find them.
JWB has more than 10 years experience managing turnkey rental property investments. We have a consistent approach that delivers steady cash flow from our clients investment properties. Curious what your cash flow could be from one of our rental properties? Try our cash flow calculator or contact us to learn more.