What Your Next Great Tenant is Looking For

An income property is a great investment: it can increase in value as the real estate market grows, and in the meantime it makes you money! Or, at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But to make money from a rental property, you’ll need a tenant to (duh) pay rent. You’ll need a good one, too, because a deadbeat tenant could cost you dearly by failing to pay the rent reliably or in full. (And don’t think that you can easily evict them—eviction is a very long, costly, and unpleasant process.)

So you’ll need a good tenant, and that means that you need to convince one to choose your apartment. And the key to that is simple: you need to know what great tenants are looking for, and you need to deliver that.

You’re already delivering a great apartment or home, of course (right?), so let’s focus on something else. Here’s what your tenant is looking for in the apartment search and application process.

An online listing

If you’re a modern landlord who has posted a rental listing anytime in the past few years, you already know this: when renters of all sorts and from all walks of life look for their next apartment or house, they nearly always turn to a computer or mobile device. A full 90 percent of renters start their searches online, and many of them rely heavily on their devices and their internet connection throughout the process.

So if you’re going to land a great tenant, you need to make sure that your rental listing is on major online real estate sites, ready for house- and apartment-hunters to find. Easy, right? Well, don’t say that yet—we still have some details to work out.

The right keywords (even if they don’t know it)

So your listing is online: great, right? Actually, that all depends on how easy it is to find online. See, modern renters don’t just browse online listings in the way that people once leafed through real estate brochures. No, they’re taking a more targeted approach.

Renters will search for the apartments they want. And that means that you need to be the listing that they are searching for. Would-be renters don’t think of themselves as using “keywords” or “keyword phrases,” but those things are what they’re using all the same. Though they might not know it, renters are looking not just for listings that suit their criteria, but for listings that describe that criteria with the correct terms. That’s just how online search algorithms work, and you’ll need to do keyword research (or pay someone else to do it) in order to take advantage. It’s called search engine optimization (SEO), and it’s how businesses like yours tailor everything from ads to websites to appeal to search algorithms.

Compelling photos

Modern renters may not want to start their search with in-person tours, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the appearance of their future home. Far from it: rental listings with photos will fare much better than their blind counterparts, and it’s not hard to see why!

You should include photos in your listing, and you should include good ones. That means taking the time to take flattering photos of your apartment or house bathed in natural light. You should get the angles right and make sure that you show the full space, because a poorly framed photo can rob your property of some of its square footage in the mind of a searching potential tenant.

Stress-free paperwork

The internet has done some good things and some bad things in its time. But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t pleased with the fact that the internet has cut down on one of life’s constant annoyances: paperwork!

Sure, the fine print is still there, but the internet makes it a whole lot easier to go through life with fewer sit-down meetings and signatures in triplicate. And your potential tenants have surely noticed this, because this sort of convenience is part of the reason that they’re searching for their next home online.

So, by all means, make things easy! Work with reliable online landlord software solutions to create a free rental application right alongside the listing. You’ll enjoy a more convenient process, too, as many reputable landlord software solutions offer built-in tools for background checks, credit checks, and other essentials.

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