As a real estate investor turned landlord, one of your very first responsibilities is listing your rental. This process can feel daunting for new landlords, but isn’t complicated once you have everything in order.
As one of the busiest property management companies in Windsor, we know the listing process inside and out, and often take this burden away off of our landlord clients. Today, we’ll bring you some of our best tips and tricks for getting this process right, and making it as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Make the Decision to List
Deciding to rent to long-term tenants isn’t for everyone. Some real estate investors prefer to stick to short-term or vacation rentals, while others find it easier to keep the property in the family.
Whatever you do, make sure you know the pros and cons of each choice before making your decision. Renting your property is a great way to ensure a reliable passive income stream, but it does come with responsibilities like upkeep and maintenance.
Whenever you rent, be sure that you’re actually ready to let the property be occupied by others. In Ontario, landlords who want to take back their property for personal use may do so, but they have to give their tenants at least 60 days notice, and they must then occupy the residential unit for at least 1 year. Otherwise, this is considered a bad faith eviction and the landlord can be penalized. They must also compensate the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent or offer them another comparable rental unit.
2. Get the Right Insurance
If you don’t have insurance, it only takes one accident or injury to get you into serious financial trouble. In Ontario, landlord insurance is quite reasonable, with most landlords paying an average of $900 for a home and $400 for a condo or apartment over an entire year. Before you put your rental on the market, make sure you have adequate insurance to cover any liabilities or damage.
3. Prep the Rental for Tenants
Before you list your rental, make sure the property is ready for tenants. All appliances should be in good working order, and every safety measure like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be thoroughly tested. Any repairs should be done, and a pale white or beige coat of paint applied to help make the space as neutral as possible.
Once tenants have arrived, you won’t be able to come in as freely to make repairs, so it’s a good idea to have all of these little fixes done before move-in day.
4. Set the Rent Price
There are a lot of different ways to determine how much rent you should charge. A common rule is to charge 1-2% of the property’s value. However, you should also do your due diligence and research the average rent in your area. Charging 1-2% of the property value is great if that works for your area, but if it’s a lot over or under the average rental price, it will set you apart from the crowd, and not in a positive way.
Carefully comb through listing sites to determine how much similar properties are going for in your area. Take note of what amenities they offer, and how hot the rental market is right now. If you’re working with a property manager, they can help you with this step, since they have hands-on knowledge of the local market.
5. Write a Great Ad
Once you’ve determined the amount of rent that you’re looking for, write up a compelling ad that lists all the features of your rental, and describes the amenities well.
Consider paying a professional to take photos, or even make a video – these features will help your ad get more traction and make it easier to attract serious interest. If there are no photos, you’ll easily double or triple the number of people who want to take a tour, just because they need to see what it looks like before they can make a decision.
6. Choose a Listing Platform
There are many different listing platforms that renters in Ontario comb through to find the right place. Craigslist and Kijiji are popular, as is Padmapper. ViewIt, Rentals.ca, and RentSeeker.ca are also great options.
Depending on the type of place you’re listing, it may make sense to put it on several listing sites at once. Just be aware that if you don’t have to pay a fee, you’ll be competing with a much larger pool of rentals for tenants’ attention.
7. Set Expectations for the Rental Process
In your ad, make sure you articulate the expectations for the rental process. For example, you should note whether potential tenants will be expected to provide a credit check, paystubs, or references.
Listing these requirements in the ad allows tenants the opportunity to prepare in advance, so they can walk into a viewing with all of their paperwork ready to go. This saves landlords from having to keep track of what they’ve received from various tenants, streamlining the process and making it easier to identify the best tenant faster.
8. Set Up COVID-safe tours
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Ontario has made a few changes to the rules surrounding rental tenancies. One of their recommendations is that landlords and property managers should both “prioritize alternatives to in-person showings” and “make necessary in-person showings as safe as possible” by following the guidance of the Real Estate Council of Ontario.
This guidance includes limiting the number of attendees at open houses, and canceling them entirely when that area is in a state of Red-Control or Lockdown. Landlords in Windsor and Essex County should be following the guidance of the Windsor-Essex County Public Health Unit at all times.
9. Consider Hiring a Property Manager
Picking the right tenant is one of the biggest decisions a landlord can make. If you’ve never rented out your property before, it can be difficult to know what criteria you should be looking at, and consequently, which tenants you should pick.
Instead of going at it alone, partner with a property manager to pick the right tenant, and manage the ongoing relationship. Property managers have professional experience dealing with many tenants and can handle any situation that’s thrown at them.
Want to Partner with a Property Manager from Windsor?
Are you looking to partner with a property management team in Windsor? Consider the team at Goldmar Property Management. As long-time area residents, we know the local market well and can step in to help landlords and tenants with any issue they may have, including listing rentals and finding the right tenant.
Give us a call today to find out which of our various service packages will work best for your needs.