On a mission to build a better real estate brand? Your tenants can be some of your best allies in gaining visibility and brand love. You just need to know how to leverage them well.
- Great Experiences for Prospective Renters
Whether or not prospective tenants rent from you or not, they should have a great experience interacting with you. They will still rant or rave about you to their friends and family, and online. Every interaction is a chance to boost your real estate brand, or destroy it. How are you blowing their minds and making sure you are memorable?
- Ask for Referrals
You’ve got to ask for the business. Ask for referrals, often. Ask before prospects apply to your units. Ask when they are moving in. Ask when you send receipts and renew leases. Ask at peak times of the year when there is a lot of moving activity, like summer.
- Reward Them for Referrals
Don’t just take. We are all so busy. Your tenants are probably busier than you, trying to keep up and pay that rent. So, reward them when they make referrals, and make sending referrals to you profitable. Maybe that is a household gift, Home Depot or Rooms to Go gift card, or it could be rent credits. What if they could earn free months of rent by making a certain number of successful referrals to you?
- Clear Expectations
The main reason most relationships breakdown and business relationships fall apart is due to expectations. Make sure tenants are 110% clear on what you expect of them, and of what they can expect from you, and not. Be there are move-ins to ensure those expectations are being upheld, and that they know what to expect and do when it is time to move out.
- Wow Them with Gifts
Everyone loves surprise gifts, and most people get too few of them. What if your landlord or mortgage company placed a mystery gift for your kids on your doorstep one Christmas? How would that make you feel? What if they sent a handyman by unexpectedly to see if you’d like a free upgrade on your ceiling fans, or to the thermostat, or security system? What if you got your next water bill, and found out they had paid it for you? What about birthday and anniversary presents which even close family members may forget?
- Ask for Reviews
Landlords, agents, and real estate companies live and die by their reviews today. If you don’t have reviews people will think you just started yesterday. So, ask for reviews from your tenants. Get them on Facebook, Google, Zillow, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. Just make it really easy and appealing for them to do so.
- Return Deposits Promptly
Eventually many tenants will move on. Make this an opportunity to boost your real estate brand too. You can either try to cheat them out of their deposit, and get a few extra bucks now, at the expensive of your future. Or you can surprise them with how honest and helpful you are, and turn them into brand ambassadors. Unless you really have reason to keep a part of their deposit, and there was malicious damage or they haven’t paid rent, then get that money back into their hands ASAP. Otherwise it is just a legal liability that could cost you 2-100x more.
- Give Them a Growth Path
Just as if you don’t give your staff a growth path with you, tenants will leave too. Eventually people will want to move up, or need to downsize, or move to another location. It’s on you if you lose their business at that point, or not. Are you reaching out regularly and early to renew leases, and let them know about other rentals you have locally or in other cities? The smartest will have housing options to fit the full lifecycle needs of their customers. You might even branch out from student housing through assisted living facilities for seniors.
- Go Above & Beyond, When Things Go Wrong
It’s not when things go well that determines your brand, it is when things go wrong. It’s how you react. Do you hide from the phone and wait till things get worse? Or do you step up and wow them by doing more than they expect? Do you get help out there the same day? Do you offer to put them up somewhere else temporarily?
- Brand Your Properties
If you are really doing a great job of rehabbing and maintaining your rental homes, you should be proud to put your brand on them. People should be asking for homes from your brand. They should be seeking them out in their first Google searches when looking for somewhere to rent. When they realize they are in one, they should be giving a sigh of relief that they are in a safe and healthy home they can be proud to live in.