Corporate landlords completely dominate some rental markets. They own multiple properties in the region, have vast corporate resources at their disposal, and may have the strongest marketing presence in your area. However, you have several advantages on your side as a private landlord that these big business property owners can't touch.
Tenants under corporate landlords may deal with multiple property managers. Communication is difficult when it's passed off to different managers, locations and departments. You can take advantage of this problem by emphasizing the personal touch that you bring to the table. Tenants can reach you through convenient methods, such as instant messenger and texting.
Work With Non-Ideal Tenants
Corporate landlords have strict tenant qualification standards they can't alter. These rigid policies can turn away otherwise qualified tenants who may fall outside of the standard "perfect" tenant profile. Some examples of quality tenants who may not pass corporate landlord standards include post-bankruptcy people with clean payment histories after they filed, people with only medical collections on their credit report and tenants who have a few missed payments from years ago. You don't want to introduce high-risk tenants to your property and deal with a high turnover rate, but some people fall through the cracks of corporate policies.
Flexible Pet Policies
Liability issues with corporate property insurance may restrict certain dog breeds or a particular weight. You may have potential pet owners lacking rental options if corporate landlords own many properties in your region. Consider partnering with dog walkers, mobile dog groomers, and other dog-related small businesses to cater to this tenant market.
Offer the Amenities that Matter
Corporate properties have standardized amenities that are appealing to a broad range of tenants, but they may choose these offerings based on the marketing appeal instead of the biggest tenant benefits. Pinpoint the amenities that improve your tenants' quality of life, such as powerful washers and dryers and well-maintained common areas. Focus on their day-to-day living experience in your property and not the amenities that fail to add functionality.
Engage with Your Tenants
You are often the single point of contact for your tenants. Form a friendly and professional relationship with your tenants to create that personal relationship that they can't get with a corporate landlord. Send cards for their birthday and important holidays, send an occasional email checking in on your tenants and your property and keep the lines of communication open. If tenants are comfortable communicating with you, they can also give you notice if they aren't going to renew their lease or if there are maintenance issues with the property.
Utilize Property Management Software to Automate Processes
Corporate landlords have a lot of resources at their disposal. You can't keep up with the staff numbers these companies have, but you can utilize technology to make your job easier. A property management software helps you automate or streamline many processes. You can use this software to keep track of your tenants and applications, collect rental payments, file maintenance requests and screen tenants.
Corporate landlords typically rely on an in-house maintenance team or one all-inclusive service. If the service lacks specialty contractors or has inconsistent quality, these properties may have a problem with getting needed work done. You can work with many tradespeople and contractors to find the right fit for you. You get to avoid being locked into contracts or long-term commitments until you find the team that's perfect for you.
Focus on a Quality Tenant Experience
Collect feedback from your current tenants to discover how to create a quality tenant experience. You can use this information to keep your tenants renewing their leases and optimizing your rental properties for new tenants. You can send out an email poll asking for feedback or reach out to tenants through your social media page for the information.
Upgrade Rental Units
Corporate landlords have to renovate entire buildings or multiple properties when they undertake rental unit upgrades. These companies may wait until the carpet is worn through, the paint is peeling and the appliances are 20 years out of date before doing a mass upgrade. You can update on a small-scale basis, so you can continually improve the quality of your rental units. For long-term tenants, you can perform top priority upgrades, such as swapping out kitchen appliances or providing a monthly cleaning service.
Maximize Your Local Connections
Corporate landlords have larger advertising budgets, but you can maximize your marketing opportunities by getting involved with your local community. Bigger businesses may not have any local ties outside of their properties, so you gain that advantage. You can obtain local advertising opportunities with small businesses and partner with these companies for unique amenities and incentives for your tenants.
All is not lost when you compete against corporate landlords. You have several advantages with your personal touch, local connections and relationship-building opportunities with your tenants. Technology can help you level the playing field. Leverage your flexibility and small scale to provide your rental market with appealing properties that serve tenants that corporate landlords pass over.
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