Renters' Criteria?

Hey All, on another post in the Beginner etc… section, someone share a few thoughts on their opinion of what a renters main criteria are when searching for a rental. So, I thought it would be a good idea to have everyone’s input as to what you believe are the most important criteria that a renter looks for. If you are able to, label them from most important to least important.

I’m not asking for all factors that influence the decision though.

So, for me, being a renter until just recently, here is what would have been my criteria (consider the fact that I am from Hawaii):

  1. Location (distance from important places such as work as well as the surrounding area)
  2. Safety (I guess this sort of was also about location for me)
  3. Cost

Not quite 5, but there wasn’t much else to consider where I am from. However, now being in Alaska, if I were to have to rent again for some reason, my criteria would be quite different.

So, in your opiinon, what is the most important criteria that renters in your area consider?

Those are some things renters look for - for sure.

Another big thing is the appearance of the property.

Lower income renters are very simple - as long as you have the place clean, with decent but cheap paint / flooring / etc, they will be happy. Sometimes those guys are even content with no garbage disposals and dishwashers even!

Middle income renters tend to have higher expectations…nice carpet, more modern and nicer looking appliances in the kitchen, etc.

Upper income renters tend to have the highest expectations…granite countertops, 2" wood blinds, even custom paint in a rental shouldn’t be out of the norm for these guys. However “upper income” renters tend to not be seen as often, as frequently these folks tend to buy property more than rent it.

I deal exclusively with low income renters. Some try to act picky, but the reality is that they simply don’t have the money to have options or demand certain things. You always hear of the most important thing with Real Estate is location, location, location. I’ve yet to have anyone ask me or care what school district one of our houses is in. It’s like motivatedceo said. They just want something functional and clean. Most of our houses don’t have dishwashers. None of them have garbage disposals. We try to clean up the houses as best we can, buy we’re not going to extra expense to make anything ornate or decorative. Basic, safe, and clean is what they get. If someone doesn’t like it, I’ve got plenty of other people who will take it instead.

I think some of it depends on the gender of the renter. Single women will not live in a neighborhood that they don’t feel safe in. On the other hand single men will live anywhere and then move friends in to split the rent.
So I’m going to go with location but then I’m also looking to cater to middle income renters.

Rogelio i experienced in my career that men don’t bother sophistication or furnished accommodation. they live any where where rent is low and better transportation facility available, even in hell if it is available at lowest cost :biggrin
but in case of family, u have to cosider many aspects. i lost two good deals in the last year just because the lady did not like kitchen. she was a house wife and she told me that she expend her considerable time in kitchen. first she object the placement of kitchen, than its fabric and began to continue non stop… like colour, paint, tiles etc. but one thing i mention there that they wanted to buy not to rent!
thee second thing that family seeks is better location. security and availability of community centers or clubs.
furnished bathrooms are also take preside the ordinary one!
rest of the things are same as other member point out!

Wow, great posts all around. Thanks so much for your input.

CEO, that is a very interesting point that i had never really taken into account. Where I’m from, laidback is the norm. But, most people didn’t use diswashers there. LOL. Dishwasher’s were often called children. LOLOL.

Justin, I’m glad to have your experience developed opinions on this one. That is a good point. I can’t recall, do you do all of your own managing and, if you do, how has turnover been? How do you recommend finding the cream of the crop in terms of lower income renters?

NREI, This is another point that I should be taking into consideration. Do you perhaps recommend focusing your marketing efforts in a particular way if you happen to have a home that would suit a particular gender more? As you said, most single males aren’t going to be as concerned with safety than a single female would be.

Perhaps we can use the information gathered on this thread for noobs like to me to know where to focus our attention first; to set our priorities.

So, just in terms of things that we can affect, as landlords, what do you recommend focusing your efforts on first?

For me, that would be safety first, since I can’t really affect the location after I’ve purcahsed. But, in regards to improvements and repair, which areas do you find to be most important?

For example, the last house I rented before I purchased, they didn’t disclose to us that the oven didn’t work. Our cooking style is almost 50% baking stuff so an oven was essential. We actually went out and bought a new stove just so we could have an oven.

We do all of our own management. Turnover is usually low. I run criminal background checks on all applicants as well as checking for evictions, civil judgments, etc. I can accept some mistakes like misdemeanors, but I wouldn’t rent to someone w/ a recent eviction or civil judgment. For the amount of property we have, I think we have pretty low turnover.
For low income tenants, people need to understand that some of them can be cleaner and more responsible than people paying straight rent. Sect 8 has a bad connotation. They’re not all bad folks. A lot of our recent tenants have been referred by our current tenants. The other thing to realize w/ Sect 8 is that if they misbehave, they get kicked off the program. They can re-apply later (I think after a year where I am), but it can take a long time on the wait list again before they get their voucher and can rent from you. When people come look at our houses, they can tell we take pride in them. I let them know up front what the rules are. That and the screening process helps drive away the trash. Some still slip thru. If you do this enough, you’ll have to evict and go after people for money at some point. You just try to minimize that part and maximize profits on the rest.
As far as marketing to specific people or types of people, BE VERY VERY CAREFUL!!! Did I get the point across there? Check out the “protected classes” for equal housing laws. If you deny someone, you’d better make sure it’s not because of any of those protected classes or they could sue you. I see ads all the time about large families need not apply or mature adults only. You can’t rule people out based on protected classes. Now if you can find another reason to deny them, you’ll be fine. I would not advertise a place and market it toward women specifically or anything like that.
For focusing your efforts:
You want to make the house as presentable as possible. There are people out there who will just buy whatever and throw someone in there. We fix what needs fixing, paint what needs it, and supply appliances. We always supply a refrigerator, stove, heating, and air. A/C is not even a requirement for Sect 8…only heat, but we provide A/C anyway. I’ve seen several people rent houses without a fridge. If I’m a renter, I have my furnishings, but I’m probably not toting around a fridge when I move.
Paint and cleaning up makes a huge difference. I’ve rented houses that didn’t look the best outside, but the inside was pretty decent. During good weather, I try to get around to our properties and do whatever outside painting is needed.
Don’t think you have no control over an area either. We bought a house a couple years ago that had a house next to it with a huge tree on top of it. Some of the branches were even hanging over onto our property. I called the city to see if I could get anything done about it. About two to three weeks later, that was an empty lot next door with nothing but dirt. So you never know. There’s a burned out house across the street from some properties we bought last week so that’s my next house to try and get leveled.

LOL, I read my post after I posted it and thought to myself, man, that could easily be misconstrued. LOL. No, i didn’t mean to rule anyone out or to be biased. Equal opportunity for sure, I only meant that if you have a home that would better suit a single female (Such as a single mom for example), how could you focus your marketing for more exposure to single females? For example, there are places that offer assistance specifically to single moms. Perhaps contacting them and seeing if they will tell others or, if they’re not allowed to solicit, then see if you can post something in their bulletin board or window.

If a gentleman happens to find the ad and he is qualified and passes all screening, I will not prevent him from renting. Hey, money is money. LOL.