Journalists, lawyers, landlords. They are up there with some of the most automatically despised people in society. Yet, there are some incredible investigative journalists who help solve crimes. There are human rights lawyers who work for free. Yes, there are also wonderful homeowners that treat tenants like gold. The funny thing is, these homeowners benefit from doing the right thing; happy tenants stay longer, meaning less time, lost rent and hassle finding new people to move in. People who treat their rental like a true home also make sure everything is looked after too. So, knowing that happy tenants are better tenants, here are some top tips on how to be a good landlord.
- Be a personable landlord
Those who rent from you are people. You’re a person too. Show it. Meet them face to face and show them around the property. Say thanks by buying a bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine to celebrate moving in. Be willing to chat through any concerns or questions your tenants have. Simple courtesy has a great way of coming back to you when you give it out. Respect your tenants and they’re more likely to respect you and your property in return.
- Set fair rent, just below market rates.
Wait. Below market rates? In this economy? Hear us out. If you set rent at €10 per week below the going rate, you’ll be able to select the very best tenants from the available pool and rent things out sooner. More importantly, if your current tenants know they’ve got a reasonable deal, they’re more likely to be happy where they are and less likely to shop around for somewhere new. Given the average rent in Ireland is over €1,200 per month, that measly €10 discount is covered in just 2 weeks and a lot of hassle is averted. Thanks, maths.
- Stay on top of maintenance
According to studies, around 50% of tenants experience poor communication or slow reaction to property issues from landlords. It’s the number one frustration for renters and something we’ve all experienced when dealing with poor customer service. If there’s ever an issue with the home you rent out, fix it right away. Be proactive with potential problems as well by patching them up regularly and making sure the tenants are happy with any adjustments. If you want to go the extra mile, ask the tenants if there are any niggling things they don’t like about the place. If they’re easy to fix, just do it. Again, someone that loves where they are is more likely to treat the home better and stay longer.
- Offer rental renewal early
Feeling secure in your home is something that reduces anxiety and helps foster wellbeing. There’s nothing worse than having a lease expiration looming and waiting to see if the homeowner is willing to renew for another year. If you are that homeowner, get on the front foot and let your tenants know 2-3 months beforehand that you’re happy to keep the agreement going. If you’re both willing, even look at extended terms. Less paperwork and hassle for both of you. A sense of security for everyone.
- Find the right tenant in the first place
It might be easy just to take the first tenant you know will pay the rent each month. While getting paid on time is obviously important, it’s far from the only factor. Better to think long term and match up your home with someone you know will be truly happy there. Look for someone who works nearby. See if there are sports facilities, restaurants or other good things you think will be a draw for the tenant. Speak with them about their needs. If things match up and they are a good fit then ensure paying rent won’t be an issue. It might sound like a bit of hard work, but really it comes back to being a person. A little thought, some listening and attentive questions, and you’ll find a great tenant who will treat your place like it’s their sanctuary.
To make finding the right tenant a little easier, HomeHak has set up a community of people looking for their dream home in Ireland. They’ve prepared comprehensive tenant CV’s and their details and references are available in advance. They have outlined the key things they’re looking for in a home, and are easily searchable “meaning you will never make a wrong decision again when it comes to finding a like-minded tenant that you know will stay for longer”. It’s all here at the click of a link.
Work space, rest space, play space, shared space. A home in this day and age is your office, sanctuary and cafe rolled into one. Having a place that allows for this flexibility in lifestyle is more important than ever in a connected world. So, it’s worth putting some extra thought into how you can rent a place that ticks all the boxes and maybe creates a few new ones in our ever-competitive rental market.
The first step is outlining your current situations. Yes, plural. Break your needs out into work, rest, exercise, socialising and eating. While the borders between these are actually fuzzy, it helps to make sure you’re thinking about the important factors for each facet of your life and how they fit in with your ideal home. First, work.
Where and how do you work?
Work is a massive part of our lives. Think about how this fits into where you live. For example, can you cut down your commute by finding a rental that’s close to the office? Does work allow you to do some days from home? If so, does your rental have a space available to let you get good work done? Does that space have a door to stop your roommate Brian from walking past your Zoom meetings wearing just his underwear? Come on, Brian, no one wants to see that. Asking a few of these key questions will help shape a picture of what your home will need to make the work part of your life as seamless as possible. Less stress here means less stress overall.
Will your rental help you unwind?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. Making sure you have good sleep and relaxation time means you’re happier and can enjoy the more exciting times to the full. So, think about whether you’ll be able to get proper rest at home. A room that will be quiet, has blinds to shut out light, and good temperature control are all key for sleep. A comfortable spot to lounge, watch the match or Netflix and chill is also essential these days too.
Are there opportunities to exercise nearby?
Getting motivated to get sweaty can be hard enough without putting a 45-minute drive in the way. So, whatever your preferred exercise is, make sure there are facilities near your home to let you do it easily. Yoga and pilates studios? Football or hurling grounds? Tennis courts? Good cycling routes to work? Some extra planning and thought into where your home is could mean you’ll stay fitter and therefore healthier and happier in the long run. It doesn’t hurt to have a good bar in between those places too, so you can reward yourself on the way home.
Will your home let you get social?
There are so many ways to stay social these days. Eat out with friends, eat in with friends, see a movie or go to the pub with friends. Targeting a rental that will allow you to get out and about, but also invite people over is a must when looking for a place to live. Having a place close to friends’ places is also a factor. Nothing better than being able to text a few of the lads or ladies and have a spur of the moment catch up. An adequate dining space is ideal if you can find it, but in lieu of that, great restaurants nearby can also be a social catalyst.
Do you cook, takeout or eat out?
Some people love nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen, making a home-cooked meal to rival mum’s roast dinners. Others prefer the convenience of Deliveroo or JustEat. Others still prefer to get out for some fine dining. Whatever your preference, scoping out your options is a critical element before deciding on the ideal zone for your rental property.
Once you’ve factored in work, rest, exercise, socialising and food, you’ll have a really good indication of the perfect place you want to be. Location isn’t the only factor, obviously. Good internet, cooking facilities and work/play spaces are all things to put in your checklist. The next step then is putting your needs out there and finding the rental that has it all. HomeHak is a platform that helps you do this and more. Check out how you can create a profile here which lists what you’re looking for in a home and guides you through creating a CV that landlords will jump at.
A little thought and the right tools will make it easier to find the right balance between work, rest, play and a social life worth calling friends about.
Most people looking for a place to rent in Ireland have two big questions looming large in their minds.
Can I afford it? and will I get it? While these are important questions, perhaps they’re not quite top of the list, longer term. According to the Good Home Report by the Happiness Research Institute, 73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in general. It makes sense then that the first things you might be asking instead are: will I love this place? will I thrive here? Just because you’re not in a position to buy (yet!), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be thinking of every place you look at as a potential ‘forever’ home. Why settle if there’s the option to start enjoying a house you love by putting in a little extra thought and effort? You could find the right place where you can be yourself, truly relax, and be happy now.
Here are some things to consider…
Will you feel proud to live there?
According to the Good Home Report mentioned above, the absolute number one criteria for whether a home helps bring happiness to your life is whether you’re proud to live there. While that might seem a little superficial at first, when you think about it, it makes sense. In a world where your true home is a reflection of your personality, if you’re not happy with your home, you’re not happy with yourself. You want to be able to invite friends and family over for a drink and get a glow when they walk through the door and smile.
Can you make the space your own?
The freedom to make a space your own will help you create a home that you’re proud of. In a rental, that’s not going to mean knocking down walls or doing bathroom renovations. However, it will likely mean hanging art, adding some indoor plants and curating furniture that’s comfortable. When looking for a place, make sure it has enough space to accommodate these prized elements. Having a good relationship with your landlord is a great way to make sure you’re both comfortable in making small cosmetic changes too. Counter to popular belief, most landlords aren’t moustache-twirling villains. They’re people. They want others to be happy in the home they’ve bought, so will often make concessions if they know it will make you more comfortable. They also know that happy tenants are more likely to pay rent on time and stay there long term. Better security for them. A better home for you.
Will you feel secure there?
Landlords aren’t the only ones who want a sense of security. When things are stable in our lives, that flows into our mental health. If things are uncertain, that’s when anxiety kicks in. Personal safety obviously is a must for all, as is financial security. Knowing you’re in a place you won’t get kicked out of is another piece to the well-being puzzle. When looking for a place to rent in Ireland, see what options you have for longer than normal term leases (if you’re happy with locking something in). Ask the landlord what they want in a tenant and make sure your needs match up too. Being mindful of the “people” element will help everyone feel better about their choices.
Is your rental convenient for your life?
45 minutes. That’s the amount of time that’s ‘bearable’ for any commute. Studies show traveling further than that means you’re much more likely to want to move. To keep things convenient and close, always look at where your rental is in relation to your work. It shouldn’t just stop at the office either. Is it close to places you like to exercise and socialise? Are there supermarkets within easy reach? Are there good takeaway options nearby for when you’re too fried after a long day to cook (or want a special treat)? A bit of thought and foresight here can make a huge difference in finding a rental where you’ll be at peak happiness. Since good coffee = happiness to many, make sure there are at least a couple of great cafes in the area too.
Who will live there with you?
Now that you’ve looked at the actual place you’re most likely to be happy in, you’ll want to give some thought into who’s going to live there with you. Hoping you’ll find random strangers to help pay the rent along the way is probably a poor strategy. Same for trawling Tinder for prospective housemates. Maybe you’ve got friends you know you’ll be comfortable living with? Work is another spot where you can match up with people who share at least one key criteria for home choice. The key here is to take the lead, figure out your own criteria for housemates and stick to them. It’s not just about paying the rent. It’s about sharing a vision on what makes a good home that makes all the difference.
By now, you might be thinking, this advice is all well and good, but I still need to be able to afford it and still need to get the place over other applicants. The housing market in Ireland is no fairyland. The thing is, we need to make the rental process more about our needs as tenants. We need to stand up for what we want in our ideal home and make them known to the world. Thankfully, platforms like HomeHak are flipping the script when it comes to matching renters with the right locations. HomeHak is even a great place to find other renters to team up with who share similar interests and home values as you. Check out how you can create a profile here which lists what you’re looking for in a home and guides you through creating a CV that potential landlords will jump at.
Beyond that, finding the best rentals is about forming a well thought out plan, going about it step-by-step, and persisting when things get hard. All worthwhile things in life take time and effort. Finding a rental you love is no exception.
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