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How Established Timelines Protect Your Investment

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How Established Timelines Protect Your Investment

David Pickron

Perhaps nowhere is the saying “time is money” more applicable than in our industry. Each of us is well aware of the cost of leaving a property vacant for more than a month and is painfully aware of the impact it can have on your bottom line. Experience has taught us that to protect your investment, you need to establish strict timelines to ensure your bottom line is always positive. This starts from your first interaction with a potential tenant and continues all the way through the move-out process.

Here’s my advice for setting a timeline for the first three key parts of the rental process:

Filling in the application form-

I recommend setting a strict deadline for completing the application. My standard practice is to give applicants 24 hours between showing the property and completing their application. This gives you time to show the property to other potential tenants so they don’t have to wait days or weeks to decide if they want it.

Depositing funds –

Once your application is approved and you’ve completed the onboarding process, you’ll be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit within 24 hours to secure the property. Some landlords prefer to get a deposit before the application process, but personally, I find it cumbersome to have to refund a deposit if you’re not approved. Also, if you can get onboarding done quickly, you’ll be able to get deposits from qualified people quickly. Again, this is up to you to decide, but apply it to all your tenants.

Paying rent and moving into the property

They may seem like the same thing, but they are quite different. This is especially true regarding funding sources. With the increased government involvement in housing, especially Section 8, the government is trying to control the timelines surrounding your property. If you decide to rent to someone receiving government assistance, the process takes two months to complete. In this case, are you prepared to give up two months of rent while waiting for your application and the property to be approved? I would demand that you pay the first month’s rent and take possession within two weeks of signing the rental agreement.

This process may seem obvious to many experienced landlords. But I have one question: Should I include these timelines in my detailed terms before anyone applies? The answer is a resounding yes! For us as landlords, with the recent spate of tenant complaints and fair housing issues, sharing the required timelines in your terms shows that you have strict written policies and are serious about treating everyone equally. As landlords, we know that things and markets change. If you need to change your terms timeline, simply document the change and date it on your terms sheet. If today you are requesting a 2 week move-in, there is no reason you can’t change your terms to 4 weeks tomorrow if needed. Always, always, always document. If you would like a sample of detailed written criteria, [email protected] I’d be happy to send you a copy.

David Pickron is President of Rent Perfect, a private investigator and fellow landlord who manages all kinds of rental properties. To stay up to date with the latest industry news and expert tips on property management, subscribe to his weekly Rent Perfect podcast (available on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts).

National REIA members receive special pricing on RentPerfect, the tenant screening and management solution for rental property owners and managers. Learn more Visit to learn more Click here for details Or call us at 1-877-922-2547.

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