Six ways to build up your property rental business

Building up a “rental book” – a portfolio of properties which you rent out to tenants on behalf of landlords – is a great way to increase and steady the cash flow in a real estate business, but many owners and principals don’t really know how to win more rental management contracts from landlords.

Here are some expert suggestions, courtesy of Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s biggest mortgage originator:

Tap into your existing network

The easiest and most cost-effective way to start building up your book is through the people with whom you currently already have relationships, especially those with whom you contact on a daily basis.

“You should never be afraid to ask for new business or referrals from friends or colleagues who may be struggling with a rental management problem. You will often find it resolves a problem for them, while at the same time boosting your revenue,” says Mr Rademeyer.

Put someone on the task full-time.

If you want to increase your rental management book and thrive, you need a person who is permanently looking for new customers and keeping in touch with existing ones. The ideal person for this task is someone with sales and customer relations skills who is 100% dedicated to acquiring and retaining rental business.

Build and maintain a database

It’s important to keep up-to-date contact details: landlords; tenants; tradespeople; prospective investors; prospective tenants; past landlords; past tenants; and past home sellers and buyers.

Communicate with all these people regularly, perhaps via a monthly newsletter. Increase business by offering incentives for landlords to transfer other properties to your agency, incentives for referrals that lead to new business, and incentives for tenants who purchase a new home through your agency.

Use proven rental property management software

Mr Rademeyer notes that there are several excellent systems available that will enable you to easily keep track of your mandates, deposits, rental payments, lease details and renewal dates, maintenance requirements and the profitability of your rental book. Some will even enable you to run credit and tenant history checks on potential tenants and generate standard lease and other documents that are regularly updated and fully legally compliant.

Reward any of your own team members who bring in new rental business

If one of your agents has just sold an investment property to a landlord and persuaded them to let your company manage it, you should have a system in place to reward their hard work. You should also ensure that your sales staff always have your rental management marketing material on hand so that no opportunity is missed.

Advertise your rental listings everywhere

Use local noticeboards and smaller newspapers as well as the classifieds in bigger papers and online property portals. Mr Rademeyer adds that agents should not forget to work on their own website so that when tenants (and landlords) visit, it is attractive and easy for them to find the information they require, especially your contact details. “These days, it is also increasingly important to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly because most people now access the internet via their smartphones.”