Five Power Tips for Landlords to Find the Best Tenants in the East Bay
By Jan Feagley
The Bay Area real estate market is strong, but even with high demand for housing, it’s never easy to find the right tenants for your rental property.
As you probably already know, finding a quality tenant can be a time‐consuming process. You need to market the property, field inquiries, and then set up viewing appointments.
Many times, you’ll find yourself waiting at a vacant apartment for your appointment only to be stuck with a no show. We’ve been there too.
While some owners might prefer a “do‐it‐yourself” approach when handling their properties, there are many benefits to letting a property management company tackle all the logistics for you.
Feagley Realtors is experienced in handling this process for clients as part of our property management services. We’ve been in the real estate business since the 1970’s and have managed over 10 home owners associations along with hundreds of apartments and homes in Berkeley, Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany and beyond.
Here are some of our power tips for finding tenants in the East Bay.
1. Get Word of Mouth Referrals
As the old cliché goes, there is nothing better than word of mouth referrals. Be sure to network with the community, so you are the first in line for the best tenants.
Jerry and I make it a point to always talk to neighbors and that creates many word of mouth referrals. People seeking rentals frequently approach us for advice and let us know when they are looking. When they are out for a walk, they stop by our office and grab a rental property flyer.
My husband, Jerry, and I are officers in the Richmond and El Cerrito Rotaries and are members of the Richmond Yacht Club as well as many East Bay Chambers of Commerce. These connections give us a wide referral network and we use that network to help you find tenants.
2. Social Media Marketing
These days, one of the best ways to get the word out about your vacant property is through online listings and social media marketing. Everybody knows about Craigslist, but that’s just a start.
At Feagley Realtors, we handle rental marketing by listing the property widely across various rental listing services, including heavily used real estate websites such as Zillow, which garner a large number of views. We also add our rental listings to our website and promote them through social media such as Facebook and Nextdoor. We also send out our listings to tenants through email blasts.
3. Respond to Inquiries as Quickly as Possible
When the rental inquiries come in, you need to be ready to respond quickly. If you work full time, that’s difficult to do. You may find that your prospective tenants find another property before you even have a chance to show off your awesome place on the weekend.
At Feagley Realtors, our team is ready and available to respond quickly to the typically large influx of phone and email inquiries received about a rental property. We will then set up and attend viewing appointments to show units to potential tenants at their convenience.
Showing properties can be a huge time‐saver for property owners as it is not uncommon to have no‐shows at appointments.
4. Avoid the Scam Artists
Some landlords who come to us share sad stories of previous nightmare tenants. If that’s your experience, we sympathize. Unfortunately, you are not alone. Unless you are thorough in your tenant screening and vetting, it’s easy to be scammed.
We’ve found over the years that potential tenants who come to a professional property management company (as opposed to an individual landlord) are less likely to be scam artists. They know that they can’t get away with fake references or misleading applications.
We thoroughly conduct tenant screening, including background and credit checks. We always call multiple references and not just the current landlord.
5. Know Local Landlord Tenant Laws
If you are a Richmond, Berkeley or Oakland landlord, you should become very familiar with local real estate regulations, rent control, just cause and other tenant’s rights laws. Let us know if you have questions!
Here are some helpful articles outlining landlord and tenant rights in local East Bay markets:
Landlord’s responsibilities in Richmond:
Tenant’s rights in Berkeley: