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    5 Positive Traits Military Renters Look for in a Landlord

    As a military family who has lived in rented homes for more than 20 years of active duty service, we’re very aware of which types of landlords operate in the income property game. When we meet potential landlords for the first time, it becomes obvious which personality we’ll deal with for the next two to three years. Sometimes, that personality can make or break the rental deal.

    We’ve had our share of negligent, hands-off, and mediocre landlords, but we’ve also rented homes from a couple of pros, too. Looking back, there’s definitely a collection of positive traits that made the prepared landlords our favorites. 

    So, if you’re a new or experienced landlord with a rental property business and want to know how to find the best military tenants, these are the five qualities we look for in a potential landlord.

    Casual young woman using laptop and cellphone on sofa at homePhoto from Shutterstock 

    Top Traits for a Military Landlord

    1) Regular communication.

    I don’t mean daily phone calls. I mean a seasonal email or text to inquire about issues that pop up, like a gutter that needs repair or a dripping sink faucet. If you don't live near your rental properties, it's essential that you ask your renters about big-picture maintenance such as power washing the house. If you’re not local, you won’t see how badly the deck stain is chipping or how overgrown the tree limbs have become.

    2) Proactive.

    Before new renters arrive, they deserve a house that is a blank slate. Inheriting ongoing and unknown-to-us problems (leaky pipes, plumbing issues) is unfair. Also, during the screening process, run a background check on us. We don’t mind, and hope it alleviates some of the trepidation of having strangers live in your home. Trust is important in this partnership.

    Too many landlords let inconveniences slide because they weren’t prepared to spend the money. Unfortunately, this leads to renters that resent your inattentiveness and are less likely to report problems that could lead to major repairs in the future.

    Hardworking businesswoman concentrating on her work as she sits paging through a binder of paperwork at her desk in the officePhoto from Shutterstock

    3) Preparedness.

    At each new rental house, I hope to see the three-ring binder filled with manuals, lists of repair companies, maintenance schedules, and multiple inventory sheets for the initial walk-through. Each home has unique features, and it’s easy to reference a manual that describes the ancient fuse box or how to work the sump pump correctly. In this case, more is more—pile on the information! It’s surprising how few landlords assemble this paperwork. Providing these documents protects both the owner and renter.

    Are you wondering what to add to your rental binder? Look no further than 11 Essentials for Your Rental Home Binder.

    4) Financial stability.

    It’s easy to become a landlord and cash rent checks, but it’s hard to become a responsible homeowner capable of financing a new HVAC system when the current unit dies during a heat wave in August. Renters want to take care of their temporary home, but hearing about the owner’s money woes and flat-out refusals, albeit polite refusals, to fix legitimate problems is very stressful. For example, it’s morally challenging for reliable tenants to request a replacement for a broken dishwasher after learning their landlord’s divorce has wiped them out financially. Remember, this is a business.

    young woman painting a wallPhoto via Shutterstock 

    5) Acceptance.

    Renters have various levels of house operation knowledge. Please don’t assume we know how to locate the main water valve in your 1950s home (tell us in the three-ring binder!). I do a great job painting walls and decorating your rental home, but I can’t fix a broken light switch even if the previous renters could. Some upkeep chores are easy for handy renters; other renters find repairs challenging, so it’s probably more cost-effective to have professionals handle the problems.

    The bottom line is, property owner responsibility, so ask yourself, “Would my own family be happy and comfortable in this rental property?” The answers will guide you to what your property should look and feel like for each set of tenants. 

    Don’t venture into the world of rental homes without some guidance. Landlords and renters alike will find multiple resources at MilitaryByOwner for navigating the entire rental process, including property management, marketing your home, tenant applications and screening, searching for a home, signing a lease, and so much more. Download our free guide for landlords below!

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    What Military Renters Look for in a Landlord

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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