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Buying Rental Property and Controlling the Tenant Experience

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buying rental propertyI’m obsessed with everything Apple. I own a MacBook Pro laptop, an iPhone, iPad and two Apple TV boxes. The family desktop computer is an iMac. My daughters both have iPad minis. My wife also has an iPhone and iPad.

It’s not just Apple’s intuitive design and ease of use that I love. What I appreciate most is the look and feel of their devices. They’re perfect.

Last week I finished reading the new book, Becoming Steve Jobs. Authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli weave a fascinating tale of a man obsessed with controlling the customer experience. Steve Jobs had incredible instincts and knew exactly what the electronics consumer wanted long before the days of smart phones and tablets.

We strive for something similar with all of our Milwaukee single-family and multi-family homes. You see there’s more to buying rental property than cashing a rent check every month. While most landlords treat their tenants like a nuisance, we think of them as VIP customers. Like Steve Jobs, we want to control the tenant experience.

What does that mean?

Simply put we want our tenants to feel like they’re doing business with a friendly professional company that provides clean, quality, nearly-perfect housing.

For example, earlier this week we had new tenants move into the upstairs unit of one of our duplexes in the Riverwest area. We set an appointment with them a week in advance and provided them with our contact information. During the walkthrough they were given instructions for turning on utilities and parking information. We also encouraged them to call us if there were any issues. Of course, the unit was thoroughly cleaned beforehand and we made sure all of the lights, appliances and fixtures were working properly.

This may all sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many landlords bother to even show up at the property to meet the tenant prior to move in. Many owners we know just leave a key under the mat for the renter and hope they never call again.

Today’s renter wants to know you’re there for them and that you care about the property. It’s your attention to detail that makes good tenants great. And great tenants will lease your property forever.