10 Must-Know Tips for New Landlords in NJ

Dated: May 22 2023

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Securing the right tenant is a critical process for any landlord, particularly in a vibrant and competitive market such as New Jersey. Here is how you can treat your property like a business and approach this task systematically:

 

Be Hyper-Aware of the Condition/Location of Your Property:

Ensure the property is in top condition prior to any showings or open houses will attract the pool of high-quality applicants you intended. Address any maintenance issues, perform necessary repairs, and ensure all utilities are functioning properly. Consider investing in professional home inspection services to identify potential issues that may not be immediately apparent. Improve the property's curb appeal as it significantly impacts first impressions. Maintain the lawn, garden, and exterior paint. Make sure the interior is equally appealing; fresh paint, adequate lighting, and well-maintained fixtures can enhance the property's overall aesthetic.

 

Cleanliness:

Cleanliness is paramount when showing a property. A clean and well-organized home speaks volumes about how the property has been maintained and can significantly influence a potential tenant's decision. Consider professional cleaning services to ensure the property is spotless, particularly in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Ensure carpets are professionally cleaned, windows are sparkling, and any unpleasant odors are addressed.

 

Strategic Pricing:

Pricing your property competitively is crucial to attract multiple applications. Conduct a thorough market analysis to understand the prevailing rental rates for similar properties in your area. Overpricing may deter potential tenants, while underpricing could result in lost income. Consider the property's unique features, the local amenities, and the overall demand in the market when determining your rental rate. Adjust the price as needed based on the response from potential tenants.

 

Understanding Your Ideal Tenant:

Before starting your search, define your ideal tenant. This may include financial stability, a clean background, and reliability. Be clear on what you require: a good credit score, no criminal history, and proof of steady income might be top on your list.

 

Use a Reliable Screening Service:

In New Jersey, we recommend using a service such as the independently operated National Tenant Network (NTN), a third-party organization that provides comprehensive tenant background reports. This service offers insights into a prospective tenant’s credit history, previous tenancy records, and any criminal history, if applicable. A small fee of ~$50 payable by the applicant ensures you make informed leasing decisions.

 

Setting Expectations Regarding Deposits and Fees:

Ensure potential tenants understand their financial obligations, which include the first month's rent, a security deposit of up to 1½ month's rent, and a broker fee of one month's rent. Being transparent from the start can prevent misunderstandings later.

 

Assessing the Application:

Once the potential tenant submits their application package, which includes a cover letter, NTN report, proof of income, and evidence of available funds, carefully review these materials. In a situation where you have multiple applicants, these documents will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of each applicant's credentials.

Lease Agreement and Negotiation:

After you have chosen the ideal tenant, work with your agent to draft a lease agreement. This contract should clearly outline all the terms of the tenancy, including the duration, payment terms, rules regarding the use of space, and utilities. After signing the lease and receiving the necessary payments from the tenant, the property will be under contract.

 

Requiring Renters Insurance:

Landlords are often advised, and it is a good practice, to require tenants to secure a renter’s insurance policy prior to moving in. This protects both you and the tenant from unforeseen circumstances.

 

Welcoming the Tenant:

Once all the formalities are done, welcome your tenant to their new home. Be ready to answer any questions they might have about the property, utilities, and community information.

 

Remember, finding the right tenant can take time. Stay patient and adhere to your standards and requirements. By doing so, you increase the chances of a long-term, mutually beneficial tenant-landlord relationship.

Additional resource(s):

Truth in Renting: A guide to the rights and responsibilities of residential tenants and landlords in New Jersey


written by MOSES OLIVA

©2023 Moses X.O. & Associates, LLC. All rights reserved. All content including the presentation thereof is the property of Moses X.O. & Associates, LLC. and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. You may not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, modify, create derivative works, or in any other way exploit any part of copyrighted material without the prior written permission from Moses X.O. & Associates, LLC. The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of Weichert® .

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Moses Oliva

Moses Oliva is a licensed Real Estate Broker Associate with Weichert Realtors® where he is a top performer. Moses was recently selected to chair of the NJ Association of Realtors® Po....

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