So the yard sign was working great when we were new. The neighbors worked great for tenants and sources as we started to build our portfolio. And now that we are established, our existing tenants are our No. 1 source for our new tenants. This doesn’t mean you have to de- velop personal relationships with your tenants. Actually, I am suggesting the opposite. Just be deliberate, profes- sional, unwavering and committed to your business principles. The way to create productive and effective business relationships with your tenants is to treat them fairly and ethically and be responsive and professional. MAKE CUSTOMER SERVICE A PRIORITY Because we take care of our existing tenants, they stick around. And in the event we do have an opening, they are quick to find us a new tenant to fill it. There is a great point often missed, especially by part-time investors or landlords who are not yet fully vested in their business. They can become lacka- daisical and ignore a critical component of your real estate investment business. And that is customer service. You are no different from the owner of the local parlor around the corner or the local dry cleaner or the local oil change facility. Your reputation as a landlord, just

cated saying, “Hey, we’ve been on this street for over 10 years in this current rental, and we would now like to relo- cate into yours. We heard it’s coming available, and we’re ready.” 3 THE POWER OF YOUR REPUTATION AMONG EXISTING TENANTS Today we rarely advertise a property when it goes vacant. All we do is cir- culate among our existing tenants that we have a property coming available. We don’t need to do the yard sign any more. We simply send out an email or text describing the property we have, where it is, what it rents for and when it is becoming available. We have seen over time our exist- ing tenants are our best source for new tenants. They even approach us, unsolicited, almost on a regular basis saying, “Hey, if you have anything available or when you do, let us know, because I have a friend who is looking for a property and would like to occu- py” one of our properties.

Tenants will talk, obviously, as they are out in the front yard or at the mail- box or at a social gathering. And word quickly travels as to who is happy with their landlord and who is not. If your tenants speak poorly of you, it’s go- ing to be very difficult to find an occupant for that rental the next time it goes vacant. Those tenants will talk to other potential tenants, and word travels fast that, “Hey, you might want to avoid that particular property due to the landlord.” For us, the opposite was true, and we were able to leverage and take advantage of our good reputation. Our tenants talked among the other tenants around that particular property, and they talked positively. We took care of our tenants. We took care of the property, and we took care of the yard. We did the proper maintenance. We were responsive, we were ethical, and we were fair. By the time the second tenants moved out due to that divorce situa- tion, the neighbors two doors down were calling us before they even va-

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Kevin Guz is a Dallas, Texas-based residential real estate investor with more than 10 years of investing experience. He owns a HomeVestors (or “We Buy Ugly

Houses”) franchise as well as the Clear Key compa- nies, which focus on residential real estate wholesal- ing, rental property management and self-storage leasing. He also is a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas. He enjoys sharing his ongoing personal experiences, perspectives and learnings from his start as a part-time or “weekend investor” and full-time corporate professional through his ultimate transition to a full-time real estate investor and business owner. You can listen to his podcasts at

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