Let me first preface this post with the statement that it is possible to attract quality residents to most units in most parts of town… It just might take more work and time to do so, which can hurt your returns. This post will focus on general principles.
Attracting good residents starts with the area where the property is located. Better schools, proximity to shopping or employment centers, as well as good freeway/highway access are all pluses. Areas that lack these traits can be more difficult to rent, so set yourself up in advance. Remember that residents don’t just live in your house or apartment. They are part of a larger community as well.
The subject property should be of high quality and well maintained. Appearances matter. You want someone that is attracted to what you have to offer. Someone that doesn’t care about the outward appearance of your property isn’t going to take very good care of it. Make sure the roof, fascia, and soffits are in good repair. The exterior paint should not be peeling and the landscape (which doesn’t need to be extravagant) should be well kept. Similarly, the interiors need to be a magnet. More money should go into the kitchen and baths since people spend much of their time in those rooms. Upgrade counters, tile, appliances and flooring if you can. A nice fix to the rest of the house is a trim package. New base and crown are not very expensive to install and add a lot of character to a room. If the carpet or flooring needs to be replaced do it. Don’t try to squeeze another year out of heavily worn flooring.
The last way to attract quality residents in a word is reputation. Be attentive (and not dismissive) of resident complaints or concerns. Handle maintenance requests promptly, and just as importantly use quality vendors to handle your work who will treat your residents in a professional manor.
Your business should be treated and run as a brand. The question is what kind of brand do you want to have?