Today I want to share with you some of the best tips I know for increasing the rental return of your investment property.

Before you market the property

Don't scrimp on professional photography.  A professional photographer will highlight the best features of your property and de-emphasise the worst features. 

Ensure that the written part of the ad makes sense, is free of spelling errors and reads well.  You're trying to attract a certain type of tenant: one who will take pride in your property and look after it.  That type of tenant will be attracted to a professional ad.

Get an excellent landlord insurance policy.  Check what it covers and what it doesn't cover.  If you are in a flood prone area, ensure it covers floods.

If the property needs minor repairs and maintenance - complete these before you show the property for the first time. 

A coat of paint, new carpet, new blinds - these make a huge difference.

After you market the property

Provide excellent service to prospective tenants. Show the property even if it's not open for inspection. Allow tenants to ask questions and answer them honestly. Make sure the property is always well-presented when you show it. It you've chosen a property management company, ensure that they hold high standards for presenting properties during open homes.

When you receive an application, process it as soon as you are able to.  Keep the tenant in the loop as to where you're up to with their application.

If the tenant has a pet, try to accommodate their application.  Many people have beloved pets and find it very hard to find a rental property.  You might wish to increase the rent slightly, and if you do allow a pet, ensure that your landlord insurance policy covers for damage from the pet - otherwiseyou'll need to come to an agreement with the tenant about possible damage from their pet. 

Once the tenant is in

Tenants are normal people, like you and me.  If you wouldn't live there, don't expect your tenants to.  If you wouldn't put up with whatever the tenant is complaining about - don't expect the tenant to.  Generally speaking, if you look after your tenant well, they'll look after your property.

A thorough condition report (including photos) completed by you and the tenant is really important.  If there are any discrepancies, make a time to visit your tenant and discuss these with them.