Being a new investment or between tenants, regardless of the reason why a property is vacant, landlords should aim for the fastest possible occupancy. Every day with no tenants means money loss, putting the investment at risk, especially if a mortgage is involved. The goal is to have all properties rented 100% of the time, which can be challenging during pandemic times. Here are eight expert tips on how to find the right tenants quickly and reduce vacancy.
Hit The Pricing Nail On The Head
Wrong pricing can cost you precious time, which is so critical in today’s rental market. Overpriced property risks getting stuck in the listings for a while, eating up your rent, and reducing the chances to find good tenants. On the other hand, it’s a shame to give up the money your asset is worth and deserves.
Search for similar (size, bedrooms and bathroom number, age and condition) rentals in your area. Watch how quickly the listings disappear. This will indicate the successful ones. You can always call or even have a tour or two to deepen the research. An alternative for busy landlords would be working with a real estate agent or get an accurate rental estimate from experts.
Be Proactive With Current Tenants
Reach out to your current tenants enough time (2-3 months) ahead of lease expiration to ask whether they are planning to stay. Depending on the situation you can discuss a small or no rent increase or maybe a little incentive to keep the good tenants. In case they decide to move out you have enough time to get the property organized and listed to fill the vacancy quickly. Also, if you routinely perform property inspections and stay on top of maintenance, you not only being a great landlord but also have no surprises waiting for you when tenants leave.
Make Value-Adding Improvements/Quick Win Fixes
Perform a series of quick improvements that will bring the apartment in line with the market standards and even make it stand out of the competition. Consider touching up paint, cleaning carpets, fixing window blinds, etc. The earlier you have a list of needed improvements, the faster you’ll be able to turn the property over.
Use Quality Photos And Detailed Listings
Good photos and detailed well-written listings can significantly shorten the time of the property on the market. Pictures of the unit catch home-seekers attention and impact their decision to check the offer deeper. It is worth investing in high-quality photos, by either hiring a photographer or taking a couple of well-thought shots yourself. While doing so keep in mind what people are looking for and try to find the angles and setups that do justice to the unit. While playing up the strengths, keep it honest and show what the apartment looks like.
As for the listing writeups, the idea is to be maximally specific and comprehensive. People, who know what they are looking for, will recognize whether the apartment fits their criteria and will be quick to grab it in case it does. Spending time on the photos and writeups pays off in acquiring quality tenants, who usually have high standards for living spaces.
Expand Your Reach
Don’t limit yourself to one channel while listing your unit. Here’s the list of the most common ways to market a property. Use them all:
- Post your listing on rental websites and social media.
- Work with realtors. In addition to market expertise, convenience, and other valuable services, realtors provide your listing huge exposure through MLS.
- Posting in a local newspaper for an accurate focus on your audience.
- Reaching out to the community through the local bulletin boards.
- Place a “For Rent” sign at the property to attract tenants from the neighborhood.
- Spread the word. Let your family and friends know that you are looking to rent out your property.
Offer Incentives (Move-In Specials)
In some cases, it’s worth offering “first month free”, waive an application fee, or even suggest a lower rent for a longer lease commitment, to win the race against time. It’s pretty common to offer such move-in specials to seal the deal with good tenants quickly.
Be Ready And React Quickly
You want things to happen quickly, be fast on your side as well. Be available and return calls/messages. Once you see that people are interested, be ready with the needed details and documentation. The fact that seekers are interested in your unit doesn’t mean they are not looking elsewhere. The wait time to sign the lease can play against you, so minimize it.
Don’t Take Chances
No matter how urgent is the need to fill the vacancy, don’t give up on tenant screening. It’s always better to not have tenants at all than dealing with trouble makers, who will eat up your time, money, and energy.