Keeping your rental property occupied when the economy is strong is difficult enough. But, when the economy is in bad shape as it is now, when there is an onslaught of homes available and many apartment complexes have 1 out of 5 units vacant. This my friend is a known as a renters market. Keeping your rental property occupied during times like this can be extremely difficult. Here are several suggestions for you when you’re trying to fill one of you vacant properties.
1st item: Now I know this might sound a bit odd but take it from someone who has 12+ years in the property management field. When renting your property the first thing you need to do is to make sure you know the details of the property. Be ready with the basic information when a prospective tenant contacts you. Simply put, I have worked with and seen many people trying to rent their properties without knowing the basic information of the property they are attempting to rent. Believe me when I say basic, I mean basic! Know the floor plan and the square footage of your rental. Many times the first point of contact regarding your property is on the phone and generally one of the first questions asked is about the floor plan and the square footage of your property. Most of the time what the perspective tenant is trying to find out is if their furniture is going to fit or not. In addition, make sure the unit is rent ready! Try to have the work in the unit completed and ready to show. Not everyone is able to look beyond unfinished work and the best bet is to have the property rent ready if at all possible. That is the interior and the exterior. Have everything looking good! With the economy the way it is now, it is a renters/buyers market and anyone with decent credit has the ability to pick and choose where they want to live.
2nd item: Sell your property! What makes your rental stand out? What area is your property in? Are you blocks from the beach? Are you near shopping with easy freeway access? Why is your property in the perfect location? What are the amenities in your property that sets it apart from other properties? Do you have plush carpeting, tile or hardwood floors? Bathrooms, how many? How about sauna, Jacuzzi bathtub? Tile showers? How big is the kitchen and what appliances are there? Tile counters? Dishwasher, Microwave, Garbage Disposal? Washer & Dryer hook up? Large bedrooms with large closets? You get the point. Sell, sell, sell! Build up your property! Remember it’s a renters market right now. There are so many homes, condos and apartments on the market right now that people can pick and choose where they want to live. What makes your rental property better than the one next door? Sell your property!
3rd item: Can you afford to offer concessions at this time? Depending on how long your property has been vacant can you afford not to offer concessions might be the questions? One way to help get your property rented quickly is to offer specials. Many owners are offering anywhere between $100-$200 off 1st month’s rent up too 1st month’s rent free and $200 off 2nd month’s rent. Now some would say there is no way that I’m giving a free month of rent away. I say to you how much are you losing if your rental is vacant for two months, how about three months? Yes, it is possible for your rental to be vacant for months during this bad economy. You can use the concessions as a great selling point to prospective renters. They have the opportunity to save an entire month’s rent which could come in handy. Use that to your advantage and sell the unit.
Closing; Remember the goal is to get your rental property rented as fast as possible with as little out of pocket cost as possible. You might have to give some with the economy the way it is right now. But it is well worth the cost. Now, a word of caution to you. Take time and use your best judgment to get the right tenant for your property. I tell you from experience and I believe this might be one of the most important things to remember. The golden rule in property management is just this “Its way easier to get someone in than it is to get someone out!” Don’t rush someone in just to fill the vacancy. Abide by the law and fair housing regulations. Don’t discriminate but use good judgment. Most of the time your gut reaction will tell you about the person and you need to trust that. A good tenant who abides by the rules, obey the law and pay their rent on time is what we want. Placing a bad tenant in your rental just to fill it can cost far more than a couple months rent if you have to get them out. Now, sell that rental!