The real estate market is as hot as it has ever been and as housing prices continue to rise, so do rent prices. One of the challenges in a competitive market is with new properties coming on the market daily, landlords find themselves with a longer vacancy than anticipated. The demand is there with many units being rented out in under 24 hours, so how is there still a struggle to find tenants?
With national websites like Trulia or Zillow, individuals find their properties being buried in a short amount of time under all of the new properties available. The other road block is being able to respond to inquires in a timely manner. Sometimes calls or emails come in when an owner is at work and by the time they respond, the prospective tenant has found another place.
Ultimately, the way to solve this problem is by hiring a property management company. But, if a landlord wants to do it on their own, the key is getting the volume up of interested people. Even if some fall through the cracks, you will not have any trouble having a lease signed quickly.
Here are three ways to make your property desirable in a competitive market:
1. Do not slouch on the marketing, especially in a competitive market
When people think of marketing a rental property, they usually are mainly concerned with the websites that the property is listed. While this is important, there are many other things to take seriously.
Make sure the photos are great! This can not be over-stated. Ensure that the quality AND positioning of the photo is attractive. Having photos flipped upside down, sideways or in a bad order is an easy way for a prospective tenant to lose interest. Also, perhaps your phone’s ability to take photos does not suffice, make sure you are not settling for average or poor photos. This is all the tenant can see and they will usually spend just a few minutes scrolling through. Spend the extra money to have great photos taken if you can not do it yourself.
2. Get creative with the rent price
The default for landlords is to set a rent price and then have the tenant pay all utilities. However, including utilities in the rent can catch someone’s attention. Say, for example, that the rent price is $1,200 but the landlord has been struggling to get it rented out. Maybe it is because there are many similar properties and tenants for whatever reason are passing. Instead of lowering the rent, increase it by ~$100 but include water, sewer and trash utilities? This distinguishes a property and the best part is the benefit to the owner does not go down.
Another idea is to not charge pet fees or include an HOA fee. Giving an incentive of $100 or so to move in the next three weeks creates urgency and stands out.
3. Make the property more accessible
Consider a lockbox on the property to avoid the hassle of scheduling. There are several services out there that allow a tenant to self-show the property. Prospects schedule from their smart phone and the landlord does not have to do anything! More people will walk through if they can do it themselves.
Perhaps waive the application fees. It usually only takes one or two applications to screen to find a tenant. The landlord probably will not miss out on anything more than $25-$75 in this scenario. Why not allow prospects to know they are applying completely risk free?
Having too many applicants is never a problem.
These are just three general ideas to help a rental property stand out among the hundreds that may be in your area. Ultimately, the goal is to be active during the vacancy period. Many put their property up for rent and wait. This is the wrong approach.
Constantly try to think of ways to make the property stand out and make changes if the results are no there. With it being a competitive market, it is vital to compete. Owners who do this see vacancy rates go down, and that is the big goal, right?
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