Inspection? Check. Turnover repairs? Finished. Cleaning? Done. Landscaping? Complete. With so many things needed to get a property rent-ready, empty units can cost owners time and money. Thus, if you’re busy or need extra help, consider hiring a professional who can help you reduce vacancies.
Additionally, continue reading for tried and true tips to get your property rent ready and reduce costly vacancy time.
After ticking all the necessities on a pre-leasing checklist, it’s only normal to look for solutions to fill vacancies efficiently. A great way to reduce tenant turnover is by extending the lease period. Rather than offering a month-to-month renewal option, go for a 12 or 24-month lease. On the one hand, this option guarantees that you don’t have to worry about vacancies for a considerable period.
But on the other hand, it could backfire. Tenants may be reluctant to commit to an extended lease term and, therefore, shy away from your units. After all, no one wants to feel stuck in their home, but that feeling isn’t only limited to renters. Landlords can also end up with the short end of the stick if they have a problematic tenant. Non-compliant and destructive occupants can make your job more tedious and even deplete your profits. Thus, it would be best to consider each situation carefully before extending the lease.
Following the concern we raised in the previous point, you must prioritize tenant screening. This essential step helps owners find the most qualified applicants and ensure you don’t offer an extended lease to a potentially problematic tenant. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a thorough tenant screening in reducing tenancy turnover.
First off, it gives you a fair idea of who you’re entrusting your investment to. This is especially vital considering all the money you put into home additions. You can get a good mental image of how a prospective person behaves through previous references. Typical questions you might want to ask include,
- How did the tenant care for the property?
- Why is the applicant leaving their current rental home?
- Were payments made on time and in full?
- Would you rent to this tenant again?
Of course, these are just a few of the many open-ended questions that are vital during applicant reference checks. Therefore, this is not a process an owner should rush through, or worse, ignore altogether. After all, the last thing you want is to go through a tedious, costly, and time-consuming eviction.
Another tip for reducing vacancy time is setting the right price on your units. Although the primary goal of investing in real estate is maximizing ROI, you could sometimes overdo it. Landlords that charge far above the fair market price will inevitably suffer prolonged vacancies. The key is to set a reasonable and competitive price that covers expenses while allowing room for profit. Keep in mind real estate is a long-term game, and you need to exercise some patience to reap the rewards.
Hence, it is in your best interest to conduct a thorough market analysis of any vacant listings. Check comparable rental units in the area to see what is currently on the market as well as what has recently been rented and for how much. This information can help gauge where your pricing needs to be in order to limit vacancy time and be competitive.
We can’t discuss reducing vacancy time without emphasizing the importance of marketing. If you’re struggling with filling up units, your marketing strategy is one of the first things to check. A common mistake is not advertising in the right place. Unfortunately, qualified leads may be eluding you because they simply can’t find your listings.
While traditional media isn’t dead, it’s essential to capitalize on digital means of advertising. Today, most people search for vacancies on their mobile devices instead of buying a newspaper. Thus, if you’ve yet to put your listings online, you could be doing yourself a great disservice. SEO marketing could boost leads by making it easier to find your rental business in searches.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of social media. Seeing as many people spend their time scrolling through their favorite feed, putting your vacancies right in front of them improves overall visibility.
Besides leveraging digital media to advertise, you could also be strategic in other ways. For example, people are more likely to embark on house searching during the spring or summer. Thus, you could experience lesser traction during other seasons like fall and winter. However, changing seasons are not the only thing that influences peak periods. For instance, landlords targeting university students would experience a broader market when new students arrive in the fall.
We live in the 21st century, so it’s only befitting that you adopt the latest technological trends. In addition, these tools can help you attract a more tech-savvy generation of home searchers. For example, virtual staging could be a great way to help prospective renters imagine living in your space. This solution involves adding computer-generated furniture onto images of your unit. Virtual staging is an effortless way to make your units look more attractive and livable.
If you’re looking to take it a step further, you could also incorporate 3D tours of your unit. For areas with stricter covid policies or applicants living far away, this option allows them to tour the unit from the comfort of their home. More so, it expands your reach while saving you the stress of hosting an open house for passive candidates.
So far, we’ve only listed tips that are beneficial in attracting new prospects, but if you already have tenants, this is valuable leverage. Rather than starting from scratch, work on ensuring your current renters renew their lease. One of the best ways to keep your property attractive is by being proactive with maintenance. Did you know one of the most common reasons tenants move out is maintenance issues? Swift repairs, periodic inspections, and responsiveness to concerns show your commitment to keeping the property in good condition for the occupants. This critical point could sway tenants to renew their lease and stay longer. After all, why take their chances with another landlord when they already have a great one.
Finally, reduce rental vacancy rates by asking if your current tenants would like to stay. This option is quite beneficial in two ways. First off, it allows you to ask questions and make changes if renters reveal they’re ending their lease due to poor service. By extending an olive branch and promising to attend to reasonable complaints, you could win them over and prevent them from moving out of the unit.
Secondly, if your tenant is adamant about leaving and can’t help moving, it gives you time to prepare. For example, if you have five units and two occupants indicating they’ll be moving at the end of the year, you can start preparing for a more efficient turnover process. You could decide to renovate or get a jump on marketing to line up new tenants. Ideally, offer the tenant their renewal options about three months before the end date of the current lease term. That provides sufficient time to advertise and conduct a thorough screening process on prospective candidates.
Vacancies are an inevitable part of investing in real estate, but you can avoid extended vacancies with these proven tips. Taking proactive actions such as offering renewals to current tenants, being more responsive, and adopting new technology is key to a successful rental business. The turnover and renewal process can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned landlord. When in doubt, partnering with industry professionals such as a local property management firm is a great way to achieve your goals without the stress of going it alone.
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