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4 Ways Landlords Can Reduce Vacancy Rates in Their Rentals

by Emily Koelsch
rental vacancy rates, rental occupancy rate, rental property vacancy rate

4 Ways Landlords Can Reduce Vacancy Rates in Their Rentals 

Some vacancy periods are inevitable with rental properties, and Landlords should factor these into their expenses when managing rental properties. That said, it’s important to minimize vacancies in order to maximize rental property returns. After all, when your rental is vacant, you’re not earning any income, but your expenses generally remain unchanged if not higher than when a Tenant is in place. 

Because of this, it’s vital that Landlords understand how to minimize vacancy rates and are proactive about doing so. Here are 4 ways Landlords can minimize vacancies and some specific tips for troubleshooting vacancies. 

Increase Tenant Renewal Rates

This might seem obvious, but the best way to reduce vacancy expenses is by increasing Tenant renewal rates. Some Landlords think this is a factor out of their control, but the reality is that there are a number of things Landlords can do to increase Tenant retention. Here are a few that should be priorities as you manage your rental: 

  • Prioritize Landlord-Tenant relationships: build good systems of communication, check in with Tenants periodically, and timely respond to all Tenant communication. 
  • Address maintenance issues quickly: Promptly handle all repairs and stay on top of preventative maintenance
  • Offer incentives for Lease Renewals: For example, a discount on one month’s rent or a gift card to a nearby restaurant or grocery. 
  • Defer rent increases: It can make sense to hold off on any rent increases if you have a quality Tenant in place. Skipping rent increases can encourage good Tenants to stay and end up increasing returns. 

Keep Your Rental in Good Condition 

Another key to reducing vacancy rates is keeping your rental unit in good condition. This will help increase retention and make it easier to attract quality Applicants. As a baseline, Landlords should: 

  • Make all necessary repairs. 
  • Deep clean the entire rental unit, including inside closets, cabinets, and appliances. 
  • Improve the curb appeal by staying on top of yard work, adding simple landscaping, painting the front door, adding planters, and updating house numbers. 
  • Consider making simple upgrades to make it appealing to new Tenants – for example, a smart thermostat, updated fixtures, an accent wall, a backsplash, or additional storage. 

Price Your Rental Property Correctly 

When talking about filling vacancies, you can’t overlook the importance of pricing. Pricing a rental property correctly isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for minimizing rental vacancies. While you don’t want to underprice it and give up potential income, if it’s overpriced it can end up being vacant for weeks or months. 

Landlords need to be thorough when pricing a rental. This includes understanding your market and neighborhood, analyzing comparable rental prices, adjusting local comps based on specific features of your property, and checking pricing estimates with online tools. This is a key step in filling vacancies, and a good pricing system will ensure that your rental isn’t vacant simply because it’s overpriced. 

Strategically Market Your Rental Unit 

Once your rental is in good condition and priced correctly, the next step is marketing the listing. When you do this, you want to consider your target Tenant. This is the Tenant that you think your property is most likely to attract – for example, a family, young professionals, or retirees. Consider the location, features, and nearby amenities to determine your target Tenant. 

With this in mind, you want to create a listing that will appeal to your Target Tenant. This should include: 

  • Professional photos that highlight key features of the property;
  • A description of the property, noting key features that you think your target Tenant will like – for example, a great backyard, a large kitchen, or lots of storage space; and  
  • Highlight nearby amenities that will appeal to Applicants – for example, nearby schools, public transit, restaurants, or shops. 

Once your listing is ready, consider how you’ll ensure it gets to as many potential Tenants as possible. Some effective strategies include: 

  • Listing in online platforms like Zillow and Trulia; 
  • Creating a referral program for current Tenants, giving them a discount or cash reward for referrals; 
  • Posting a sign in the yard or on the property; 
  • Posting the listing in local restaurants, coffee shops, community centers, and public spaces; 
  • Sharing with friends, colleagues, and neighbors and encouraging them to refer potential Tenants. 

Trouble-Shooting Vacancies

Hopefully, the above steps will help you quickly fill vacancies. That said, there are times when you feel like you’ve done everything correctly, and yet your rental listing isn’t attracting Applications. If you find yourself in that situation, here are a few things to check.  

  1. Consider the timing of the listing. For example, is your target Tenant a college student? If so, it can be hard to fill vacancies in the middle of the semester. Similarly, rentals targeting families can be difficult to fill during the school year. If it’s not the right time to list your rental, consider doing a short-term rental until the ideal list time or offering a short-term discount. 
  2. Check your pricing. Speaking of discounts, if your rental is in good condition but not attracting Applicants, you need to recheck your pricing. Confirm that it’s in line with comparable prices and that you’ve accounted for any recent market changes. 
  3. Get creative with your marketing strategy. A final factor to consider is how effectively you’re reaching your target Tenant. Get creative about ways to spread your listing – for example, sharing at local universities, offering cash referral bonuses for others in the neighborhood, or reaching out to nearby businesses. 

With these strategies in place, you should be able to timely fill all of your vacancies. Once you attract Applicants, visit ezLandlordForms.com to use our Free Rental Application, send a Tenant Screening request, or create a state-specific Lease Agreement

 


Emily Koelsch, ezLandlordForms Contributing Writer

Emily Koelsch WriterEmily Koelsch is a freelance writer and blogger, who primarily writes about business, real estate, and technology.

 


 

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