Tips to Help Landlords Fill Rental Property Vacancies
It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of our year-long coaching series. We’ve covered a lot of ground in that time – looking at all phases of the Landlord Lifecycle, from finding rental properties to getting units ready for Tenants and managing properties with Tenants in place.
Before we wrap up the series, we want to give you some final tips for filling vacancies. In previous articles, we’ve talked through pricing rental units and screening tenants, but we wanted to close things out with some specific strategies for filling vacancies. With that in mind, here are a few things all Landlords can do to minimize the time and money they spend dealing with vacancies.
Start Advertising the Unit As Soon As Tenants Give Notice
Last month we talked about the importance of planning for repairs and upgrades as soon as Tenants give their 30-day notice, and the same thing goes for marketing your rental unit. Once Tenants have given notice and you’ve created a plan for necessary repairs to the unit, you should have an estimated move-in date and be ready to start marketing the unit.
Here are a few things to focus on as you do this:
- Price the unit correctly. You’ll already have a starting point for rent based on what your current Tenants are paying, but you may need or want to adjust that number based on market conditions. Research comparable units in the area and come up with a competitive price that will maximize returns and minimize the vacancy period.
- Write a strong listing description. This is a step Landlords often rush through, but it’s an important one. You want to think about who your target Tenant is and write a description directed towards that Tenant. This means highlighting key features of the unit and the neighborhood – for example, noting there’s lots of storage and ample outdoor space or pointing out that the unit is close to good schools or public transit.
- Be strategic about where you advertise the unit. Use online platforms, put a sign in the yard, post flyers in local businesses, offer incentives for referrals from tenants or neighbors, or even put an ad in local publications. You want to make sure your target audience sees your listing, so it’s important to be thoughtful about where it’s shared.
Make it Easy for Applicants to See & Apply for Your Rental Unit
Once you’ve gotten your listing in front of your target audience, you want to make sure it’s easy for Applicants to see your property and submit an application. There are three important ways Landlords can do this:
- Include high-quality photos in your listing. Increasingly, people make housing decisions based on online photos. This means it’s important to have high-quality photos that show all key parts of the unit. It’s often worth the expense to have professional photos taken, and it’s always important to make sure you have pictures of featured indoor and outdoor living spaces.
- Make the unit available for showings. It’s important to be familiar with notice laws and lease terms about showings to ensure you give Tenants adequate notice. Be familiar with these requirements before listing the unit and talk with your Tenant about convenient times to show it. This way you’ll be prepared to schedule showings and get Applicants into the property. We recommend that you plan ahead and schedule multiple showings on the same day to make things easy for you and your current Tenants.
- Have a user-friendly system for applying for the unit. The final step here is making it simple for people to apply for your unit. This makes things easy for you and ensures that Applicants don’t get overlooked or fall through the cracks. Use an online application that’s easy for applicants to access and gives you all the necessary information in one step.
Offer Incentives for Applicants
As you market your unit, it’s a good idea to think of ways you can make it stand out. One effective way to do this is to offer incentives for Applicants – maybe it’s a discount on the first month’s rent, a gym membership, a transit pass, or a washer and dryer in the unit.
Think through what incentives might make your unit more appealing to your target audience. Get creative with these and you’ll find your unit attracts more Applicants than other comparable properties!
Get Feedback from Applicants
Once you start showing your unit, don’t be afraid to ask for honest feedback from Applicants who don’t end up renting from you. Maybe the most common critique is something that’s a relatively easy fix – for example, dated appliances, not enough storage, or pricing. When this is the case, you can make adjustments to help attract more Applicants.
Even if you hear feedback about bigger issues – for example, the kitchen is dated or there aren’t enough bathrooms – you can keep this in mind for bigger upgrades in the future. It can be hard to hear negative feedback, but you’ll be surprised how much you can learn from it.
Our final tip for filling vacancies is to be patient. While we hope the other tips mean that you quickly find quality Tenants, you don’t want to rush the process. Experience has taught us that having a longer vacancy period than you want is better than having bad Tenants in the unit.
It’s important to keep this in mind and stick to your screening criteria every time you fill vacancies. You don’t want to rush the process or accept an Applicant just because they’re ready and willing to move in right away. Be patient, trust the process, and remind yourself how important it is to have quality Tenants in your property.
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Visit ezLandlordForms for a Rental Application & Tenant Screening
Once you get Applicants, we can help with the application and leasing process. All you need is an Applicant’s name and email address to send a rental application and screening request.
Visit ezLandlordForms.com to send a screening request, create a Lease Agreement, or get more property management tips.
Kevin is passionate about helping others to become a better Landlord by providing tools and education to help them thrive.