Every landlord dreads the thought of having a vacant rental property. Rightfully so, a vacant property can easily cost you thousands of dollars in potential income, seriously damaging your bottom line.
Besides the lost rent, you also have to look elsewhere to pay for property expenses such as mortgage costs, property taxes, and the costs of marketing the property all over again.
Keeping vacancies to a minimum is essential.
If you have been a landlord for a while, then you know that getting a good tenant isn’t necessarily that easy.
You need to do two things to be successful in the competitive world of rental properties:
A) Find a tenant of the right caliber.
B) Find such tenants quickly in order to fill your vacancies in the shortest time possible.
In this blog, you are going to learn 3 tips on how you can achieve these two crucial things quickly.
Tip #1: Advertise your rental property to the right audience.
It goes without saying that your advertising strategy needs to reach the right audience. This way, you will be able to increase your chances of getting the right tenant in the shortest time possible.
The first step in any advertising campaign starts with drafting the rental ad. Ideally, make your ad listing visually appealing, short and convincing. Remember that renters usually get bombarded by hundreds of rental ads when searching for a home.
You also want to avoid making any statements that could end up being problematic for you. Examples of such statements include:
- “Ideal for a quiet couple.”
- “Suitable for single professionals.”
- “Perfect for female students.”
- “Suits mature individuals or couple.”
- “Great for students or working folks.”
These statements are discriminative. In other words, they violate the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, where it states that it’s illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a renter based on seven protected classes.
- national origin
- familial status
To avoid infringing on these, try shifting your focus to describing your property rather than on the tenant you would like to have.
You should include attractive photos to your rental ad as well. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. You don’t need professional photography or expensive gear to do so. A smartphone with a decent camera will surely suffice. When you have a well-maintained rental property, nice pictures should be a breeze.
Tip #2: Screen all prospects thoroughly.
If you advertise your rental well, it won’t take long to start receiving inquiries from prospective tenants. This is the time that you should start filtering them out based on the criteria you have.
Screening tenants helps minimize the chances of landing a problem tenant.
How exactly do you screen your tenants? It begins the first moment you make contact with them. This could be through a phone call, email, or even a text message.
You want to use this opportunity to get to know more about them. To save time and to be fair to all prospects, most landlords usually prepare a set of pre-qualifying questions beforehand:
- Why are you moving?
- Are you willing to sign a 1-year lease agreement?
- Will you be able to pay first-month rent and the security deposit at the lease signing?
- Are you ready to pay the lease application fee?
- Have you filed for bankruptcy recently?
- Are you familiar with our rental application process?
- Have you ever had an eviction?
- Does your current landlord know you are thinking of moving?
- How many pets do you have?
- How many people would be living with you?
- What kind of work do you do?
- Where are you currently living?
These questions will help you separate the good tenants from the potentially problematic ones. You’ll want to make sure that they qualify for the property and we’ll be able to abide by the terms in your lease agreement. By doing so, it can help save you and your prospect valuable time. For instance, if you don’t accept pets and the tenant has them, you can simply stop the interview and move onto the next prospect.
Tip #3: Be proactive with your current tenant.
Finding a great tenant is never easy. Generally speaking, you have to have the skills, knowledge and industry experience. That’s why it’s always beneficial to do your best to keep the ones you already have.
The following are some tips on how you can be proactive with your current tenant.
- Make a point of contacting your tenants at least once every month. Remember, as a landlord, you are in the customer service business. Your tenants are your customers, so you should ensure that they are happy with your services. Is there anything bothering them? If so, find out what it is, and take proactive steps to address it.
- Respond to their requests as quickly as you can. Everyone hates it when they have a customer service issue and they never get a call back. Your tenant is no exception. Always make a point of responding to them promptly. If you are unable to, then make sure you provide them the necessary resources to enable them to deal with the problem.
- Understand their needs. More and more tenants are beginning to demand a quality lifestyle. This is especially true for younger Americans. For them, this is a major deciding factor to either stay or leave. The upgrades don’t need to be expensive either. Simple upgrades like a kitchen backsplash or cabinet hardware can make a big impact.
- Encourage them to sign a long-term lease. You could do this by offering them an incentive, like a reduced rate. Yes, it could mean less profits, but it certainly pays to have tenants who are reliable and rent long-term.
Every day that your rental property stays vacant costs you money. Implement these three proven strategies to help you fill your property vacancies with tenants quickly.
If you’re looking for a team that can help you with this, give us a call. Helping you fill a vacant property is only one of the many benefits of working with us!