To a landlord or property manager, vacancies are one of the biggest concerns since vacancies are catastrophic to cash flow. It’s important that when a property becomes vacant the amount of time that passes until the next tenant moves in is as short as possible. A loss of rental income for a couple months turn a money making property into a money pit. I’ve put together a list of tips/advice from my landlord friends and my own personal experience on how to fill those vacancies swiftly.
Start Early – As soon as you get your 30 day notice from the existing tenant it is the time to start thinking about marketing your soon to be vacant home. Write (or refresh) your classified ad, make sure you have up to date pictures, and begin your online marketing efforts. If you don’t mind getting calls early to create a list of applicants, go ahead and publish your listings.
Advertising – You want as many potential renters seeing your listing as possible. Use as many advertising methods and source as you can to get the widest audience. Below are examples of some solid sources that always work for landlords and property managers alike:
- Craigslist – It’s free to list and is often one of the most productive places to list rental properties. Be sure your listing stands out by creating stunning craigslist property listings right from your property management software or other solutions such as postlets.
- Rental Search Sites – Some popular real-estate sites now accept rental listings. Sites such as Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, and dozens of others. These sites are starting to be a more common place for tenants to look for rentals. They offer comparables and a nice graphical map displays which help tenants find homes faster. Be sure your listings are up there or you’re losing out. You can either post these manually on each site which is time consuming, or ideally your property management software will automatically post your listings to all of them for you.
- Conventional Sources – Don’t forget about conventional sources like the newspaper classifieds and putting a For Rent sign in a visible location from the street on the property. Also be sure to tell your friends and colleagues as they may know of someone looking for a place to rent.
Be Descriptive and Honest – Is it an older house, then don’t list it as a “newer home” or “like new”, and likewise if parking is poor don’t highlight the “great on-street parking”. The more honest and accurate your ad is the more likely you are going to receive applications from people that will be satisfied with the property. And you won’t be wasting time processing applications, showing the property, and fielding phone calls for tenants who find the property unsuitable or not ideal for them. Your time is much better spent focused on the tenants who are looking for exactly what you have available. I always post lots of pictures for tenants to peruse online so there are no surprises when they visit the property.