Although lease agreements, rent collection, property maintenance, and cash flow tend to get the most attention in landlording circles, it’s a grave mistake to overlook the importance of property marketing. Without a marketing strategy, you’ll find it difficult to stand out in a crowded market that offers plenty of inventory.
How to Ensure Your Rental Property Stands Out
The Houston real estate market is booming, which means landlords like yourself can reap the rewards of rising rents and low vacancy rates. But if you aren’t doing everything you can to make sure your rentals stand out from the crowd, you aren’t maximizing the value of your investment.
Here are some moves you can make to heighten the initial appeal of your rental property.
- Invest in Curb Appeal
When someone drives up to a lot for the first time, curb appeal makes the inevitable first impression. It’s also the last thing potential renters will notice when they pull out of the driveway or parking lot.
So if you’re going to spend on anything, landscaping out front is a good place to start. The first step is to clean up the yard, walkways, and porch. This means pulling weeds, getting rid of brush, trimming shrubs, pressure washing concrete and siding, and dealing with any other eyesores that detract from the property.
The next thing you’ll want to do is freshen up the landscaping with pine straw, mulch, pavers, fresh flowers, and anything else that makes a positive visual statement. It will probably take some time and/or money to address your property’s curb appeal, you need to regard this as an investment.
To be honest, most of the competition won’t be working this hard, so your efforts will be noticed and appreciated by prospective tenants.
- Deep Clean the Property
You probably require your tenants to clean up the property before they move out, but you should nevertheless conduct a deep clean before relisting the property for the next tenant. You can either do the deep clean on your own, or spend a couple hundred dollars to hire a professional to handle it.
Though every room should get attention, make sure you focus especially on the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and bedroom. It’s the details that matter.
In the kitchen, open up cabinets, cupboards, and appliances and clean inside. In the bathroom, make sure the mirrors are free of streaks and the tub/shower contains no grout stains.
In the living room, blinds should be dusted and baseboards scrubbed clean. In the bedroom, clean out the closets and remove any cobwebs that may have accumulated near the ceiling and/or light fixtures.
- Take Great Pictures
Some renters look for signs and discover rentals when they’re driving around town. But the vast majority search for listings online and vet properties to some extent before they ever start driving. In that situation, listing photos can be highly influential.
“Keep in mind that the photos are what people see first. That tiny thumbnail image is the first impression people have about your property, so make sure it’s good,” Turnkey’s Lauren Bernal writes.
“If you can afford it, hire someone (or ask a photographer friend very, very nicely) to take professional photos of your place. It’s the difference between ‘what about this place?’ and ‘you’ve GOT to see this place.’ ”
- Include Perks
Tenants love perks. Perks make them feel like they’re getting special treatment. The more you can include in your offer, the greater the odds that you’ll garner serious interest from good tenants.
Perks can include just about anything you feel comfortable offering. Examples include:
- First month’s rent is free
- Complimentary monthly cleaning service
- Lawn care included
- Rent-to-own option
- Free gym membership
- Month-to-month terms
- Discount for early rent payment
The options are endless. Although you may not have a bunch of extra money to throw around, you can do subtle things that create a more enticing offer.
- Be Competitive With Rent
Most renters are cost-conscious people. If you want your property to stand out, you need to be especially cognizant of your price and how it compares to similar listings in the region. If it’s at all possible, you’ll have an instant advantage over the competition if you can come in on the low side.
It’s easy to regard a low rental rate as something that costs you money. Instead, look at it as a tradeoff that could actually earn you more over the long haul. When you offer a competitive rate, you have a better shot at locking tenants into a longer lease agreement, or at least securing more favorable terms in other areas.
- Stage the Property
Most properties are empty between tenants. You can enhance the image of your rental by arranging to get it professionally staged.
This can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, but it will strongly help potential tenants to picture themselves living in the property. The key with staging is to emphasize the strengths of the place and minimize the perceived weaknesses.
“Focus your staging efforts to enhance your property’s top selling points,” real estate blogger Kurt Jacobson advises. “Do you have a fireplace? Use lighting that helps highlight it as a focal point in the room. Do you have some lovely built-in bookshelves in your units? Draw attention to their utility by placing coordinated groups of books or other accessories.
“However, avoid clutter. You don’t want the tenants to be more focused on the accessories — their attention should be on the possibilities.”
Let Green Residential Help
Many property owners presume that property management is only about fixing clogged toilets and tracking down rent checks, but there’s a lot more to the business than emergency response. If you aren’t paying attention to property marketing, you’re missing out on an opportunity to expand your business and increase profitability.
At Green Residential, we understand the significance of property marketing and the role it plays in attracting good tenants, keeping rent competitive, and ensuring positive cash flow.
For more information on the professional property management services we offer and how we can help with a specific property, please contact us today. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free property analysis!