As a landlord, you always want to have as many options as possible when you experience a vacancy. In fact, your ability to quickly fill an opening and mitigate the impact of turnover will, to a large degree, impact your profitability and return on investment.
While every rental isn’t conducive to military housing, many are. By shifting gears and focusing on military families, you can keep your properties rented and enjoy the stability of a steady stream of tenants.
8 Tips for Attracting Military Rentals
One of the primary benefits of renting a property to military families is that you’re essentially insulated from the outside market. Even if there’s a crash in the local real estate market or the economy takes a dip, you still have a large pool of tenants. The military continues to operate and people continue to need housing. External circumstances don’t have any influence on this.
With all of that being said, you have to be strategic with your approach if you want to engage military members and their families. Here are a few tips to help make your rental more attractive to this audience:
- Think About Location
The first thing you have to think about is location. Military families are interested in housing that is close to their base. If it’s not right in the vicinity of the base, then the commute needs to be easy. Fighting through lots of traffic isn’t ideal and will be a major turnoff for individuals who can’t afford to be late to work.
It’s also important to think about location in terms of the rest of the family. A military member’s spouse often stays at home with kids, since it’s difficult to find jobs when you move frequently. If you have things like parks, playgrounds, shopping areas, and libraries nearby, you’re more likely to attract military families to your rental.
- Understand Your Target
When the military embarks on a new campaign, one of the primary keys is to understand the target. If you don’t understand the target, it’s nearly impossible to have success on a mission. The same could be said with you, as a landlord.
In order to have success renting to military members, you have to understand the target. Military members want to live close to the base, prefer three-plus bedroom homes, and want decent rates that fit their budgets. They’re also interested in having neat and tidy premises that are easy to care for.
- Make it Move-In Ready
When a civilian family is looking for a house, they have the luxury of taking their time and picking and choosing from a variety of options. They also have the ability to plan years ahead and are comfortable taking on certain projects down the road. Military families face a far different situation.
When marketing properties to a military family, the home needs to be move-in ready. They don’t want a work in progress – they want something they can quickly settle into.
- Focus on Young Families
Because of the young age at which people enter the military, and the constant moving around that takes place, many military members start families much earlier than their civilian counterparts. Thus, when renting to military members, you’re likely to encounter a lot of young families with multiple school-aged children. Keep this in mind and make sure your rentals are kid-friendly. Fenced-in backyards with playgrounds are always a plus, as are bonus play areas inside the home.
- Consider the BAH
Active members of the United States military get a monthly stipend known as a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). This stipend is intended to cover the costs of housing for service members. It’s based on a combination of location and rank.
While military members can spend their BAH however they please, most use it to cover housing costs. Thus, if you’re going to rent to military families, it’s important that you have an idea of what BAH rates are in your zip code. Military members can always spend more or less, but this is a good baseline number.
- Post Your Property on AHRN
Again, military members are able to live in whatever housing they choose, but many leverage available resources to make the process of finding housing easier. One such resource is the Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN), which helps connect military members with housing when they move.
AHRN lets landlords add unlimited property listings to the site. Go ahead and upload your listings and fill out as many details as possible. If nothing else, this will help you get more leads.
- Offer a Discount
When military members see the words “Military Discount,” their eyes light up. If you want to make your property more attractive to these families, consider offering some sort of discount. This could come in the form of a discounted monthly rate, a lower initial deposit, or something else entirely. It doesn’t have to be a lot, either. Something like $25 off the standard rental rate might be enough to sway a family on a tight budget.
- Consider Flexible Lease Terms
Military members move a lot. Depending on rank and position, some individuals might move as frequently as every few months (though most stick around for at least a couple of years). While you don’t have to bend over backward to accommodate tenants, offering flexible lease terms, or even a month-to-month lease, certainly won’t hurt your cause.
Let Green Residential Help
As a landlord in the Houston area, you have lots of opportunities to rent to people with a variety of backgrounds. From the folks in the Energy Corridor to local military members, there’s always someone looking for housing.
At Green Residential, we take pride in providing Houston landlords with an array of professional property management services. If you’re interested in putting your rental properties on autopilot so that you can focus on the big picture, we would love to help.
Contact us today and we’d be happy to discuss some options with you.