High vacancy rates will bring even the most successful landlord to his knees. It’s like a deadly virus that latches on and never wants to give up. Whether you experience high vacancy rates with all of your properties, or just one, it’s important that you have a plan in place for quickly getting renters. In fact, with the following tips, you should be able to lease your property in 30 days or less.
Common Causes of High Vacancy Rates
Very rarely does a property suffer from a high vacancy rate due to a single factor. It’s usually a combination of things that drives the masses away. And, in most cases, it’s the landlord or property manager’s lack of insight that derails a property.
In other words, every property has its issues – sometimes minor, sometimes serious – but it’s the landlord’s ignorance of those issues that turn an adequate rental into a property that can’t attract long-term tenants. Don’t be the landlord that (a) doesn’t recognize issues, or (b) turns a blind eye. If you really want to understand why your vacancy rates are through the roof, consider whether or not one or more of these common causes is the culprit:
• Rent is too high. The first and most obvious thing to look at is your asking price. Where did you come up with your rental rate and is it in line with comparable properties in the area? If the answer is “I don’t know,” then you haven’t done enough research. If you know your rent is too high but haven’t done anything about it, it’s time to succumb to the going rate and adjust accordingly.
• You have no marketing strategy. Rental markets are becoming increasingly crowded and it’s very rare that a modern landlord can survive without some sort of marketing plan or tenant acquisition strategy. If you’re having trouble attracting good tenants, review your marketing presence.
• There are major flaws. Finally, consider physical flaws of the property itself. While it’s unlikely that a minor issue results in a high vacancy rate, you could have a major problem that’s turning people away
Tangible Tips for Getting your Property Rented…Immediately
Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the major causes of high vacancy rates, let’s help you get your property rented in the next 30 days. Here are some tips that most landlords and property owners find helpful:
1. Make Sure It’s Accurately Priced
As we’ve discussed before on our blog, it’s important that you accurately price your rental properties. It’s the only way you can ensure maximum occupancy and attract long-term renters. Unfortunately, though, setting your rental rate isn’t always cut and dry.
If you’re like most landlords, you probably set your price according to some quick online market research. If you own a two bedroom house, you probably ran a search for two bedroom, single family homes in your general area and averaged out the results. If only it were that easy!
In addition to the number of bedrooms and general location, you also need to consider things like included amenities, square footage, quality of appliances and features, parking, pet policies, cost of utilities and monthly property expenses, etc. Depending on what you uncover, your price point could change by as much as a few hundred dollars in volatile markets.
After accurately setting the price, wait at least 48 hours and see if you get any bites. If there’s still no traction, proceed with the following tips.
2. Offer Convenient and Flexible Terms
When coupled with a market-appropriate price, convenient and flexible leasing terms can help you secure a tenant. In other words, if everyone else in your area is offering 12-month leases, consider a six or eight month lease with an optional extender after the last month. This will allow you to reach an entirely new segment that’s interested in short-term lease agreements. If you’re willing, you could even offer month-to-month. (Warning: This should only be done in extreme situations. If your tenant doesn’t stay on, you could end up with hefty and frequent turnover expenses).
3. Offer to Pay for Utilities
You may have heard horror stories of landlords who offered to pay their tenant’s utilities and got burned, but these situations are rare. By offering to pay your tenant’s monthly utilities, you can quickly and clearly differentiate your property from comparables. While it may cost you anywhere from $75 to a few hundred dollars per month (depending on the area and applicable rates), it’s money well spent if it allows you to secure a paying renter for an otherwise vacant property.
4. Get Really Creative with Your Offer
Who says you have to follow the ‘standard’ rules? Get creative with your offer and you may catch the eye of a curious renter. For example, offer to pay the first and last month’s rent for the tenant. Or maybe offer a $100 refund every time the rent is paid before the first of the month. What about including a set of living room furniture with the house? There are plenty of options to get creative, and in a time-crunch you have to think outside the box!
5. Hire a Professional Property Management Company
Finally, don’t be afraid to hire a professional property management company. Professionals understand how local rental markets work and can ensure you get the most money for your property. While they’ll charge a nominal fee for their services, the expenses are almost always covered as a result of lower vacancy and turnover rates.
Contact Green Residential Today
At Green Residential, we’ve been in the professional property management business for decades. We’re locally-based in the Houston area and work with a wide variety of property owners and landlords. Whether you own a single property or have an entire portfolio, we can help by removing some of the burden and maximizing your return. For additional information on how we can help you get your properties rented, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!