Every landlord knows that you’re losing money whenever your unit is vacant, but it’s not always easy to find a great tenant. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to reach prospective tenants. We’ve got tips to help you create a winning marketing strategy that will attract more tenants to your rentals. This article was brought to you by Emily Alligood, with TurboTenant, free landlord software to make the rental process easier for landlords and property managers.
Tip number 1: When should you start marketing your rental?
Start marketing your rental at least a month before your tenants are vacating to give you plenty of time to find a great renter. It’s easy to add the date when your rental is becoming available on your listing so that prospective tenants are clear on the availability.
If you are showing an occupied rental, communicate with your tenant to let them know that you’ll be showing the rental. Some states have requirements on how much notice a landlord should give tenants and when a landlord can schedule showing, so be sure to check with your local laws. Give them time to prepare the place and remind them to secure their pets during that time. Be courteous to your tenants by respecting their personal belongings and making sure that you accompany prospective tenants on all showings.
Some landlords find that setting up specific times for showings, like from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on a Sunday, allows them to efficiently meet with multiple applicants without as much inconvenience to themselves or their current renters.
Tip number 2: Know your demographics and who will want to rent your property
Knowing who you’re marketing your listing to will allow you to advertise more efficiently. Be sure you are familiar with Fair Housing laws to avoid discriminating against federally protected classes when advertising your rental.
If your property is in a college town, then there will be an increase in student renters looking for housing in the fall. If your unit is near a university, check with the university for advertising opportunities. Most schools will have an off-campus housing department that offers a rental directory for their students.
If your rental is located near a military base, then you might want to check out listing websites that cater to military personnel. Sites like MilitarybyOwner.com and AHRN.com cater to military tenants and allow you to post listings to their site for a fee.
Tip number 3: Create an eye-catching rental listing
When marketing online, your property listing details and photos are going to attract people to your rental. The best way to make your listing stand out is to have a winning combination of appealing details and attractive photos. Here are a few things you’ll want to include in your description:
- A catchy title, like “2-Bedroom Apartment near Downtown” or “Ranch-style Home 1/2 mile from the Foothills.”
- Amenities, like how many bedrooms, baths, square footage, location, updates and garage space
- Restrictions on pets and smoking
- Rent and deposit amounts
- Lease options
Now on to pictures: they’re worth a thousand words and are one of your best marketing tools. Pictures are the first thing your renter sees and are often the only thing they compare to other properties in their initial search. Well-done photographs help your property stand out and make your web listings shine.
Professional photography can be expensive, and you likely don’t need it. Most smartphones come with decent cameras that have editing applications available. For best results, take photos when the unit is empty and clean, shoot when the natural lighting is good, take photos from multiple angles of the room, and be wise about editing so as not to give a false impression of the space.
The best part about spending a little time on making your listing is that you can save your listing as a document on your computer. The next time you need to market your vacancy, simply update the availability date and the rest is ready to go.
Tip #4: Where should you advertise your rental?
Market your listing online for maximum exposure. Traditional ways of advertising, like signs and newspaper advertisements, can still be great tools for your rental. However, many renters start their housing search online, so posting a listing online will increase your pool of applicants.
Don’t limit yourself to one site either. There are dozens of sites that will allow you to list your unit for free like Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Apartments.com, Rent.com, and Padmapper.com are going to increase exposure for your rental. Having your vacancy posted at multiple sites will increase your applications and give you more choices when it comes to tenants. There are even sites that will automatically post your property to dozens of listing websites, which saves you some time.
If you are marketing your rental online, chances are that quite a few of your prospective tenants are viewing your listing from their phone. Be sure that your listings can be viewed on a mobile device. The easier it is to view your listing, the more applicants you’ll have.
Tip #5: Keep your rent competitive with similar properties
Having a competitive rent amount is key to covering your expenses and finding a good renter. One of the biggest mistakes that first-time landlords make is to set their rent price too high or too low. If your rate is too high, then you won’t have many applicants. There’s also a downside to ricing your rent too low. Owning a rental is just like owning a business, and there is a minimum rent that you need to charge to cover your expenses. Plus, a lower rent will attract more applicants, which can mean more applicants that aren’t a good fit.
Set your rent amount at a rate that is competitive for the neighborhood. Check your local newspaper for information regarding vacancy rates and average rental prices. Knowing local trends will let you know if you need to adjust to fit the market. A site like Rentrange.com can be a great resource to check your rent.
The most important thing to keep in mind when filling your vacancy is to understand that marketing your rental should be as important as any other step of the rental process. It takes a little time and effort, but a solid marketing plan will help you fill your units quicker.
TurboTenant is a completely free professional-quality online landlord software that offers easy and fast tools like marketing, online applications, tenant screening, and rent payments.