Prolonged vacancies can eat into a landlord’s emergency fund. While repair, repainting, and routine maintenance are necessary and take a little time, a freshly cleaned and updated unit should rent quickly. Try these tactics for how to fill rental vacancies quickly.
Professional Photos and Honest Advertisements
When the unit is empty, clean, and freshly painted, invest in professional photos to show it at its best. Prospective tenants like to see a vacant apartment and imagine their own furniture there. A professional should also be able to help you create a 360◦ virtual tour to post on your website.
Advertisements must be truthful. Emphasize the amenities you know are most attractive to your target demographic, but be honest about the drawbacks. “Super clean three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow—street parking only” is better than not mentioning parking at all. Some prospective tenants won’t care about parking, while for others it’s a deal-breaker. Don’t risk your reputation as a good landlord by wasting potential tenant’s time. The right tenant will love your unit and settle in for a good, long stay.
Appropriate Pricing and Good Timing
Check comps frequently to see what rentals of similar size and with similar amenities in your rental’s neighborhood currently fetch. Perhaps the unit’s unique location, view, or luxury amenities justify higher pricing, but being too much of an outlier will push your prospects toward other properties.
Many cities have rental “seasons” when most leases come up for renewal—May and October, or the end of August, for example. Try to sync up your lease period with the times that most tenants are looking for an alternative to their current rental. Demand will spike, and you’ll have a better chance of renting the unit quickly.
Positive Reviews and Referrals
If you have long-term tenants who love their homes and are happy to stay put, ask them for positive reviews and referrals. These are great tenants, and you’d be happy to have more like them—they pay, and they stay. Build on your tenants’ networks of friends and acquaintances to get the word out that you have a terrific unit available.
If a long-term tenant has moved out, this is your opportunity to do some extensive work on the rental and update it with amenities that current renters want—which, in turn, gives you a chance to raise the rent for the unit. Investing in some new kitchen appliances and an upgrade to bathrooms could pay off in additional revenue and another long-term tenant who signs a lease at a higher rate.
Filling rental vacancies quickly is a goal for all property owners, but it doesn’t mean you should cut corners on screening new tenants. Rushing too quickly to get a lease signed can come back to haunt you if you haven’t done your due diligence with references, credit and criminal background checks, and confirming employment. Sometimes getting the right tenant is better than getting the fastest, most eager tenant.