October typically signals the beginning of the offseason for rental property owners. Not many people are willing to move during the colder weather, so Maryland rental property owners often have trouble finding tenants in the winter months. Traditional marketing and advertising methods may be effective, but MD property owners will likely notice fewer leads and less overall interest in their rental properties. One of the benefits of a slower rental season is that property owners can spend time investigating new marketing methods to increase the chances of finding tenants for the winter. Get creative during the cold season and use the spirit of holiday cheer to your advantage in your winter marketing efforts!
Marketing Methods That Work
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today. It not only allows you to reach a much wider audience than other marketing channels, but also makes it easier to narrow down your target audience to those who live near your property and likely have the highest level of interest in renting from you. Take the time to determine which social media platforms your ideal tenants use. Younger people in college towns typically enjoy Twitter and Instagram while older people and families in suburban areas are often Facebook users. If you cater to professionals, then posting on LinkedIn can not only attract new tenants but also potentially open the door to valuable networking opportunities with other professionals.
Private property owners can post rental advertisements to their own personal pages and ask friends and family to share their listings with their own friend lists. This allows you to naturally market your MD rental property with geographical precision. Additionally, people are more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend over a typical advertisement, so the natural network of friends that branches from your personal profile page will expand much more quickly than you may expect. And the people who see your listing will be more likely to take it seriously.
You can also print ads in your local newspaper, community newsletters, and community boards at local businesses. It may also be a good idea to attend networking events for real estate professionals. These events are great opportunities to get advice from seasoned real estate agents, property owners, and property managers that can help you make the most out of any Maryland rental property.
You may also want to consider listing your property on military sites, if possible. Many former servicemen and women need affordable housing and finding the right outlets to market to this potential customer base can be very beneficial to any Maryland property owner. If you offer a military discount, this could be a great way to attract a new tenant during the offseason.
Tennant Referral Programs
If you own several rental properties or a multi-unit property, consider incentivizing your current tenants into acting as a marketing channel to fill your vacant rentals. Offer tenants $100-$300 off their next month’s rent for a qualified referral for a new tenant. This can be beneficial in several ways, as your tenants will likely recommend your vacant properties to relatives, friends, and coworkers. Neighbors who know each other are less likely to cause problems and foster a greater sense of community among your tenants.
Your tenants can also help you with updating your rental listings. Take up-to-date photos of your rental properties, list them on online marketing channels, and then ask your tenants to leave honest reviews. Online reviews are a major driving force behind modern digital marketing, and the average consumer will look at reviews before making any type of purchase or financial commitment nowadays. You may also want to consider lowering the rental price of your rental property a few hundred dollars below average market value to attract more leads. Earning slightly less rental income than usual is much better than earning no rental income at all.
Work with a Professional Marketing Service
If you have other things to worry about during the offseason and don’t have the time to invest in developing new marketing channels on your own, consider hiring professional help. Many modern marketing firms offer individualized services to each client’s needs. If you are having trouble finding tenants for your MD rental property during the offseason, a professional marketer may be able to “audit” your current marketing efforts and find opportunities for improvement.
Professional marketing services can provide you with gleaming written content to feature online, in print ads, and across social media platforms. Some marketing firms may also offer professional photography services, so you can have professional, up-to-date photos of your rental property. Ask a potential marketing firm what they offer in terms of social media management, print and digital ads, photography, and specialized marketing services that may work for your rental property.
Be sure that you are clear on a professional marketing service’s rates and fees before agreeing to their contract. For example, if you only need help with a short-term marketing campaign for the rental offseason in Maryland, a marketing service that requires an annual commitment may not be a good option for you. If the marketer offers professional photography at an exorbitant price, it may be worth passing on this offer and looking for a local professional photographer with more competitive prices.
Other Professional Help for Your Rental Property
If you have handled your own property management issues for a while, consider the potential value of hiring a real estate firm, tenant placement service, or property manager to help you find tenants. These services may cost more in the short-term, but they can easily take a lot of the guesswork out of property ownership and help rental property owners deal with the less stress and frustration in the offseason.
Professional property management services typically handle several of the typical issues surrounding property management, including regular inspections, processing maintenance requests, coordinating minor house and appliance repairs, and fielding tenant questions. Property owners will still have several responsibilities even after hiring a property manager, but a good manager can significantly lighten the load.
Improving Your Rental Property
Perhaps you offer a rental property in a great location with an attractive monthly rental price, but the property is missing a few amenities that most tenants would expect. For example, if your rental property does not have central air conditioning, you can overcome this negative selling point by installing energy-efficient window units, resealing the caulk around all of the doors, windows, and entryways on your rental property. This helps retain heat in the summer and will encourage better air flow and cooling in the summer.
You can also invest in relatively affordable renovations to boost the curb appeal of your rental property. Think about landscaping changes you can make like tree removal and new flower beds. If you intend to list a rental property during the offseason, hire a professional landscaping service to make the exterior of the property as attractive as possible, and then consult a professional photographer for new exterior photos of your property.
If the interior of your rental property in MD could use some work, hire a responsible and reputable licensed contractor to handle your renovations. In some cases, something as simple as removing old carpeting and buffing underlying hardwood floors can be enough to attract a new tenant. Some of the other low-cost repairs and renovations you may want to consider include:
If the paint in your rental is old and outdated, then invest in a new coat of paint from a professional painter or paint it yourself. Most rental property owners repaint their rentals after a tenant’s lease expires, but there is no reason for an MD property owner to ignore the opportunity to repaint the interior to more attractive hues.
Bathrooms are major selling points for any property. If your rental property’s bathroom could use a facelift, investing in new energy-efficient water fixtures and lights, and making the room more comfortable and inviting can significantly increase interest in the property.
Does your rental have a deck or patio? Is it enclosed, or does it have a retractable awning or screen? Think of ways to make the exterior of your home more inviting aside from just focusing on curb appeal. Consider building a fire pit for your tenants to enjoy in the backyard during the winter months, power-washing old vinyl siding, or installing a fence around your property.
Signing New Tenants
There are also other ways to attract MD tenants more easily, and they typically revolve around discounts for rentals. In addition to tenant referral programs, you can also incentivize new tenants by offering discounted rental rates for longer lease signings. For example, if you normally charge $1,000 monthly rent on a 12-month lease, offer $850 monthly rent to any tenant who signs an 18-month lease. The longer rental period will offset the lower monthly rental income, and the average tenant will definitely consider $150 per month in rental savings.
Offering these types of long-term lease discounts is a great way to arrange easier tenant transitions later. For example, if a 12-month lease expires in November, offering the next tenant an 18-month lease with a discounted monthly rate would mean the next rental period ends in June, a much easier time of the year for a rental property manager to find new tenants.
How Bay Property Management Group Can Help with Rental Property Offseason Blues
Not many people want to move during the winter months, so it is always a challenge to procure new tenants when the colder weather hits. Finding a tenant in the offseason is not easy. You need to know that your property is showing well to prospective tenants and have a strong plan for marketing the property. By hiring a property management company like Bay Property Management Group they can help to think of new ways to improve these efforts to help you ensure maximum exposure for your rental property during the cold and dark winter rental season If you’re looking for help with marketing your rental proper in the offseason, contact BMG today. We’re here to help!