A rental property is only successful if a paying tenant occupies it consistently. Therefore, effective rental property marketing, along with thorough tenant screening, is vital. After all, every unoccupied day chips away at an owner’s overall profits. So, learning how to prepare for and manage vacancies should be a priority for landlords. Continue reading below as we discuss rental marketing strategies and advice for minimizing and also avoiding vacancies.
5 Rental Marketing Strategies to Reduce Vacancy Rates
“Vacancy” is a scary word for landlords, especially since many landlords continue to recover from the pandemic. Yet, every vacant day is lost profits and potential costs that can add up quickly over time. So, properly preparing for tenants to inevitably vacate and maximizing available tools are the keys to success.
In most areas, competition among rental properties is fierce. It takes more than just a passive listing on one local site to grab the attention of potential tenants. Therefore, setting your property apart and having efficient processes in place is vital. Continue reading below for tips and rental marketing strategies to limit vacancy time.
- Plan Ahead
- Keep Up with Maintenance
- Jump Into Action
- Create and Maintain a Website
- Maximize Every Marketing Opportunity
One thing is for sure. Eventually, your tenant is going to move out. Therefore, planning is one of the most important rental marketing strategies. This starts with a rock-solid lease that clearly defines how much notice a tenant needs to provide. Typically, proper notice is anywhere between 30 and 90 days, depending on the lease length. Keep in mind; this time allows property managers to jumpstart the marketing efforts in the hope of securing a new lease with as little vacancy as possible.
Keep Up with Maintenance
The property turnover process can become expensive and also time-consuming. Part of what can make turnover more efficient is if the maintenance on the property is kept up with throughout the lease. In other words, promptly address repairs and do not neglect preventative maintenance on major systems. Additionally, ensure the tenant is keeping up with lawn care and the home’s exterior if that is their responsibility under the lease. Finally, great curb appeal is important to lasting first impressions.
Jump Into Action
When a notification comes in, this is the green light for landlords to begin planning for property inspection, turnover, and re-leasing. The lease agreement should already state the process for showing the unit during the last weeks of the current unit’s tenancy. However, reach out to the current tenant anyway and let them know what steps you plan on taking next. That said, always remember that the tenant still has a right to peaceful enjoyment of the home, and showings can be a disruption. So, always provide as much notice as possible, but 24 hours as a minimum.
Additionally, take time to schedule the move-out inspection, and any key vendors you know are necessary. That way, even in the busiest times, you are not waiting on vendors, and they can complete the work faster. In turn, this can help reduce vacancy time for rentals.
Create and Maintain a Website
Research shows that 4 out of 5 renters search for their next home via online resources. In other words, if landlords are not maximizing online presence, you could miss out on over 80% of the prospect pool. In addition, a website provides a professional image and allows owners to leverage other digital platforms like social media to drive traffic to their listings.
Also, websites can allow for convenient application submission, tenant screening, rent collection, and maintenance request submission. So, check out some of the top website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Site123 for user-friendly platforms in various customizable designs.
Maximize Every Marketing Opportunity
Successful rental marketing strategies have one thing in common; it is about maximizing all available opportunities. While 4 out of 5 renters turn to the internet to find their next home, 60% of those use their mobile devices. So, as a landlord, your listing needs to be where tenants will see it to be effective. Diversifying your marketing efforts and targeting key tenant groups in your area is essential. For example, if your property is in a college town and you do not take advantage of local message boards through local universities, it is a huge missed opportunity. So, consider rental marketing strategies that include –
- Free Advertising – Popular sites like Zillow are important for reaching prospects, but do not forget the many free sites available such as Craigslist, Rent.com, or GoSection8.com. Any online presence can reach renters, and with free sites, landlords have nothing to lose.
- Word of Mouth – The oldest form of advertising still works. So, facilitate leads by encouraging current tenants to spread the word about available units.
- Social Media – According to reports, the average person spends around 3 hours a day on social media. Therefore, social media rental marketing strategies are a quick way to reach a variety and a large number of potential renters.
- Old-fashioned Signage – Old-fashioned does not equate to a lack of value in marketing. In fact, properties with heavy vehicles or foot traffic nearby can benefit from a traditional yard or window sign. That said, ensure the sign has an easily readable contact number and basic specifications of the unit (bed/bath count, price, or square footage).
How to Successfully Market Your Rental Property
Any landlord can list a property, but simply listing does not mean that you are doing everything to minimize vacancy. Effective marketing requires more than just a few pictures and words. In an industry getting more competitive by the day, standing out is critical. So, take your time in the beginning, and your effort will pay off in the end. To help get you started, check out our tips for effective rental marketing strategies below.
- Invest in Quality Vacant Photos
- Write a Dynamic Description
- Make Sure the Price is Right
- Pre-screen Prospects Before In-Person Tours
- Make the Most of Every Showing
- Track What Does Not Work
- Lean on Professionals
Invest in Quality Vacant Photos
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – we have all heard it, and with rental marketing, it is absolutely true. Pictures are the first thing tenants will notice, and it is what entices them to open the listing further and explore the details. So, if a property’s photos are dark, cluttered, or poor quality, the tenant is likely to pass them by.
So, try to take photos when the unit is vacant. This allows the prospective renter to appreciate the space and imagine their own belongings in the space. That said, if occupied photos are your only option, work with the tenant and give plenty of notice to declutter and clean up before photographing the unit. Make sure to showcase each area of the property, including the following spaces –
- Show off Exterior Curb Appeal and Outdoor Spaces
- Common Areas if in a Community or Multi-Family Building
- Living Spaces
- Dining Area
- All Bedrooms
- Full and Half Baths
- Basement or Bonus Loft Space
- Laundry Area/Mudroom
- Den or Office
- Nearby Neighborhood Attractions
Looking for advice on creating the best rental listing photos? Check out our blog, Photography Tips for Successful Rental Property Advertising, for more helpful tips and tricks.
Write a Dynamic Description
In addition to quality photos, every listing needs an accurate yet dynamic description. There are three primary goals of the description as follows –
- Provide Basic Specifications – List the bedroom and bath count along with square footage, price, deposit amount, current incentive (if any), standard qualifications, and contact information.
- Highlight Desirable Features – This is what sets properties apart from the competition. So, be sure to highlight things important to renters such as – Onsite Parking, Updated Throughout, Fenced Yard, Pets Welcome, Onsite Laundry, Close to Transit, Included Utilities.
- Entice Tenants to Tour In-Person – In rental ads, landlords have a relatively small space to write a description with impact. Therefore, how you say something is just as important as what you say. So, use descriptive adjectives to make the description more interesting and always check for spelling and grammar before posting publicly.
Make Sure the Price is Right
It is safe to say that price is one of the most important factors to tenants. That said, price is not just the monetary amount but the value for the money. In a world where comparing multiple listings side by side in any given location is so easy, pricing your rental right is critical. Many factors determine the price of a rental property, including –
- Neighborhood and Proximity to Necessities
- Square Footage and Bedroom/Bath Count
- New Construction vs. Old
- Overall Amenities and Bonus Features
If your listing does not generate a lot of interest, the price could be a factor. In addition to the points above, consider the economy, neighborhood comparable homes, and the demand in the area. All of these circumstances can affect the time it takes to rent a home.
To help gauge the proper listing price, take advantage of some of the free online rent estimators below. While this is not a foolproof method, they are a tool that can help in conjunction with other considerations.
Pre-screen Prospects Before In-Person Tours
A vacancy for landlords means time is of the essence. So, wasting time driving to tours for prospects who are not serious costs both time and money – time that could be spent on genuine applicants. Therefore, pre-screening interested parties is a good way to manage time and limit vacancy time effectively. So, check out some of these pre-screening points below that also adhere to Fair Housing Laws –
- What is your desired move-in date or timeframe?
- How many occupants will be in the home?
- Do you or any other occupant have pets?
- The application process requires a background check and credit verification. Are you willing to consent to these checks?
- Have you ever been evicted? If so, when?
- What are you looking for in your next home?
Also, take the time to explain the application process and all of the standard qualifications. If the property generates more leads than you can handle, holding an open house is a great way to manage showings and create urgency amongst interested applicants.
Make the Most of Every Showing
Not every prospect that shows interest in a property will apply and follow through. However, making the most of tours is critical to converting “just-looking” into envisioning their next place to call home. So, to be successful in rental showings, check out these tips below –
- Come Prepared – Simply put, know the home’s features inside and out so you can answer any questions a prospect may have.
- Be Professional – As the landlord, the tenant is judging you as much as the property. After all, they will be in contact with you for maintenance needs and other communications throughout their lease. Therefore, dress professionally and offer a friendly greeting.
- Showcase the Property – Arrive early, open the blinds, open doors, turn on the lights, and spray some room refresher. These little touches present the space in the best possible light and are worth the effort.
Once a prospective renter tours the property, check in and see if they have any questions and try to gauge their interest level. Offer to help them complete the application before they leave, but if not, thank them for coming and offer a printed property ad with all of the information they need—afterward, follow-up over the next few days.
Track What Does Not Work
In any marketing endeavor, some things work, and some things do not. Therefore, to help with rental marketing strategies in the future, keep track of what was not a success. Whether it is a paid website that generated few leads, a missed marketing demographic, or turnover processes that could be more efficient – take note. All of these serve as learning experiences to understand better how to market better next time.
Lean on Professionals
Time is money, and when it comes to limiting the effects of extended vacancy, relying on the experience of professionals can help landlords be successful. Managing and marketing rental property is more than creating a dynamic listing. Some of the benefits to professional management include, but are not limited to –
- Efficient Property Turnover
- Extensive Local Market Knowledge
- Targeted Marketing Efforts
- Top Quality Photos
- Professional Showings
- Diligent Follow-Up to Secure Applications
- Thorough Tenant Screening
The leasing team and property managers at Bay Property Management Group work together to provide owners a seamless and effective local property management strategy. Not only does this help to limit vacancy time, but it also allows owners to step back from daily operations and late-night maintenance calls to enjoy the passive income owning a rental investment provides. So, if you are interested in rental marketing strategies or the benefits of full-service rental management, give us a call today.