Vacancies are a frustrating reality of property management in Harford County. With the COVID-19 crisis, vacant units may be sitting longer than before due to a lack of foot traffic. Vacancy is stressful, but it happens! Are you dealing with vacant rental properties? Use these tips to manage vacancy in your Harford County rental property!
Tips to Manage Vacancy in Your Harford County Rental Property
Hire a Property Management Company
The best tip is to hire a property management company. Owning properties can be tough, and a company full of trained individuals can market your property and get it rented sooner. In addition to that, you will have access to leasing, marketing, property management, and maintenance professionals. You can relax and watch that rent money come in!
The first two weeks of marketing will bring the most qualified leads, but if your property is overpriced, you’ll miss out on prospective renters. As a property owner, you want to maximize your ROI, but pricing your rental property too high will lead to missed leads and extended vacancy.
Do you have a property that has been vacant for what seems like way too long? Bite the bullet and offer some incentives. Incentives don’t just have to be free rent or waived fees (although those work well). Consider offering three months free cleaning, a painter for the exterior, or a gift card to a local Harford County restaurant favorite. Get creative and have some fun. Incentives are almost a guarantee to get the property leased quicker.
Likely some amount of marketing is being done, or how would prospects know about the property? However, ramping up your marketing strategies will help manage vacancy by increasing traffic to the listing and foot traffic for touring. Here are some property marketing ideas to get you started:
- Professional photos – If you don’t know how to take good pictures on a good camera, hire an expert! Real estate photographers are generally affordable and understand what they are doing. The better your photos look online, the higher the chance someone is to request a tour.
- Optimized listing(s) – Be on as many rental listing sites as possible (Zillow, Apartments.com, ApartmentList, etc.) and make sure the listings are fully optimized and detailed. A marketing professional is recommended to consult for this!
- Digital advertising – Be active on social media, have a good website, consider purchasing digital ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. The ads can be set to any budget and are generally pay per click. Ads are best set-up by a marketing professional.
- Signage – Chances are, there is already signage at your property. Consider more signage and more prominent signage. Make it hard to miss.
- Word-of-mouth and networking – Network with real estate brokers, relocation companies, and anyone else that could benefit the property. The more individuals that know of the property and have seen it, the more word-of-mouth advertising is happening. The best part about word-of-mouth is that it costs nothing.
- Virtual tours – Always have a virtual tour set-up and posted on social media, listing sites, and your website. The world is very digital, and people rent without even setting foot on your property.
- Email campaigns and mailer campaigns – Both of these are useful (yes, mail can still be beneficial)! Include former prospects and individuals you’ve met through marketing. If the list is still short, local mail and email lists can be purchased to increase exposure.
Maximize Property Showings
Get the most out of your property showings! Be accessible to set up multiple tours a day. Make it a fun experience for prospects and help them picture themselves living there. In addition to one-off showings, consider an open house. Market the open house for a few weeks ahead of time, reach out to past prospects, and invite them back and have marketing materials ready to hand-out. Make the open house a fun experience as well! Consider offering light food and beverages to impress the prospects. Everyone loves free food and drinks!
Keep the Property Clean
A clean property is a no brainer, but if the property has been vacant a while, it can collect dust and grime. A bi-weekly clean can go a long way and is relatively affordable ($150/ clean on average). A clean and bright unit will rent quicker than one the prospect can tell has been sitting around not lived in for a while.
Learning to stage your rental property is simple, and there are furniture rental companies as well as staging companies that can assist. Sometimes a property is sitting vacant because the floor plan is hard to imagine where furniture would go. Plus, filling it up with furniture will make it look and feel like home.
Provide Additional Amenities
Consider upgrading the kitchen amenities, adding a washer/dryer if the property doesn’t have one (or a new one if it is older), smart microwaves, and ovens are affordable and will impress a prospect as well.
Keep Tenants Happy
The best way to manage vacancy is to keep current tenants happy! Take their good and bad feedback seriously and make changes as needed. Be sure to always respond to questions, comments, or maintenance requests within a timely manner. Offer renewal incentives when possible! Finally, keep in good contact and be easy to reach. A happy tenant will stay longer, and the vacancy isn’t a worry.
When in doubt, hire help! At Bay Property Management Group, we can help you get that property leased quickly. Learn more about property management services.