I hate empty rentals – as a landlord, as a neighbor and citizen. As a landlord, yeah I lose lots of money and time, not to mention the extra hassles.
And no matter what, empty rentals bring extra worries and headaches: vandalism, neighborhood kids, landscaping upkeep…
What most property owners don’t know or understand is the concept of marketing their rentals. I try to be flexible and treat my renters as partners, because they are. If you don’t have tenants, you’re left with empty houses and costly real estate investments.
If the property has been vacant for only 1 month, the entire years profit from that property is affected. If it’s vacant longer, well, you can do the math.
Here are some investing secrets and strategies that I use to get my units rented faster.
Give the first months rent for free. If a unit is vacant, your renter will many times be ready to move in sometime during the monthly cycle, not necessarily at the beginning of the month.
So give them the rest of the month for free as an incentive. You’d lose the rest of the month anyway if the renter doesn’t move it, but now you have the place rented, and the security that (and since I only do 1 year leases) you have them for a full year – because their full paid year doesn’t start until the first month they pay rent.
Reward your tenants. Yeah, we all fall for this tactic. If my tenants keep the unit in great condition, keep the landscaping up, pay on time… sometimes I pay their water bill, or give them a gift certificate for a free dinner or pizza.
It it’s a multi-unit, I tell the other tenants about the reward to get the other tenants motivated.
Stage the place. No matter what kind of neighborhood, I always stage my rentals. Many people don’t have the vision to see what the place will look like with furniture. Most people are driven by emotions, and if they like what they see, they go with it.
Helping them with the deposit and rental monies. It’s about being flexible again, but you have to be careful of course. I meet with them first, check their background, their credit, and other factors, and sometimes I do cut them a break if I feel they need it. There are people who are trying hard to get themselves back on track. And others who aren’t. So you need to decide who is up for the extra help and who it won’t work with.
Provide an upgrade. Since I know my rentals, I know the things that are targeted for upgrades or replacement. Every so often, I’ll take care of one of those. The tenants love it and it keeps the value of my properties up. Another win/win situation.
And last but not least, marketing, marketing and more marketing. Real estate investing is no different than other businesses. You have to keep marketing and keep your leads coming in. Expose your marketing to as many people as you can.
Send postcards in the neighborhood, even to other rental properties. Give them reasons why they should rent from me instead of where they are. Give them the benefits of living with me. I take pictures of my rentals and send them to my prospects so they can see the beautiful places I have.
You have to take care of your tenant’s interest first before you own. I’ve learned that in life, the problems start when we take care of ourselves first before others. When you help other people and take care of their interest first, your own interests will be taken care of automatically.