When your rental is sitting vacant, it can be a slippery slope. Every day that it goes without a tenant is a day of lost rent –and that can add up fast. But don’t lose heart! As a landlord, it’s a normal part of the process to expect that you will have periods from as short as a few days to a few months of vacancy. The length of time between when you first make it available on AHRN.com until you’re signing a tenant lease depends on many factors.
DIY or an Agency
There are two routes you can take — you can market it yourself or to give it to a rental agent or property management company. Depending on what you are offering and it’s location, an agency, using all the tools they have to get the word out, can get it rented in 1-2 months. If you choose to DIY, it could take up to double that time… but you never know. Either way, looking at the factors below can help you decide which choice suits you and your property best, and do the best job.
Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard it before, and for good reason. Proximity to schools, transportation, someone’s place of business and the town, being where traffic and noise are at a minimum, having beautiful views and so on all can make a significant difference in how desirable your rental will be. Not only will it tend to get greater interest (and faster), you are more likely to get top dollar per month.
Certain times of year are more conducive to renting successfully. People with kids in grade school move around their school year. College towns see rentals go by semester – everyone is looking to move in before Fall, though you may catch some transfers just after the new year, before the second term starts. States where weather is a factor find that Spring and Fall are most active for rentals – and if the winter is mild, the spring season starts earlier.
Folks are less inclined to move around the holidays. That said, there are renters out there at any time. In locations with major medical centers, landmark industries, or booming business, specialists, visiting teachers and consultants can be looking year round.
The All-Important Price
They say the market determines your price. Look for comparable homes in the area and see how much they ask for. If your price is getting no bites, you need to consider dropping it incrementally until you get interest. Starting with a higher price to maximize your income may not only may keep it on the market longer, the overage you hope to make may be offset by what you’re losing each day. Conversely, if you need to rent ASAP, having a very reasonable price will certainly speed up the process.
Condition of the Property
You can have a great location, but if the property is run down, or does not have modern conveniences like an upgraded kitchen, decent AC/heat, perhaps a washer/drier on site, etc… it can make renting it to a desirable tenant more challenging. Making simple changes like a new coat of paint, freshly grouting kitchen or bathroom tiles, a few flowering plants outside, replacing carpet or laying an inexpensive floor can make all the difference.
Terms of the Lease
It’s easier to find a renter if you have less restrictions. One option is to be flexible on the length of the lease. Short term renters will at least get your bills covered. Some may want a two year, or to go month to month after a certain initial period of commitment. Allowing pets and welcoming children increase your options tenfold.
Whether or not you hire an agency, the more ways you get the word out, the more likely you will be to succeed. Have a few well-timed open houses. Drop cards at local stores and pin on community boards. Send fliers to neighbors, ask family and friends to talk it up, and put it out on social media with great pictures and a link to your Craigslist ad. AHRN.com offers the option to upgrade your property to a Gold Listing with more photos, a place in the featured listing carousel and featured listing priority in searches to improve your listing’s visibility.
These are all easy and can produce more leads in your time frame.
In the end, what pays most is finding a qualified renter who will pay on time, care for the place as their own, and honor the rules of the lease. Military members are some of the most desirable tenants out there, and listing your rental on AHRN.com will create great exposure to that market!
Meet Your Contributor:
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting and buying/selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review,The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at http://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at http://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com.