Tenant turnover is a big expense for a vast majority of landlords. Without rental income flowing in, it may be hard for you to pay your debts and property expenses. Such expenses include cleaning costs, repairs and maintenance, and costs of marketing the unit.
By minimizing vacancies, you can help increase your rental income. And, it goes without saying that this is the goal for many landlords.
On the other hand, you don’t want to fill your vacant rental properties with just any renter. Renting to the wrong tenant, as you already know, is a recipe for disaster. We’ve all heard about the landlord horror stories!
Your goal should be to fill your vacancies quickly but with the right tenant. That’s why savvy landlords always insist on a thorough tenant screening process.
Today, you are going to learn how to fill your rental property vacancies quickly with high-caliber tenants. Let’s get started, shall we?
1. Optimize your rental ads.
Effective rental advertising is essential to fill up vacant units in rental properties. Your goal should be to reach as many prospective tenants as possible. This way, you’ll have a bigger pool of prospective tenants to choose from.
When drafting your rental ad, make the blurb attractive, short and convincing. Make sure you explain all the basics of your property. For instance, the rental price, the square footage of the rooms, the included utilities, the property’s location, and your pet policy.
Also, remember to add high-quality photos to your rental ad as well. Prospective tenants can quickly be turned off by awful, quickly shot, low-quality pictures. You should take pictures of the kitchen, bathroom(s), living room, and bedroom. If you struggle with photography it would be wise to find someone to help you.
Most importantly, your rental ad needs to adhere to the Fair Housing Rules. Avoid including statements like:
- “Great for working folks or students.”
- “Suits mature individual or couple.”
- “Perfect for female student.”
- “Suitable for single professional.”
- “Ideal for quiet couple.”
To filter out undesirable tenants in advance clearly state in the rental ad that you will be performing a throughout screening on potential renters.
2. Be proactive with your current tenant.
While definitely not impossible, finding a good tenant isn’t easy. It requires a bit more effort than just putting a rental ad on the internet. That’s why when you have a good-quality renter, you must try and keep them
Here are some ways to boost tenant retention:
- Encourage them to sign a longer lease at a reduced rate. If they renew their six-month lease, extend it to one year. If they renew a one-year lease, extend it to two years at a reduced rate. You may have less profit, but it definitely pays to have reliable, rent-paying tenants.
- Know what they want most. Lifestyle quality, especially for younger Americans, is a major deciding factor on whether to stay or leave. Even simple property upgrades like updated cabinet hardware or kitchen backsplash can make a big impact.
- Be a good landlord. Be courteous and respectful towards your renters. Be timely with your responses and make it easy for your tenants to reach you. However, don’t take it too far to a point where you find yourself being taken advantage of.
- Stay on top of maintenance issues. Inspect your property routinely and be proactive as regards property maintenance. Nothing frustrates a tenant more than a landlord who doesn’t respond to or who blow off complaints.
3. Screen all prospective tenants thoroughly.
We have all heard the terror stories. Someone knows someone who is a landlord and had a tenant from hell.
The hellish tenant is one who damages the rental property. They hoard, and improperly dispose of trash – if they dispose of it. They have too many animals, against your rules. They suddenly have extra family members, a new roommate, or extra children, that you never got to screen.
To avoid getting such tenants, you have to ensure that you always screen every potential renter. There is just too much risk if you don’t. After all, the last thing you want is to end up having to evict a tenant. As you probably know, the process is often lengthy, costly and usually time-consuming.
Screening starts the moment you make the first contact with a potential renter. It may be through text, call or even an email. Use this opportunity to get to know more about them by asking them a set of qualifying questions.
Questions to ask prospective tenants:
- Know why they are moving. Is it because they are changing jobs or want more room? Or, is it because they are having problems with their previous landlord or neighbors? If it’s the latter, then ask more questions because it may be a red flag.
- Know when they wish to move in. Do they seem to be in a rush to move in? If so, find out the reason why.
- Find out how much they make per month. Generally speaking, look for tenants who make at least two- and a half times the monthly rent. For instance, if the rent is $1,000, then look for tenants making at least $2,500 a month.
- Find out whether they will be willing to provide references from their employer or prior landlord. If they are not willing to provide employee or landlord references, something may be off. Continue looking.
Asking these qualifying questions can help you save a lot of time. You won’t have to spend time showing your property to unsuitable tenants. Consequently, you’ll be able to fill your vacant rental property quickly.
Long-term vacancies can be stressful and financially tough for landlords. But, by putting these three proven strategies into use, you can help fill your rental property vacancies with tenants quickly.