I hate empty rentals – as an owner, as a neighbor and as a citizen. As the owner, yes, I’m wasting a lot of money and time, not to mention the added hassle.
And anyway, empty rentals bring additional worries and headaches: vandalism, neighborhood children, landscape maintenance…
What most landlords don’t know or understand is the concept of marketing their rentals. I try to be flexible and treat my tenants like partners, because they are. If you don’t have tenants, you end up with empty houses and expensive real estate investments.
If the property has been vacant for only 1 month, the full year profit of that property is affected. If it’s vacant longer, well, you can do the math.
Here are some investment secrets and strategies that I use to rent out my units faster.
Give away the first months rent for free. If a unit is vacant, your tenant will often be ready to move in 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 tenant didn’t move it, but now you have the rented place, and the security that (and since I only do one year leases) you have them for a year full – because their full paid year does not begin until the first month they pay rent.
Reward your tenants. Yes, we all fall for this tactic. If my tenants keep the unit in good shape, maintain the landscaping, pay on time…sometimes I pay their water bill or give them a gift certificate for a free dinner or pizza.
If it’s a multi-unit, I talk to other tenants about the reward to motivate other tenants.
Stage the place. No matter the type 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 accept it.
Help them with the deposit and the rents. It’s about being flexible again, but you have to be careful of course. I meet with them first, check their background, credit and other factors, and sometimes cut them a break if I feel they need it. There are people trying to get back on track. And others who are not. So you have to decide who is up for the extra help and who it won’t work with.
Provide an upgrade. Since I know my locations, I know the things that are targeted for upgrades or replacement. From time to time, I take care of one of them. Tenants love it and it maintains the value of my properties. Another win/win situation.
And to top it allmarketing, marketing and more marketing. Real estate investing is no different from other businesses. You need to keep marketing and getting your leads to come in. Expose your marketing to as many people as possible.
Send postcards around the neighborhood, even to other rental properties. Give them reasons why they should rent from me rather than where they are. Give them the benefits of living with me. I take photos of my rentals and send them to my prospects so they can see the beautiful places I have.
You must take care of the interest of your tenant before becoming a landlord. I learned that in life, the problems start when you take care of yourself before others. When you help other people and take care of their interests first, your own interests will be taken care of automatically.