As they say - all things change. The rental market swings up and down depending on the current economy, interest rates and the sales market. Different markets can lead to more properties on the market for rent. If there are more vacancies available, owners simply need to utilize other tools to keep their units occupied.
Be Competitive with the Rent
An overpriced rental is just that – “overpriced.” Prospective tenants, like prospective buyers, first compare housing prices. A desirable tenant is not going to choose a property at a higher rent if they can obtain a similar one in the area for a lower price. Holding out for a higher rent simply does not make economic sense. When needed, owners need to lower the rent to be competitive in the current market and avoid losing more with a long-term vacancy. As stated before, all things change, and rents will increase again.
If your property is competing against several others in the neighborhood, it is critical that the first impression when they drive by is a positive one. Will they want to see the property or just keep on driving? Maintenance on the outside of the property is just as important as the inside. Generally, once they have a bad impression, they will not be calling again. The first glance with a renter is just as crucial as with a new homebuyer. Consider investing in any exterior maintenance issues when the property comes up for rent:
- Outside paint and roof or gutter replacement: there is nothing worse than peeling paint or non-existent paint, a sagging gutter, or a roof that looks like it will leak. Updating any of these items can go a long way to giving a property a fresh look and making a great first impression.
- Overgrown shrubs, trees, weeds, untidy lawn, and a littered property: This may turn off a tenant because it gives the impression that the neighborhood is not safe or that the owner simply does not maintain the property.
If the property is successful in “inviting the tenants to look,” then it is equally important that a dismal interior does not spoil their interest. It may be time to look at updating the interior paint, carpeting, appliances, lighting, or any other item that detracts from the unit. Ask yourself, “would I want to live here?” If the answer is no, it is time to look at updating the unit.
Incentives Can Make the Difference
If you are matching the competition with the rent, the size, and the condition of the property, sometimes it just takes a “little more incentive.” This is the time to consider offering something extra such as including cable service, membership to a health club, paying for a portion of the utilities, a gift certificate to a restaurant, etc. There are dozens of items that might just push an applicant to make that final decision.
Many factors determine how quickly your property will rent in a highly competitive market. As your property management company, we will work to market your property as quickly as possible and when needed, advise you of what would help to promote your property to reduce or eliminate a vacancy. Remember, no matter what the market, a well-qualified tenant is still our primary goal to give you the best return on your investment.