Whether it is a hot rental market or not, marketing your rental properly and doing it aggressively will likely result in more and higher quality potential tenants and could result in higher rental prices. Most landlords just stick up a “For Rent” sign and hope for the best. Some of us might actually put it on Craigslist too, but for most, that’s about as far as it goes. We do the minimum and hope for the best. Occasionally you may get lucky, but don’t always count on it!
In addition, we want to try to turn our rentals from one tenant to the other as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Vacant rental times mean lost income and where exactly does the shortage come from? It’s from out of your pocket; that’s where!
Before we get into marketing rental properties correctly, let’s first say that if you already have a quality tenant, spend some time and money attempting to retain them! Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
The Setup. Any real estate deal will move along much better if you have a good foundation in place and it is set up properly in advance. Rentals are no different. Here are a few things to keep in mind along the way:
Marketing Your Rental. So aside from a “For Rent” sign and a possible Craigslist ad, what lengths should a landlord go in order to get the best tenants and the highest rents? We believe that the harder you market the property, the better. The more folks that see your marketing, the more possible tenants you may have to choose from. Here are a few strategies that we have found successful:
Showing Your Rental. Now that you have possible tenants calling, they will hopefully want to see your rental property. As a new landlord many years ago, I would make an appointment for someone to see the property, only to find that in about 40-50% of cases, you have no-shows! We have found that by scheduling open houses with limited hours such as 10 am-noon or 1 pm on a Saturday or Sunday, that we get the serious folks to show up rather than the proverbial “tire-kickers.” (We sometimes make exceptions for folks visiting out of state with limited time to see properties. Although not always true, we have found that most of these folks are professionals making good incomes and make quick, solid decisions; and most importantly, they tend to show up for the appointment when they say they will do so.)
Holding an open house allows us to have several folks at the open house to assist with showing the property, answering questions, helping with paperwork, etc. For the potential tenants that are attending, it can also cause a bit of a “buyers’ frenzy”, which is not a bad thing.
If the rental is still occupied, we ask the current tenant to leave the house in neat and clean condition and to lock up any valuables beforehand. We also meet with them the night before to make sure all is in order. If the current tenant complains about the open house, we ask them if they would rather experience people showing up at the property at odd and inopportune times or just to be inconvenienced for a couple of hours. We have found that about 85-90% of the time we will find a tenant with the open house as long as we aggressively marketed beforehand to drive them there.
Being a successful landlord, requires, time and effort, good people skills, organization and a willingness to do “above and beyond” what a normal landlord will do. Best of luck with your next vacancy! Look at it as an opportunity to get an even better tenant and a higher rental rate.
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President and founder of the Colorado Landlords Association, best-selling real estate author and attorney, landlord and real estate investor with 28 years' experience.