8 Reasons Why Your Rental is Sitting Vacant (and What To Do About It)
February 15, 2018
Many property owners think that a rental property is an easy way to make money, but it can be surprisingly difficult to find renters. You still have to pay taxes, mortgages, and upkeep even if no one is renting the property, so any amount of time with an empty rental property is the time that you are losing money.
If you’re tired of your property sitting vacant, here’s what you may be doing wrong — and how to fix it.
You Don’t Market Online
In the modern real estate market, most people are not driving around looking for a property with a “for rent” sign in the window. Make sure to list your property on all major rental sites, including Rent.com, Trulia, Zillow, and Apartments.com. You might also want to consider paying for ads that will target people in your area.
You Don’t Allow Pets
A lot of landlords avoid allowing pets because it seems like too much hassle. However, you may find that a majority of renters in your location tend to have animals and will not consider a pet free property. This can significantly diminish your prospective tenant pool and increase your vacancy time – costing you more in the long run. Plus, the cost of repairing some minor cosmetic damage from a pet may be worth getting a tenant who will stay at your property for a longer period.
You’re Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Most property owners are too busy to deal with all the day to day tasks of managing and marketing a rental property. It can be a good idea to get help from an experienced property management company. They will be able to devote more time and effort to find the right renter for your property.
Your Rent is Out of Range
Price is a key part of attracting tenants. An overpriced property will scare people away very quickly. Take a look at comparable properties in the area to see what their rent prices look like. It might seem like a bad idea to lower your rent, but being competitive with the market can attract renters and keep you from losing money in the long run.
Your Property Needs Renovating
Certain undesirable features could be bad enough to keep prospective tenants away even if the property is properly priced. Ugly wall paint, broken fixtures, or a lack of appliances may make your property unappealing. Tenants are often attracted to updated properties with modern kitchens and bathrooms. These renovations can let you justify a higher price.
You Don’t Clean Before a Showing
It might seem superficial, but the reality is that renters are less likely to rent a property that looks grimy and dirty. Even if you offer to pay for a professional cleaning service before they move in, a lot of mess can make the tenant worry about bad maintenance, pest infestations, or mold growth. Make sure the property is looking fresh and clean before you show it.
You’re Being Too Picky
Having very strict rental criteria is an important way to protect your investment, but if you don’t know how to properly screen or don’t have the tools in place to perform those screenings, you can be eliminating potentially great tenants. As an example: Avoiding accepting renters with extremely low credit scores and not knowing what made the score low. If you had all the facts, you might want to consider allowing a slightly lower credit score as long as the renter has a good rental history.
You Aren’t Partnered with a Property Management Company
Just having a great property at a fair price is not enough. Tenants want to make sure they have a landlord or a management company who will be available whenever the tenant needs them. Make sure you or your property manager respond promptly to any inquiries from tenants, and always have a friendly demeanor while showing the property. Remember, first impressions make a big difference when renting.