According to Pew Research Center data, there are now more US households headed by renters than at any point since at least 1965. What’s more, renters are staying put for much longer than they used to. In 2017, American renters moved less frequently than any year since 1988. These statistics are excellent news for property owners, since it means they’ll generally have a bigger pool of applicants to choose from and that their tenants are more likely to stick around for the long term.
Still, 11 percent of the US population moved in 2017. So while the odds may be good that a tenant may stay for a few years’ time, there are no guarantees that he or she will want to renew the lease once it’s up. The growing demand for affordable housing and historically low vacancy rates may be in your favor, but despite all your efforts to keep great tenants around, you can’t always anticipate when a renter wants to move. And, of course, just because there are potential new tenants to be found doesn’t mean that they’ll be excellent tenants. If you’re struggling to fill a recent vacancy or you’ve simply had bad luck with tenants in the past, you may want to consider the following tips to increase interest in your rental property.
Place Some Ads
It’s no longer enough to rely on word of mouth alone. When you want to find great applicants, proper promotion is a must. Although placing flyers on community notice boards and newspaper ads used to be preferred techniques, you can’t afford to miss out on online advertising in the digital age. A survey conducted by Apartments.com and Google found that 72 percent of respondents turned to the internet first when beginning an apartment search, with 61 percent beginning with either a search engine or an apartment listing website.
There are a variety of websites you can choose from for this purpose, and it will often behoove you to list available properties on more than one platform. You may even want to use social media to your advantage in an effort to reach more locals. Just make sure that if you run any targeted ads for available properties that you comply with federal housing laws. Otherwise, finding new tenants could be the least of your worries; instead, you could find yourself in legal trouble.
Hire an Agent or Manager
It makes sense for the owners of rental properties to hire those who can market these apartments adequately and take care of all the logistical details. This is especially true if you, as an owner, have multiple properties or you have another job that keeps you too busy to take care of these tasks yourself.
Many property management companies will actually hire a leasing agent to ensure these properties are rented quickly. In the same way that high-end realtors will be able to advertise, show, and sell a home to luxury buyers, leasing agents work tirelessly to find the best tenants for a given rental property. That said, you may also need to hire a property manager to get the job done. Although an agent may have more experience with the real estate side of things, a property manager will bring the expertise needed to actually keep a great tenant once they’ve signed the lease. For example, they can help to maintain tenant relations and fix the problems that will undoubtedly arise. Some managers are also adept at marketing, which means you may not always need to hire a leasing agent.
In addition, many property management companies will actually partner with local real estate agents. Instead of hiring an agent, you’ll work together with one to refer business to each other. This can potentially be another way to find both new properties and new tenants while maintaining a great working relationship with other thriving businesses in your area.
Screen All Applicants
If you want to appeal to potential tenants, you need to make it easy for them to apply. For example, having an easy-to-submit rental application form on your website can yield more candidates for a vacant property. But in order to find excellent tenants, you’ll need to do more than take an applicant’s word that he or she will be able to pay on time each month.
Therefore, you’ll want to implement a practice of screening all tenants to learn more about their credit history, criminal background, and eviction reports. This information is incredibly valuable to property owners and managers. While these reports can’t tell you every single thing you might want to know, they can help you judge whether a tenant is the right fit. You should also verify employment records and, if necessary, request a cosigner to protect your investment.
In order to comply with federal housing laws, you must do this for each candidate; you are not allowed to simply pick and choose which tenants are subjected to these checks. You should also take note of the questions you are not allowed to ask on a housing application or in an interview to make certain your rental practices are all permitted by law.
The last thing you should have to deal with is a vacant property. With these three tips in mind, you should be able to zero in on ideal candidates and have leases signed promptly.