Rental Properties Won’t Make You Money if They are Vacant
Rental properties can be a great investment- if you keep them occupied. They offer the opportunity to build wealth for the future and even to generate passive income. Seasoned investors, however, know that “passive” may be somewhat a misnomer when it comes to rental revenue. Being a successful landlord requires quite a bit of diligent work.
Your main priority as a landlord is to keep your rental consistently occupied. Nothing will derail your investment plans like an extensive, unplanned vacancy. There will be times, of course, when vacancies will be inevitable – a tenant may move out suddenly without notice, you may need to evict someone, or a fire or natural disaster could make your rental uninhabitable for a period of time. However, they number and duration of vacancies is not completely out of your control.
Minimizing vacancies takes some work, but it will protect your investment and help you generate revenue. Here are our top seven tips for keeping your rental occupied:
Keep it clean
You are very invested in your property. But to prospective tenants, it is just one rental option among many. Presenting a clean and tidy space to shows that you are diligent, take pride in your property, and care about your renters’ comfort.
Keep it up to date
It is essential that you stay on top of both regular maintenance and needed repairs. Tenants will not tolerate a big problem for long, and they are not likely to sign another lease if there is an ongoing minor issue that never gets addressed.
Find the right renters
Vetting prospective renters does take time, but it is time well spent. The wrong tenant can cost you money in the long run – whether he or she is irresponsible, or just a poor fit for your rental, you run a serious risk of an eventual vacancy.
It takes time to find a good tenant. Ideally, you should get started on the search process several months before the end of a lease. The last thing you want is to have to settle for a less-than-ideal candidate, or have your property stay vacant while you find the right person.
Don’t just rely on a flimsy Craigslist ad to rent your property. Invest in professional photography, and spend a little extra to advertise in higher-end rental magazines and websites. Be thoughtful about who your preferred renters would be when you decide where you advertise. Create engaging marketing copy for your ads, but never, ever oversell your rental to the point of deception.
Know the market
Keep track of comparable rental rates in your area to ensure you are not charging too much rent. If your tenants do not agree with your perceived value of your rental, they will be hunting for a better deal long before their lease is up. Raise the rent in small increments, and on an infrequent basis.
Develop a relationship with your tenants
Your tenants will be much more willing to work with you through problems and renew a lease with you if they feel you are a friend. Be courteous and thoughtful, do your best to make them feel at home, and always keep their comfort and needs at the top of your priority list.