Rental Properties Are Not Automatically Income Properties.
Turning a house into a rental property is a lot of work that pays off…until it doesn’t. For some reason, some properties don’t perform as you expect them to.
You depend on your rental property for income to pay bills, so it can be challenging when you’re ready for new tenants, but you’re just hearing crickets. A vacant property means a gap in your income, savings, and budget. None of these things feel good, and most of these cause unneeded stress.
You might be the best landlord in town, with a beautiful property just waiting to be filled with people again. When your property isn’t renting, there are multiple factors that you can address with a few simple solutions. These rental tips for landlords are vital for getting tenants into properties that have sat vacant. With these tips, you’ll see how easy it is to make money again.
1. Deferred Maintenance
Maintenance is a headache, but it’s oh-so-necessary. When maintenance issues build up, tenants notice.
If your bumper keeps falling off of your car, you can either duct-tape it back on or get a new bumper. If you were to buy that car, which would you be willing to spend more money on?
This is what it’s like with losing track of maintenance up-keep on superficial issues and repairs. Suppose potential renters walk through your property and find quick fixes that look like that duct-taped bumper. In that case, you need to get in and fix the issues with longer-lasting repairs.
Are there repairs that need to be made to bring your property up to code? If yes, get to them ASAP. You don’t want to wait any longer on these repairs. It might feel like it’s costing you now, but if you wait and your property continues to sit vacantly, it will absolutely cost you in the long run.
Do you know if you comply with federal, state, and local building codes? If you don’t know, or the answer is NO, we advise you to check on the laws and get in good standing.
- US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Make a list of maintenance and repairs that need to be addressed ASAP. Some items might include:
- Are there any obvious repairs needed, such as broken windows or doors?
- Are the walls freshly painted and holes patched up?
- Is the carpet clean?
- Are the appliances working properly?
- Is the house properly ventilated?
- Has the property been professionally cleaned?
Renters want to see that the landlord takes care of their property. It shows them that the landlord will take care of it without hesitation if something goes wrong.
Your property is an advertisement for your management skills. Suppose it’s not taken care of before anyone moves in. How can potential tenants trust anything will get taken care of after moving in?
2. Minor Upgrades That Make A Difference
You don’t need to turn your property into an Instagram-worthy retreat to make people want to rent it. However, some simple upgrades will bring in more renters for years to come.
If you’re willing to get a little vulnerable, ask your previous tenants what upgrades they think your property could use. If you’re a first-time landlord, consider asking friends or family to walk through your property and point out what could be updated to make it more appealing.
Some common upgrades include:
- Exterior updates (paint, landscaping)
- Polishing floors
- Professional carpet cleaning
- Light fixture updates/replacement
- Minor fixes (paint, faucet repair, deep cleaning)
- New appliances in the kitchen
- Washer and dryer
- Door painting or replacing
When you meet someone for the first time, first impressions matter. Make the entrance welcoming. Add a fresh coat of paint. Plant a few shrubs (or take some out). Get your property all dolled-up for “picture day.”
3. Your Marketing Could Use Some Work
You’re making a great first impression with your upgrades. Well done! Now it’s picture day, and you want the best camera to capture your work because pictures are worth a thousand words.
Take a look at your listing. Are the pictures accurately representing your property? You might want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take beautiful photos of your property. Higher quality photos have been proven to get more interest and better tenants. You want to set your property up for its “picture day” and make it look as appealing as possible! Take photos on a sunny day, with the correct lighting in each room.
Pictures might be worth something, but words still matter. The key to great listings is in the DESCRIPTION. Here are a few tips when writing your description for your listing:
- Use a short description of 250 words or less for your property because no one wants to read a lengthy explanation. Be concise, accurate, and upfront about your property.
- Write an engaging headline that accentuates your property. Is it in a desirable neighborhood with close amenities? What are the highlights of your property? Pair details about the location with something unique about your rental!
- Create an opening statement about your property that draws people in. “This spacious single-family home feels like an oasis in the heart of the city.” Let potential tenants know why they don’t want to pass on your listing.
- Describe your property’s main features: how many bedrooms, bathrooms, size of the house, the lot, parking, flooring, etc.
- Offer a special promotion. This could be a move-in special with a discounted security deposit, one-month free pet rent or utilities, or other appealing special that makes sense for you financially.
Spending a little extra time and money to update your marketing to appeal to potential renters are resources well-spent!
4. Update Your Price And Policies For The Current Market
Sometimes it’s good to stand out from the crowd. However, this is an area where you want to blend in.
Have you looked at other rentals in your area to see what properties similar to yours are renting for? If your pricing is too high, people searching for a lease will look over your property.
You don’t have to bring the price down an unreasonable amount, either. Would it be worth bringing the price down $100-200 to get a tenant into your property this month instead of next month? Let’s say your current monthly rent is set at $2,200/month, and you lowered it to $2,000/month to be within the bounds of people searching for rentals up to $2,000. Would it be worth $200 every month to get someone in NOW?
Maybe your monthly rent price is spot-on, and there is no room to lower it based on your budget as a landlord. Okay, what about your security deposit? Consider how much you are asking from tenants. Are you asking for three months’ rent upfront? Could you ask for two or one, instead? Potential tenants may be okay with paying the monthly rent, but perhaps the security deposit you require is outside their reach.
When was the last time you updated your rental policies? Is there some wiggle room to make it seem more accessible to potential tenants? Setting rules is necessary to protect yourself as a landlord. Still, if other rentals in your area are slightly more relaxed on restrictions, they could be getting tenants when you are not.
You have a budget and rules for your property that work for you. That’s understandable. Is there an area you can think of that you can bend to accommodate potential tenants?
5. Hire A Better Management Team
Perhaps you don’t manage your own property and have hired a property management company to take care of everything. Maybe you have been managing your own property.
I will ask you a challenging question: Have past tenants given you feedback about your property management team?
Perhaps you are the property management team. Have past tenants been frustrated with communication, response times, or overall experience? As difficult as it might be to evaluate yourself, it is something to consider when interest in your property is lacking.
If you have hired a team to manage your property and have noticed a general decline in interest, satisfaction, or overall experience of their renting experience, it might be time to reconsider your terms with the company. Potential tenants that don’t have a great experience with the point of contact for the property will not want to stick around to experience more of the same.
Hire a property management company you can trust to build rapport with potential tenants and keep that relationship strong throughout the lease terms. People don’t just review a property. They review the entire experience. Have your tenants had the best experience possible?
From Exhausted To Profitable: Use These Tips To Turn Your Vacant Property Into An Income Property Again.
There are many factors to consider when a rental property is not performing. These rental tips are helpful for landlords, but they can be completely overwhelming when your income, budget, and savings are on the line.
If you have been solely responsible for your property, perhaps it’s time to get a little help to turn your situation around. Hire a team that wants to help you succeed as a profitable landlord. Stop feeling exhausted by your responsibilities and let someone else shoulder them so you can get back to living your best life.