Regardless of what type of property you own, the most important thing is keeping it occupied. If you aren’t the recipient of cash flow, everything else about the property doesn’t really matter. Finding new tenants can be as easy as getting a referral from your existing tenants. However, more often than not, you will need to put in some time just to get some applications. Having said that, you need to take steps to ensure that there is a constant, seamless transition from one lease to the next. If there are any lapses, it could set you and your business back months.
The first thing you need to do is have a plan. If you don’t give yourself enough time to advertise your property and find tenants, it will leave you scrambling at the 11th hour. Oftentimes, this leads to taking on tenants that you normally would not have. One bad tenant can lead to missed payments that eventually end with an eviction. If you give yourself enough time to properly screen all new applicants, you can give yourself the greatest chance at finding the best tenants for the property. You can never be fully assured you have a tenant that will pay on time every month, but if you do your homework you improve your chances. Like everything else you do in the real estate business, you need to have an outline for what you are going to do and then be willing to execute that plan. Finding tenants is no different.
The two biggest factors that influence prospective tenants are price and location. You should never assume that the amount you rented for last lease will be good for your next one. Every new lease requires you to do your homework and look at the current market. Tenants will compare your property with other comparable ones in the area. If you are priced too high, the demand will not be there and you will lose precious time in finding your next tenant. If you price too low, you are leaving money on the table. Pricing at the right amount is critical for getting your property rented quickly.
Once you know your rent price, you need to hit the ground running with your advertising. It is no secret that the internet is the preferred destination for tenants looking for properties. Before you start advertising with real estate websites, you should not ignore your social media platforms. Often times, you can create the buzz and interest you are looking for simply based on word of mouth. A nicely written post with pictures and information about the property posted a few times a week can get the ball rolling. Things can take off quickly if you have the right information posted and you are consistent enough. There are other ways to advertise online, but you should not ignore social media.
Craigslist is the most common place for many renters, but it is far from the only website. Trulia, postlets and Zillow are also common websites for tenants looking for a rental. Because of the interest online, you need to make your listing stand out from the crowd. The best way to do this is by including as many pictures as you can. If you can show pictures of every room of the house, including the exterior, you can attract genuine interest and not just curiosity about the property. It is also important to include as much information about the house and the area as possible. List every expense that will be included and whether or not you will allow pets or smoking. Doing this will not only attract real tenants, but it will save you time in showing to tenants that just wanted to see the inside of the property.
Finding tenants often takes a combination of multiple different strategies at one time. In addition to social media and real estate websites, you can promote the property on your own. You will be surprised just how many people will contact you from one for rent sign in the front yard of the property. If you have other properties, you can place a sign on there as well, even if it is not the property you are renting. The more people that call, the greater the chances that you will find your tenant. These signs can also be placed on any busy intersections in town or anywhere in the neighborhood that it is legal. If you make the sign generic in nature, you can use them again next year. A good bandit sign campaign is a great place to start.
It was only a few years ago that the newspaper was the go to place to find rental properties. While the number of newspaper readers has declined over the years, it still may be a viable option for the right price. Many local towns have local publications that could be affordable and reach your target market. Space is limited, so you need to take the time to write up a catchy ad that is informative without costing you too much. It is a good idea to have a dedicated website or posting that you can send after initial contact is made. Newspapers can be a viable alternative, but you need to do a little homework to see if it makes sense for you.
You can find good tenants if you give yourself enough time, know your market and put your plan into place. Tenants will not just fall in your lap. You need to go out and find them.
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