5 Tips for Marketing Your Rental PropertyDec 15, 2021
As you enter the real estate market as an investor, sooner or later you’re bound to discover, firsthand, the sting of vacancy. Vacancy is a property investor’s worst enemy. When one of your rental units sits vacant for even one month, it can put a big stopper on your income flow, making your expenses hurt even more than they might have already. The smaller your portfolio, the more difficult it is to foot the bill for vacancies, and sometimes properties can sit vacant for months at a time.
How do we prevent this? Sadly, it’s not completely in your control. Your tenants can walk out at any minute, lease or not. However, there are ways you can make your vacant unit more appealing and more visible, increasing its chances of attracting a renter. There’s always a market for rental housing, but it’s up to you to enter your product in that marketplace meaningfully and purposefully. Don’t rely on the ebb and flow. Be proactive with these real estate tips.
1. Make a Facebook Marketplace listing
More and more often, rental-seekers are turning to Facebook Marketplace to find housing. In fact, Marketplace is gaining a major foothold in the landscape of peer-to-peer commerce, which can be attributed to Facebook’s already massive user pool.
Facebook Marketplace may not be an ideal platform for listing rental properties from a design standpoint, with its organizational frustration and lack of features compared to competitors like OfferUp, but it’s still a great asset at your disposal now that so many are turning away from websites like Zillow and wising up to the flaws of Craigslist. If nothing else, posting your listing on Facebook will expand your audience, perhaps to a surprising degree.
2. Have Proper Photographs
If your listing has bad pictures, it will sit vacant the same way an oddly colored winter coat will sit on the rack, left unclaimed all the way until the last minute, when the rest of the coats have been bought. People associate quality photography with a quality product, and quality photography is simultaneously about clarity, accuracy, and flattery. You need to make potential renters more comfortable with renting your property.
For starters, use a quality camera, whether it’s a standalone DSLR or high-end cellphone camera. Blurry, unclear photos won’t cut it. Then, get yourself a tripod, so your pictures are level and straight. When photographing indoors, do so in the daytime when there’s plenty of natural light coming in, and make sure the space is as uncluttered as possible; obviously, a totally empty space will be best, but if you’re photographing an occupied unit, see if your tenant can tidy the place up a bit.
And when it comes to your exterior shot, make sure you’re capturing your property’s exterior under the best possible light conditions. Avoid overcast, and shoot for golden hour, the period of time right before sunset or after sunrise. Showing off the location of your vacant property is extremely important, and ties into our next tip...
3. Put Emphasis on the Community
Think about the first thing that someone seeking a rental is looking for: location! If you want to make your vacant property sound like a good pick, you need to highlight what’s great about its location, and that means being in touch with the strengths of the community where your property sits.
Talk about local shops and restaurants, especially if they’re family owned. Mention proximity to public transit, highways, and main roads. If there’s a university nearby, make sure you include that information; not only will college students be interested, but so will those who prefer to live in a youthful, vibrant area. This is a sales pitch, so it’s best to leave out the unsavoury details about a neighborhood and focus on the good. After all, no place is perfect.
4. Use a Better Sign
This may sound like a no-brainer, but in the digital age, many landlords don’t recognize the effectiveness of a “FOR RENT” sign. Some leave it out of the equation completely, while others slap together whatever they have in order to achieve something less than functional. Then, there’s the common red-and-white sign we’ve all come to ignore. The truth is this: get something big, flashy, and hard to miss, and don’t forget to put your phone number and other contact information front and center.
5. Reassess Your Management
Did you know that the best property management firms take care of property marketing every step of the way, so their clients don’t have to stress? Probably not, if you’re reading this guide, and that means one of two things. Either you’ve got a mediocre property manager who’s only thinking about the essentials, or you’ve got no manager at all, which is a big no-no.
If you’re really struggling with marketing your vacancies, talk to a fully equipped manager. Pete Evering of Utopia Management says this on the topic: “any well developed management company with a large client base will have the resources and infrastructure to effectively market and fill vacant units or homes, but not all managers do it – even big ones.” Consider getting in touch with new management to relieve some of the headache and heartache that comes with paying for a vacant piece of real estate.
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