Vacancy rates are in many ways what define the success of your investment property. If your vacancy levels remain high for an extended period of time then it is likely that you will be losing money. There are many different factors that can lead to high vacancy rates just as there are specific things that can be done to lower them.
Here are 5 simple ways to lower your vacancy rates:
- Keep things looking tidy – Think of it in these terms: where would you want to live, somewhere nice and neat, or a place that looks like it needs spring cleanup throughout the year? If the common areas of your rental are not nicely maintained, it will give people a horrible first impression, and likely scare them away.
- Charge the proper rent – Have a look at online ads for other apartment buildings on your area. If you have been having a hard time finding people to stay with you long-term, it could be possible that you are overcharging. Correcting this by even $50 per month can have an immediate and noticeable impact on vacancies.
- Offer renter’s incentives – This could mean something as simple as offering a discounted month of rent for signing an extended lease. Even a few dollars a month could be enough to encourage someone to agree to a long-term commitment. Another way to lure tenants is to offer free or partially free utilities, such as water, electricity, or cable and Internet. Check with your Property Manager for what is an effective incentive for your building location. Some incentives work in some areas but not in others.
- Don’t delay repairs – Although this may seem like a simple concept, the nature of property management is that things will go wrong at the least opportune times, making it very tempting to put things off. This will only lead to a snowballing effect in which the end result is a massive bill all at once. Additionally, repairs can save you money in other ways (like installing new windows to save on heating).
- Advertise your rentals vigorously – This is a major factor in having all of your spaces rented out. Keep in mind that technology now plays a huge factor in finding tenants. If you are advertising online then you are headed in the right direction, but if you are still relying solely on print and newspaper, you may want to try another technique.
These are but a few suggestions that will help with finding tenants for your investment properties. Although there will be different challenges for different landlords, this list will serve as a guideline for minimizing your vacancies. If these five points are utilized, you will be on the way to enjoying the financial benefits of your investment, without having to deal with the hassles of high vacancy rates.