Vacancy is one of the largest expenses that rental property owners must face, and it’s difficult to estimate what you’ll spend on vacancy when you’re buying an investment home and preparing to rent it out. You goal should always be to limit the amount of time that your property goes un-rented. An empty home hurts your cash flow and damages your ROI.
When you own rental property and your tenant moves out, every day your home sits vacant costs you money. This is money that you’ll never be able to earn back. In fact, the average vacancy lasts well over a month. That is quite a bite out of your bottom line. Too often, inexperienced property owners end up with more vacancy days than necessary because they lack the resources and knowledge to quickly rent their property. Specialized Property Management is a leader in Orlando property management for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is that we have developed a proven leasing process that shortens vacancies by finding reliable tenants more quickly.
Today, we want to share 10 valuable steps that will help you rent your home faster and avoid the unpleasant cost of a vacant property. These are the things that we do with the properties we manage, and we believe that you can implement them yourself if you’re renting out your own unit.
Step 1: Prepare the Home for the Rental Market
First, we act quickly to help the owner prepare the home for a successful rental. This is also referred to as getting the home rent-ready. Preparing your home for the rental market starts with a few key steps, which can be done quickly and efficiently. You’ll want to get a professional re-keying of the home so your new tenants can safely know that no one else has keys to their home. You will also want to install a lock box for easy showings. Tenants will want to see the home at times that are most convenient for them, and other agents may also show the property for you, so lockbox technology is an excellent way to ensure your home rents quickly.
You may need to make some repairs or improvements before you start looking for a tenant. This does not have to be expensive or complicated; your home likely won’t need a complete renovation. However, you want to make sure that it shows well, which means it has to be clean and modern. You may need to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls or install some new appliances. Providing an attractive, clean, and updated home will get the attention of high-quality tenants, and the property will rent quickly.
Step 2: Set a Rental Price
If you don’t know the rental value of your home, it’s important to do some research and gather some data so you know how much you should be asking. We help to set a rent rate that is appropriate based on the market. A professional evaluation with local expertise is essential to help you decide on the best rental price for your property. This will aid in getting it rented as quickly and as profitably as possible.
Pricing the home too low is dangerous because it means you aren’t maximizing the value of your property. However, you don’t want to over-price the home, either. When you do that, you run the risk of longer vacancy periods. We recommend that you take a look at similar homes in your neighborhood that have rented recently. Compare their condition and price with your own property.
Step 3: Advertise Extensively Online
Advertising your rental property aggressively is an important part of renting it out quickly. You’ll need a marketing strategy that centers around online advertising because most tenants are using the popular rental sites to find their next home. We use free advertising across dozens of popular sites, including our own website. By advertising on several local outlets, this ensures that we attract more qualified applicants. Make sure you have excellent photos included in your listing and a description that is engaging, accurate, and detailed. You want to give potential renters a good reason to come and see your property.
There is also a lot of value in yard signs. While online advertising will bring you most of your qualified tenants, advertising at the property with a professional sign will help get the attention of people who happen to be driving or walking through the area. It might also inspire neighbors to tell people that there’s a home available for rent.
Step 4: Be Responsive
We answer inquiries from prospective residents on demand, and we utilize informational yard signs to allow applicants to call or text 24 hours a day for more information. Don’t ignore the calls and messages that come in. It’s important to be responsive when you want to rent your home as quickly as possible. Good tenants have plenty of options; if they don’t get a response from you, they’re going to move onto the next home on their list.
Step 5: Schedule Showings
We react quickly to schedule professional showings with an experienced and responsible team of agents. When you don’t have access to a committed agent who wants to find you reliable tenants, you’ll have to either show the property yourself or allow tenants to let themselves in to look around. Whichever way you do it, make sure you provide an easy showing process. Tenants may want to see the home on weekends or after work in the evenings. If you cannot be available to show the home yourself, make sure those prospects can safely let themselves in and then contact you with any questions they have about what they have seen.
Step 6: Collect Applications
We collect applications from as many potential tenants as possible. This ensures you the best-qualified tenant pool. You’ll need an application process that’s consistent, fair, and detailed. Provide instructions for your prospective tenants as well as a list of rental criteria so they know what you’re looking for in a renter. This will protect you against fair housing disputes and also save you time. A prospective applicant who knows he or she is not qualified for your property will not bother to apply when it’s possible to review your criteria ahead of time.
Step 7: Screen Applications
Our tools and resources allow us to screen applications quickly because we do expedited and thorough background checks on every potential tenant over 18 years old. This includes criminal, credit, employment, and rental history checks. When you place a tenant who has been screened well, that tenant is more likely to stay longer and help you avoid costly turnovers down the road. You’re looking for a tenant with a history of paying rent on time, taking care of properties, and following the terms of the lease. So, it’s important to evaluate income, talk to former landlords, and look for any prior evictions or debts owed to other landlords.
Remember that it’s important to follow all fair housing laws. Screen each application consistently and fairly. Document your process and make sure you can justify why you approved one application over all the others.
Step 8: Select and Notify Tenants
We work with the client to select the best possible tenant from the applications based on the screening process. You should choose the most qualified tenant, and let that tenant know immediately that their application has been approved. This will give you the opportunity to settle on a move-in date and to collect the security deposit and other move-in funds.
Step 9: Manage the Lease Signing and Move-In Process
Next, it’s time to manage the lease signing and move-in process. It’s important to go over all the details of the lease agreement so you can set the expectations clearly and attend to all the details. Make sure tenants know how and when to pay rent, discuss the maintenance responsibilities of each party, and be prepared to answer any questions that your tenants have. Before a tenant can move into the home, you’ll want to conduct a thorough move-in inspection so you can document the condition of the home.
Step 10: Provide Unsurpassed Service
Throughout the entire leasing process, we provide unsurpassed service by our experienced team of experts. We provide weekly leasing updates and information packed in our online portal, which leads to first-class customer service. This is perhaps the most important part of avoiding vacancy and tenant turnover. When you’re responsive to the needs of your tenants and you show them that you care about your property and their rental experience, you’ll keep them in place longer and avoid these expensive vacancy periods.
In the end, a tested, efficient leasing process protects your cash flow while saving you time and headaches. You should rely on Specialized Property Management for shorter vacancies, more reliable tenants, longer lease terms, and your own team of experts to support you every step of the way.
We invite you to put our experienced team and proven process to work for you. Contact us at Specialized Property Management in Orlando.