When you invest in real estate, you want to maximize your return on investment. To do so, you must keep your rental properties occupied with reliable, trustworthy tenants. This way, you can enhance your finances and mitigate your frustrations as a landlord.
However, if your properties have a high vacancy rate, you will earn less income. High tenant turnover means you’ll end up spending more money on maintenance, repairs, cleaning services, and marketing expenses. Thus, you want to reduce the length and frequency of vacancies as much as possible.
So how can you maintain a low-vacancy property and decrease tenant turnover?
Average Vacancy Rate for Rental Property
The average vacancy rate for rental properties is around 6.6%, depending on the location. Cities typically have less vacancy than rural areas, since they attract more renters and their population density is greater.
How to Maintain a Low-Vacancy Property
Your rental property’s vacancy rate is the most critical component of its ROI. Ideally, you want to optimize your tenant retention and turnover times to bring the rental vacancy rate down to around 2% to 4%.
Here are some ways to achieve this.
1. Screen Tenants Properly
Even if you’re eager to fill a vacancy, you should never rush through the tenant screening process. You must do your due diligence to score a reliable, long-term renter. If you accidentally accept a problematic renter, you’ll be forced into a costly eviction and end up right back where you started.
Review prospective tenants for the following red flags to avoid common eviction mistakes:
- A pattern of past evictions or delinquent rent
- A poor credit score
- A concerning criminal history
With Great Jones, we take care of the tenant screening process to ensure you have the best tenants possible.
2. Keep Your Current Tenants Happy
The best way to decrease your vacancy rate is to satisfy your current tenants by offering them an outstanding renting experience. All this includes is knowing how to be a good landlord. Do so by responding to their needs promptly, communicating well, and going above and beyond in little ways that they’ll appreciate.
Most renters don’t want to move around constantly. Moving is costly and cumbersome. They’d prefer to stay put, as long as they have a satisfactory experience. By keeping your renters happy, they’ll be much less inclined to move.
Offer New Tenants A Welcome Gift
Upon move-in day, renters want to celebrate and begin settling into their new home. Contribute to this day’s excitement by giving your tenants a welcome gift. This will start your new tenant-landlord relationship off on the right foot.
Here are some gift ideas:
- A gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop
- A bottle of champagne
- A flower arrangement
By going above and beyond in ways like this, your tenants will feel reassured in their decision to choose your property. They will also view you as a friendly, thoughtful landlord from the very start.
Get Acquainted With Your Tenants
Forming a personal connection with your tenants is wonderful for tenant retention. People are much less likely to end a lease with a landlord they’ve grown fond of than one they barely know or dislike.
Here are some tips to bond with your tenants:
- Say hello to them often
- Take the time to get to know them
- Ask them how you could improve their renting experience
- Check-in every so often to see if they need anything
By showing this level of attentiveness, your tenants will develop a greater appreciation for you and your property.
Be Responsive to Maintenance Requests
A surefire way to push a tenant away is to ignore their maintenance requests.
Think about it. Would you like it if your landlord was slow to fix your garbage disposal or dishwasher? No, you’d become frustrated. You’d probably start fantasizing about packing your bags and cutting your lease short. At the very least, you’d vow to move out as soon as the lease ended.
By responding to maintenance requests swiftly, tenants won’t have any time to ruminate about moving elsewhere. On the other hand, they’ll feel taken care of and satisfied.
If you can’t address a maintenance request immediately, at least provide your tenant with a clear time frame they can expect to wait. This will ensure that they feel seen and heard. If you need help with managing maintenance requests, Great Jones’ mobile work request system makes it easy for your tenants to place a request and for you to put in the work order.
3. Use Marketing To Fill Vacancies Fast
Even if you provide a flawless renting experience, vacancies are inevitable. Renting is an inherently temporary experience. Even the happiest tenants move on at some point for a plethora of reasons, such as:
- Getting a new job in another state
- Starting a family and needing a larger home
- Deciding to become a homeowner
As a result, you need to learn some marketing strategies for when vacancies occur.
Market The Property Before Tenants Move Out
To decrease the turnover time between tenants, start marketing your property before it’s become vacant. While you won’t be able to show the property right away, you can still get on the radar of some potential replacements.
Complete Maintenance and Cleaning Efficiently
As you wait for your tenants to move out, develop a plan for your maintenance and cleaning process. Ask tenants to give adequate notice before ending their lease. This will give you time to:
- Schedule any required maintenance crews
- Schedule the cleaning crews
- List your property online
As soon as your tenants have left, start the maintenance and cleaning process immediately. Any time you waste deducts dollars from your ROI. If you can’t drop everything and tend to these tasks, hire a dedicated property management company to take care of it for you.
List Your Property Online
95% of renters start their home search online. It’s an easy way for them to see what’s out there and develop a list of properties they want to see in person. To capture these renters’ attention, list your property on all of the major listing websites.
Listing your property is generally free. By listing on multiple websites, your property will get seen by thousands of visitors each month. To impress these visitors, only showcase high-quality photos with good lighting. Also, make sure to include important details about your property that will help it stand out. If your online listings are well-done, you can expect an influx of inquiries in no time.
Place “For Rent” Signs Around The Neighborhood
Despite all the fancy digital marketing techniques out there, “For Rent” signs still work like a charm. They’re cheap, easy to set up, and effective. For about $20, these signs will capture the attention of interested locals in the market.
Another perk of “For Rent” signs is that they alert the neighborhood that new tenants are coming. These community members are just as invested in vetting newcomers as you are. They don’t want a noisy neighbor living next to them.
Thus, these neighbors might provide some free word-of-mouth marketing for you by suggesting the property to their trustworthy friends and family.
Offer A Referral Program
Likewise, another easy way to outsource some of the marketing is by offering a referral program to your current tenants. As with neighbors, your tenants probably know people in the area. You can tap into their pre-existing social network with an incentivized referral program.
Provide incentives to your tenants to get this program rolling, such as:
- A certain amount of money for each referral
- A small deduction in one month’s rent
- Free utilities for one month
4. Respond to Inquiries ASAP
After investing in these marketing strategies, you need to stay on top of the resulting inquiries from interested renters. You should respond right away, ideally within 24 hours, to take advantage of an interested potential tenant.
You’d be surprised how many rental property owners fail at this step. It’s these landlords that lose valuable business to those with more responsive management. Thus, being responsive is an easy way to get a leg up above the competition.
If your schedule doesn’t permit you to respond promptly and consistently, hire someone else to handle this process for you.
Provide a Self-Showing Lockbox
One of the challenges of showing a property to prospective clients is aligning your schedules together. New property management technology like a self-showing lockbox solves this problem.
With a smart lockbox, potential renters can see your property at their convenience. You simply place the key to your property in the lockbox and give them a unique access code. This way, you can show the property to more people in less time with fewer scheduling complications, enhancing convenience on all sides.
Achieve A Low Vacancy Rate Rental Property
By screening tenants properly, satisfying your current tenants, and marketing your property effectively, you will enjoy lower vacancy rates. In turn, your ROI will increase, optimizing the value of your investment property.
Great Jones: Expert Property Management For Low-Vacancy Properties
To maintain a low-vacancy property with ease, reach out to our property management experts at Great Jones. Offering services for Orlando property management and property management in Jacksonville, FL all the way to Austin property management, we will find the ideal residents for your property based on data-driven rental analysis, effective marketing, and thorough screening.
Great Jones takes the following tasks off your hands:
- Professional photography of your rental property
- Listing your property on 50+ websites
- Setting up the self-showing lockbox technology
- Screening applicants thoroughly
- Responding to applicant inquiries
Due to their expertise, Great Jones’ tenants have under a 1% eviction rate. By partnering with Great Jones, you will fill your vacancies quicker with quality tenants and boost your ROI.