Sure, a rental property can be an easy way to make money — but it has to be rented. After all, you need rent to pay taxes, mortgages, upkeep. Any amount of time with an empty unit is time that an investor is losing money.
If you’re tired of your property sitting vacant, here’s what you may be doing wrong — and how to fix it.
1. You Don’t Market Online
In today’s real estate market, most people are not driving around looking for a property with a “for rent” sign in the window. Make sure to list your property on all major rental sites,including Rent.com, Trulia, Zillow, and Apartments.com. You might also want to consider paying for ads that will target people in your area.
2. You’re Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Most property owners are too busy to deal with all the day to day tasks of managing and marketing a rental property. It can be a good idea to get help from an experienced property management company. They will be able to devote more time and effort to finding the right renter for your property.
3. Your Rent is Too High
Rent is a key part of attracting tenants. An overpriced property will scare people away very quickly. Take a look at comparable properties in the area to see what their rent prices look like. It might seem like a bad idea to lower your rent, but it can attract renters and keep you from losing money in the long run.
4. Your Property Needs A Lot of Improvements
Certain undesirable features could be bad enough to keep prospective tenants away even if the property is properly priced. Ugly wall paint, broken fixtures, or a lack of appliances may make your property unappealing. Tenants are often attracted to updated properties with modern kitchens and bathrooms. These renovations can let you justify a higher price.
5. You’re Being Too Picky
Having very strict rental criteria might seem like a good way to protect your investment, but it can limit your pool of applicants. You should still avoid accepting renters with extremely low credit scores, but you might want to consider allowing a slightly lower credit score or annual income as long as the renter has a good rental history.
6. You Aren’t Partnered with a Property Management Company
Just having a great property at a fair price is not enough. Tenants want to make sure they have a landlord or a management company who will be available whenever the tenant needs them. Make sure you or your property manager respond promptly to any inquiries from tenants, and always have a friendly demeanor while showing the property. Remember, first impressions make a big difference when renting.