Useful Tenant Retention Strategies
Whether you own multiple apartment complexes or simply rent out a spare room, your rental property is only lucrative if it’s occupied. In order to maintain a profit flow, you need to make sure that your vacant properties are leased quickly and that your occupied properties remain so. When it comes to marketing vacant properties, dealing with potential tenants, and maintaining a comfortable living environment for tenants so they feel more inclined to remain with you, a one-stop-shop property manager is always your best bet. Large property management firms with wide reach and diverse expertise will save you valuable time in all aspects of the landlord trade. Keep in mind these basic pointers when thinking of how you can keep high occupancy rates in your rental property, especially in these changing times.
Build Positive Relationships With Current Tenants
If you’re a first-time real estate investor, you’re not an economic expert, and, in most cases, neither are your tenants. No matter which way the market goes — up, down, inside-out, or sideways — you should always nurture a positive, trusting, transparent relationship with your tenants. If your tenant likes you, they’ll feel more comfortable staying with you even if economic circumstances change. The longer a tenant stays with you, the longer it will be until you have to put on your salesman hat and spend money on renovation and cleaning. As soon as a tenant decides to leave, that’s a dent in your income.
Don’t be afraid to communicate with your tenants. If they have feedback, treat it as valuable because it is. Use that feedback to make changes to your management style and practices as needed. If your tenants have any concerns about the terms of their lease, or are on the fence about renewing, listen to them and provide reassurances. If they have complaints or requests regarding the property itself, including onsite amenities, give them some genuine consideration, and be forthright about how you plan to fix a problem.
If your tenant is also your roommate or neighbor, like when you’re renting out a room in your house, it will be especially important to build and maintain a good relationship with them.
Be Active and Aggressive in Your Marketing
No matter what you do, some vacancy time is unavoidable. Markets rise and fall, and people, for one reason or another, need to move. Perhaps they’re finding better opportunities elsewhere, or perhaps your rent is no longer as affordable as it once was. Whatever the reason, if you want to get your units filled quickly, you can’t slouch. You need to be active and aggressive when marketing your vacant property.
When it comes to money, sometimes you have to spend it to make it. That’s a concept you should already be familiar with — you invested in real estate in order to build a revenue stream, didn’t you? Don’t be afraid to invest in advertising if you haven’t before, especially in a time of urgency. Social media is a blessing, but most social media platforms are so massively populated that it’s wise to invest in paid promotions to lift your voice over the rabble. But don’t stop at social media; websites devoted to rental listings are as popular as ever, and you should be using all of them simultaneously. And if you have your own website — depending on the size of your portfolio, you probably should — then take some time to examine your site’s search metrics to see if you could stand to benefit from increased SEO efforts and some web renovation.
At the end of the day, you should think about which marketing strategies have been the most fruitful for you already. If you’ve had past success with a certain platform or style of advertising, stick with what you know, but devote some more resources to it.
Always remember: your marketing efforts mean nothing if you can’t stay on top of communication. Just like with your current tenants, prospective tenants deserve your clear and straightforward communication. Face it: there’s a stigma surrounding landlords, and, much of the time, it’s an earned one. The better your communication and presentation, the better the chance of them choosing you over comparable, or even cheaper, options.
Accept That You May Need to Adjust
Sometimes, and especially in times of market volatility, you have to be the one who makes adjustments. In our world of constant growth, when real estate investments are made to seem like foolproof profit guarantees, none of us want to admit that sometimes it’s better to lower our prices than sit defiantly on empty, money-draining properties. Take a look around you: is the housing market the same as it was before? Has the average value gone up, or has it gone down? If it’s gone down, then consider lowering your bar so you can stay competitive.
We change our marketing approach to address changes in our culture and way of life; when COVID-19 sent office workers home, residences were suddenly being judged by how well they could accommodate home office work — the presence of a spare room, the number of available power outlets, or the variety of options for internet providers. Your asking price is no more exempt from the effects of a changing world. Remember: it’s better to make less money than no money.