In an ideal world, as soon as one great tenant moves out, the next great one would move in, keeping your properties rented and a steady stream of revenue flowing into your bank account. In reality, minimizing vacancies isn’t nearly this straightforward. Whether you recently purchased your first real estate investment property and you’re starting from scratch, or you’re an old pro and are just looking for new ways to keep those units full, here are a few effective marketing strategies to try.
Take lots of high quality photos.
Most prospective tenants comb through dozens of listings before they even decide to pick up the phone and schedule a walk-through. Successful property managers know that in order to improve the odds of their listings making it to the shortlist, they need to stand out and be eye-catching. This can be accomplished through the use of high-quality photography.
Keep in mind that the goal shouldn’t just be showing a few rooms. You want to really highlight what makes your property unique and paint a vivid picture of what it would be like to live there. If the unit is already empty, great. If not, be sure it’s tidy. Clutter can be a major turnoff to prospective tenants.
If you don’t have the equipment or skillset to take beautiful photos, consider hiring a professional. Yes, it’s an investment, but if it helps to get your vacancies filled, it’s worth the expense in the long run.
Leverage multiple channels.
There are plenty of fish in the sea. Beyond this, the “sea” is made up of many different channels and tributaries. If you’re focusing all of your marketing efforts on just one of these areas, you are almost certainly missing out on some quality prospects that will otherwise go unreached.
While most people begin their hunt for available homes, condos or apartments for rent online by visiting real-estate specific websites, that’s not necessarily where they’ll end their search efforts. For instance, a growing number of rental prospects are turning to social media to find available properties for rent. Being present on these platforms will give you much more visibility.
Last, but not least, don’t discount the effectiveness of “old school” methods, such as yard signs, flyers and newspaper ads. Despite the popularity of the internet, many folks still turn to these resources to find those hidden gems.
Tap into your network.
Whether you’ve been in the property management industry for decades or days, chances are you’ve made some connections, either personally or professionally, that could produce some quality leads. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful and effective tools for reaching prospective tenants, so tap into your network and get the message out to as many people as you can.
Not sure who to contact? Start with former tenants, personal friends and family members, professional colleagues – basically anyone with whom you’ve built a relationship. You can also reach out and make connections with local community organizations which might serve as a valuable resource for prospecting.
Host an open house.
While many folks will be satisfied looking through pictures of your properties online, some may be more convinced by seeing your available units in person. An open house is a great way to collectively show your properties without having to schedule dozens of individual appointments. They’re also a great way to attract prospects who might not have otherwise learned about your vacancies.
This strategy can be a bit challenging when the unit is still lived in, but with good communication and a little prior planning, it’s entirely doable. Just make sure you have buy-in from your current tenant so they’ll be sure to have the place “show ready.” Not comfortable with in-person showings? Organizing a virtual tour can be the next best thing.
Sweeten the pot.
If you’re really struggling to fill your vacant properties, you may consider sweetening the pot a little by offering some incentives. Whether it’s a special discounted rate for new tenants or a referral bonus for someone who recommends a qualified prospect, this can be a powerful way to make your properties stand out and attract more interest.
You don’t have to break the bank here, either. Even something as simple as taking a small percentage off the first month’s rent, or offering a gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop could be just enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Keeping your investment properties filled with quality tenants is one of the keys to success in property management. By thinking outside the box and engaging in a variety of different marketing tactics, you won’t have to worry about your rental units sitting empty for long stretches of time.