Are you leaving money on the table by not filling vacancies fast enough at your rental property? If you’re leasing your own rental units, you could be missing out on valuable monthly income. In fact, you could be losing substantial rental revenue depending on where your rental property is located.
Improve Your Leasing Strategy
To stop pouring money down the drain, minimize the time between your current tenant moving out, and a new one moving in. Reducing vacancies requires more than just advertising on Craigslist. It requires a strategy designed to maximize rental income.
This article will cover five strategies to reduce vacancies at your property. They include:
1. Set Accurate Market-Rate Rents
2. Get Your Unit Rent-Ready, with Great Photos
3. Use a Multi-Site Marketing Platform
4. Enable Self-Showings with Smart Locks
5. Identify High-Quality Renters with Technology
Here are more in-depth details on the five strategies to reduce vacancies at your rental property.
1. Set Accurate Market-Rate Rents
A data-driven property manager analyzes rental rates down to the neighborhood or property level. It’s not advisable to rely on free websites like Craigslist or Zillow since they may publish outdated or inaccurate information. Zillow rents are simply estimates based on publicly available data and information about similar properties listed for rent in the area. On the other hand, Mynd uses actual achieved rents to provide a much better idea of how much your property can command per month. Using incorrect data to set rents puts you at risk of prolonging vacancies.
After providing you with a proforma of your investment’s performance, a property manager should work to lease your unit. Mynd uses AI and predictive analytics to review each owner’s rent rolls to ensure their property is commanding market rates, which includes analyzing comps from a variety of different sources. As a result, Mynd fills vacancies quickly (in 16 days on average across its rental portfolio) and achieves higher rents for their property owners.
2.Get Your Unit Ready with Great Photos
Next, move fast to “turn” your property, or get it ready to rent. The longer you wait, the more monthly cash flow you put at risk. In most states, your current resident is required to give 30-day notice of their move-out.
As soon as you receive notice from your current tenant, start searching for a new one immediately. This is an ideal situation for most owners because it means they are operating an occupied, cash-flowing unit for an entire month while they begin their marketing efforts to find a new tenant.
One critical part of getting your unit ready to rent is taking great photos and shoot a virtual, 3D tour of the interiors. Take clear photos of each room. Ensure that the rooms are well-lit and that you use the auto-focus setting on your camera. Higher-resolution photos will display well on any platform: mobile, laptop or tablet. If you operate a multifamily property with aesthetically appealing common spaces, professional landscaping or other attractive features, take photos of them as well. Alternatively, you could hire a professional photographer.
As for a 3D tour, you can hire a third-party company to shoot one, which is ideal if you operate several multifamily buildings with lots of units or have a large portfolio of single-family rentals.
3.Use a Multi-Site Marketing Platform
With rents set, start marketing your unit to prospective tenants. One of the best ways to market your rental is by exposing it to as many eyes possible. Arguably, Craigslist has become the most popular way to advertise rentals. But is Craigslist reaching enough people?
A tech-forward property management company like Mynd leverages automation that scours the Internet for the best places to advertise your vacant units, meaning that more than 40 different syndicates and websites display your property. It would take an owner incredible amounts of time, money and effort to complete this task. By putting your listing on all these sites, Mynd maximizes the number of prospects who view the unit, thus minimizing vacancy time and lost rental income.
4. Enable Self-Showings with Smart Home Automation
Make sure to abide by state laws when showing your property to prospective tenants. California and Washington State landlords are required to deliver a 24- or 48-hour written notice, respectively, to the current tenant before showing their unit. If you’re not well-versed in state laws, consult with a property management firm with deep local expertise to show your unit for you.
One secret to increasing your prospect pool and reducing vacancies is self-showings, which are enabled by smart locks. Self-showings are much more convenient for the prospect. Mynd has found that tech-savvy millennials and younger renters react more favorably to self-showings because they can be booked completely online, without interacting with what they view as a sales person. They can also fit easily into their schedule and view the property with ease and without any pressure.
A tech-forward property manager makes self-showing appointments easy. At Mynd, the prospect simply signs up, goes through a security check and provides a copy of their ID and credit card, and then selects when they’d like to view the unit. Before the showing, the prospect receives a unique access code to tour the property during a specific window of time. The code remains valid only during the allotted time frame. Prospects don’t have to worry about a property manager showing up late to the appointment or hovering over their shoulder while they tour the unit.
If there are any follow-up questions, a prospective tenant can call the property manager or send an SMS. When a prospective tenant has the ability to instantly communicate with the team showing the unit, that rental tends to get leased faster.
Smart locks help enable self-showings since they give access to prospects and track the exact time the prospect tours the property. Ultimately, self-showings and smart locks give residents more control, translating into a better user experience and resulting in more signed leases.
5. Identify High-Quality Tenants with Technology
After completing the first four steps, continue to move your prospects along swiftly. A tech-centric property manager makes it easy to fill out a leasing application and pay a deposit online. Mynd, for instance, kickstarts the process by making digital applications available.
Mynd uses a state-of-the-art lead management system to ensure that high-quality tenants lease your properties. As a matter of fact, according to credit bureau TransUnion, the Mynd ResidentScore, which measures the likelihood of a resident to be evicted based on their income level, outperform the geographical average in the Bay Area and San Diego.
Here’s a snapshot of the average ResidentScore in each of Mynd’s markets vs. the industry average score, also known as the average VantageScore:
- Mynd ResidentScore: 729
- Average VantageScore: 657
- Mynd ResidentScore: 716
- Average VantageScore: 601
Leave It to the Pros
Technology provides owners with full visibility into the leasing process–from tracking who they are, how many prospects expressed interest in their unit, to how many prospects actually visited their property, when they visited, how many applications were filled out, and more.
If you’re a busy professional who doesn’t have time to formulate a comprehensive leasing strategy to reduce vacancies, you’re in luck: Mynd can help. Contact us today if you own rental properties in California or Washington State with vacancy issues, so we can assist in reducing them.