Effective advertising will help you fill up vacant units in rental properties. A vacant property can quickly become a financial drain, and may cause serious problems if you’re relying on the property rent to meet a mortgage.
Advertising is a proven way of letting renters know you are open for business. But before you write an ad or spend a dime, you need an advertising plan. Such a plan will determine when, where, and how to advertise to maximize the return on your advertising investment, while reaching your target market of potential renters.
Here are some of the factors your advertising plan should take into account:
1. Where is your property located? Location will dictate how and where you advertise. For example, if your property is located near a business district, try placing your advertising in local business publications or in the business section of your local newspaper. You might also buy advertising space on Web sites featuring local business information. The location of your property may be its strongest selling point. Using this effectively can greatly increase the amount of applicants and reduce tenant turnover.
2. What makes your property stand out? If your property has a defining feature, such as a pool, a great view, or new appliances, mention this prominently in your advertising. Take a look at your property, and figure out what will make it appealing to the widest variety of potential tenants.
Even if your property is not unique, you can usually find something that will increase its appeal in print. If you are stuck for ideas, focus on location, such as a quiet neighborhood or convenience to local shopping and/or public transportation.
3. Are your rates competitive? Offering below-market rental prices is one of the best ways to beat the competition and fill your vacant units. Research your local market and decide how much of a discount you can offer and still maintain a healthy profit margin.
4. Do you understand your local property market? You cannot just arbitrarily set rent costs or security deposit amounts; you need to see what is typical in the neighborhood, and abide by any state or local laws that govern rental properties. You can sabotage your future success by ignoring current housing costs or setting your prices too high.
5. What type of lease are you offering? If the majority of landlords in your area require leases of one year or longer, you may be able to differentiate your property by offering a month-to-month lease. Many renters prefer not to sign a long contract, especially for an apartment. You can attract people simply by offering them the option of a month-to-month agreement.
However, this can also be a major headache, as you may have frequent turnover, requiring you to screen new tenants very often. Instead, you may see what other area leases do and do not allow, and market your property to be accommodating. For example, yours may be the only property in the area that allows pets, or the only one where renters are allowed to sublet.