One of the biggest fears around investing in real estate is the fear of not being able to find tenants. There’s no need to let this fear hold you back, you just need to be prepared! So, if you are working toward getting your first rental property- take notes! Or, if you have a rental property on the market right now and aren’t getting the response you had hoped, this may help!
Here are 4 reasons you may be having trouble finding tenants and suggestions on how to fix it.
You know what they say about pricing- The price is whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Every property is unique and every rental market is unique. So while there is no once size fits all approach to pricing – you can still get a pretty good idea of an average price point that you should start with.
Let’s say for instance, you want to rent out the home you live in now and then buy a new home for yourself, but you have no idea if you would be able to get enough rental income to cover your mortgage. The numbers can be really overwhelming and most people get stuck at this point.
The fix: Thankfully you can do some thorough research on the market rent in your area with the click of a few buttons on your computer or phone. Check sites like Zillow, Rentometer and Avail. Look to see what people are charging for similar properties in your area. You can also ask your real estate agent to run comps for you. Check with your local housing office to see what’s the going rate for Section 8 tenants- even if you don’t plan on renting to Section 8- it still gives you a good gauge of what rental rates are in your particular market. Once you’ve gotten a good idea of what the going rate is for similar properties in your area, you can set your price accordingly. Remember- every property is unique so if you feel like the fact that your rental has extra features or amenities that demands a slightly higher price than what you see on the market- go for it! You can lower the price later if you don’t get any bites.
A few years ago, we listed a property for rent that was large enough for a family of 4, but unlike previous times when we listed a property…we were barely getting any inquiries about it. Our photos were great, the price was competitive, the description was on point…but nobody seemed interested. Then we got a few emails from people saying – “Hey I love this place but I really am not looking to move until the school year ends in a few months because I don’t want my kid to have to switch schools mid-year.” That’s when it hit us! There was nothing wrong with our listing, but the type of renter the property attracted wasn’t really ready to move at that time.
The fix: If you know your rental will most likely attract a certain type of renter (families, military, students, etc.) , but the timing isn’t right and you’re not seeing any responses- try a short term rental method in the meantime. You can rent the space on vacation rental sites or rent it out by the hour to people who want to do photoshoots, etc. For instance, you may have a rental that’s perfect for graduate students, but you aren’t getting any interest in it because school isn’t in session. You can try renting it to a travel nurse until school starts back up.
Not to be confused with marketing, positioning is how well you have positioned your rental property in front of the right people. (Marketing is what happens once the right people actually see your rental listing.)
Let’s say for example, you have a condo available for rent and it’s a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom. You list the condo for rent on gosection8.com hoping to find a section 8 renter. The issue is- most (not all) section 8 renters have families, so they need more than 1 bedroom. You might have your pricing right and your photos + description might be on point, but you haven’t positioned it in front of the right audience.
The fix: Think about the kind of person that would want to rent your space. Who are they and what sites would they use to look for a place to rent?
The great thing is- there are several ways to make rental income: long term, short term, vacation rentals, travel nurse rentals, location rentals etc., and there are sites where you can position your listing in front of a specific audience- for instance, military renters. The key is knowing what sites to list your space on.
>>> Here’s a list I put together of over 35 sites you can use to list your property and position it in front of the right audience. It also includes other guides and helpful materials. <<<
Once you’ve gotten your rental listing in front of the right audience, marketing is how you convey the benefits of renting your property. Why should they rent your place rather than all of the other places out there?
Trying to come up with the perfect description for your listing is tough! You only have a few sentences to convince a potential renter that your place is right for them.
The fix: Take a look at the photos and the description of your rental listing. Would you want to live there? What catches your attention when you’re reading a listing? Use that as inspiration!
Or try this- put yourself in the shoes of a potential renter. What’s important to them? Have you highlighted those things in your listing?
Let’s say you want to rent to Travel Nurses, but in the description you haven’t mentioned how many miles away or how many minutes your rental is from the nearest hospitals.
Marketing isn’t just about highlighting only the good qualities and hiding the rest. Being honest upfront is going to benefit you in the long run.
Honest Marketing Example 1: You have an airbnb that’s near a train station and a few times per day, a noisy train goes by. You want to make sure you communicate that to your guests up front. I’d rather have a paying guest that is okay with whatever flaws the property might have, than a guest who is blindsided by something and leaves a terrible review which could result in losing lots of future bookings.
Honest Marketing Example 2: When you’re interviewing a potential long term renter on the phone and they are really interested in the place- this is the perfect time to let them know that the tenant in the unit above has small children so if they are noise sensitive it may not be the right fit for them. Believe me- you do not want to deal with constant complaints from a tenant about noise. It’s much better to get everything out in the open and find a tenant that’s going to be a great fit. We’ve had this exact situation play out and were able to find a tenant that had small children as well and did not mind the noise at all. We’ve also had the opposite happen where we rushed the process of finding a tenant and they complained non-stop about noise.
If you’re wondering how to find tenants + get my step by step guide on making the process as stress free as possible, this is it.
This list of rental listing issues is not exhaustive. Could there be other reasons your rental is vacant? Absolutely. But these are 4 major reasons that you can avoid with the proper tools and planning.
If this was helpful, let me know in the comments!