Landlords: 7 tips to have your property rented quicker and for more
The media in Brisbane ran a bunch of stories last week on rental incentives being handed out to tenants – free IPads, rent-free periods, Coles vouchers – you name it. Concerned about the big quantity of available properties, landlords and their agents are apparently rushing to entice tenants to their door. And if it works for you, go for it. But before you start handing out incentives here’s some ideas we know from experience will get the job done:
1. Price: All landlords want to achieve the highest possible rent for their property, as do their property managers. What’s equally important is having a good tenant in place paying rent – and soon. So it’s a balancing act of getting the best possible price, and reducing the time vacant. Let’s compare: $550 per week for 6 months but with a vacancy of 4 weeks is $12,100. Versus $500 per week for 6 months with a vacancy of only 1 week for $12,500 (less the stress!) Leaving your property sit vacant for more than a week or two can be more detrimental to your bottom line than you might think. An example from this week in our office – we adjusted one apartment’s rent by just $10 (a 2% drop) and went from 2 inspections last week to 5 attending yesterday.
2. Search range: Almost all rental enquiry comes through the web so you need to know the price ranges tenants are forced to search by. For example rent of $495 will be in the bracket of $450–$500 where $505 falls into $500 $550 per week, and this can make a huge difference to your enquiry.
3. Eye-catching ads: You have competition. If you’re going to attract the eyeballs of more tenants online you need professional photos (we shout them for our clients) and you need ads that ‘sell’ the home with meaningful details that set you above the crowd. Tenants have a shopping list so if you have those items you’ve got to mention them in your ads! Our team also ensure they list neighbourhood amenities, access to public transport etc – all the things we know are important to tenants. (How do we know? We survey them and you can see the results at our webpage!)
4. Upgraded ads: Over time your advert on the websites will slip down the search results and they’ll attract less traffic, sometimes regardless of rent adjustments. Ask your agent for the paid options to have your listing rank higher. As much as we want to save our clients money, these are working more and more in busy markets. They can often get you rented quicker and they cost about the same as 2-3 days rent. For quickest results, consider an upgraded listing from the start.
5. Choose the right agent: Is your agent quick to respond to enquiry? If they’re not those tenants will simply inspect another home with the one who is. Our office sends an automated email immediately offering them registration at the next available inspection, then updates them instantly as we book further inspections. It’s great service for a tenant and will soon become the ‘expected’ standard. (We’ve also surveyed tenants on what they expect from their real estate agents- have a read. It’s important.)
6. Presentation: When did you last put in fresh carpets or do a coat of paint? It might be longer than you think, and with so many new properties coming up in Brisbane’s inner-city tenants are naturally drawn to fresh, low-maintenance homes. Remember your tenants need to look after the property but there’s always going to be wear and tear that adds up over years. Interestingly, tenants won’t always pay more rent for brand new homes. Our 2015 survey showed 30% would pay no more, while 66% would pay less than 5% more for a new property over an established one. (Interestingly the appeal of new homes was down on our 2013 survey – tenants can see past the sparkly new to get what they want!)
7. Flexibility: Consider allowing a 7 month or even an 18 month lease if the tenants request – maybe even put “flexible lease terms” in your ads. Do what your competitor landlords and their agents don’t do. Could you approve a cat or other small pet? Few other landlords do and pet-lovers will go to a lot of trouble for them. Can you remove the furniture they don’t want? (Furnished or unfurnished property is another decision for landlords and we’ve written about that one too.)
The good news is our team have been flat out this past fortnight with strong tenant enquiry. But please consider this: Owning an investment property is like being a small businessperson. Watch your market, keep your product attractive, watch your competition, and ensure you have the right team working for you. If your property’s in Brisbane’s inner suburbs we’d love to help with its management. Please call our Property Management team on 07 3214 6888 or firstname.lastname@example.org