Filling vacant rental units can be a challenge in any season, but the colder months are notoriously difficult for landlords. People simply don’t want to move in the winter, and with shorter, darker days and unpredictable snow and rain storms, it’s not hard to understand why.
But rental property owners don’t always get to choose the ideal time to fill a vacancy. If a tenant has moved out, every day their apartment sits empty represents money lost. If you need to fill a vacancy in the fall or winter, our property management experts have a few tips for finding renters to help fill that vacant unit during the cold weather season.
Tips for Finding Renters in Fall and Winter
When you need to fill a vacant rental unit in fall or winter, hanging up a ‘for rent’ sign isn’t enough. You really need to ramp up your marketing game to get your listing in front of as many potential tenants as possible.
These days, over 80% of renters do their searching online, so it’s important that you have a good online presence. And don’t just settle for posting a single ad online! Make sure your property is listed on all the major platforms like Zillow, Trulia, and Avail.
Social media is a powerful tool as well. Posting about your available rental on Facebook and other social media platforms is a great way to draw more attention to your listing. As a bonus, you can run affordable targeted ads on sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Punch up your listing
As a general rule, it’s safe to assume that fewer people are out looking for rentals in winter than they are in other seasons. That means you have to make every impression count, and the best way to do that is to update your listing and really make it pop.
First of all, if the photographs of your rental property haven’t been updated in a while, invest in some new, professional photos that are well staged and well lit. Great photos go a long way.
Better still, make it possible for prospective tenants to take a 3D virtual tour of your property. Virtual tours skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic, and aren’t going away any time soon. Most folks would rather take a tour from the comfort of home, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside.
Another important step is making sure your listing highlights all of your property’s best features. Is it in a popular neighborhood? Is it conveniently located to access public transportation? Be sure to especially highlight features that people will appreciate in winter, like a cozy fireplace, brand new HVAC or off-street parking.
Sweeten the deal
You might have to offer a little something extra to tempt renters in winter. Offering a shorter-term lease is a popular way to gain an edge, along with throwing in perks like free Internet or a new washer/dryer.
Some landlords offer specials, like “first month free if you sign a lease by January 1st!”As a last resort, you might have to consider lowering the monthly rent of your property. You don’t want to earn less, but a lower price is ultimately better than an empty unit.
Hire a pro
Of course, landlords who work with a dedicated property management company don’t have to worry about finding renters and filling vacant rental units, because we do that for you. Along with maintenance and rent collection, one of our most important jobs as property managers is finding renters.
Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of professional property management, and talk to our team of experts about all the ways we support our rental property owners.