Few things cost more in Bridgeport property management than vacancy days, when your rental property sits empty between leasings to paying tenants. Every day costs money and the average vacancy period is well over a month. This average is driven up by inexperienced owners who self-managing their property, in an attempt to save money, but lack the expertise and resources you need to quickly lease a vacant property. Here at Real Property Management Southern Connecticut, we know what it takes to get qualified tenants in property as quickly as possible. Keep reading for our expert tips.
Top 10 Tips for Faster Leasing in Bridgeport Property Management
- Get the house “Rent-Ready.” “Rent-ready” means you could move a tenant in today. This is the state the property should be in BEFORE you show it. As soon as you know when your current tenant is vacating the property, start planning what needs to be done to turn the property around and schedule to begin the work as soon as the current tenants are out. Potential tenants won’t see the home’s potential, they’ll see (and smell) it as it’s presented. If they don’t like what they see, they won’t picture themselves in the home, and they’ll move on to one that is rent ready.
- Make sure the house has “curb appeal.” It’s not just inside the house that needs to be ready, it must appear attractive to potential tenants from the moment they pull up to the curb and get a first impression. The improvements can be minor and inexpensive, such as a fresh coat of paint or new landscaping features. Make sure walkways and driveways are clear and well-lit, and the outside of the windows are clean.
- Have the house professionally cleaned throughout. After any clutter or personal items have been removed, have a professional service do thorough cleaning of the entire interior. A professional service will scrub everything top to bottom and leave the rooms fresh and clean. This will erase all traces of the previous tenants, allowing the potential ones to project their imaginations on the empty space. Also, as you show the property, leave the curtains open or blinds up, allowing natural light inside.
- Set a rent rate based on the current market. One of the toughest parts of Bridgeport property management is knowing what your rental property can get from good, qualified tenants at a fair rate that will keep them in the home. If the rent is too high, qualified tenants will rent another property, and yours will be vacant longer, costing you more than offering it at a lower rent. There are a number of complex factors that go into setting the rent rate. For more information see our blog post on the subject.
- If you don’t accept pets, you probably should. This is an increasingly major factor for tenants today, especially those in the market for single-family homes. If you do not allow pets, many families won’t even consider your property. It’s a changing fact of real estate management. Bridgeport, CT, homes that allow pets will rent faster and for a slightly higher rate.
- Conduct regular and frequent inspections. Small maintenance issues can become major problems, and much more expensive and time consuming, if they are not identified and resolved early. You can’t always rely on your tenants to communicate everything that’s happening in the property. And, if it’s empty, there is no one to see that leaking pipe anyway. The best way to know what needs to be done, is to see for yourself. If scheduled inspections are not part of your lease, you should revise it to include them before you lease the property again.
- Market the property aggressively. A lawn sign with a phone number just isn’t going to cut it. Most potential tenants will look at online listings before they venture out to see them in real life. After the house is rent-ready, take good, well-lit photos of every room in the house, in addition to the exteriors and yard. Consider making a walk-through video. Write up a description that highlights the features and benefits of your rental home, including both what’s on the property (such as new appliances, off-street parking, a large yard) and what’s around it (such as a good school district, access to public transit, nearby shopping and entertainment options). Promote the property on popular real estate sites and on social media channels. Make sure your name and contact number is part of every marketing piece. Use a cell phone number to allow for text communications. Oh, and go ahead a still put a sign in the lawn.
- Respond immediately to ever inquiry. Most tenants are considering several properties, which will all probably be comparable to yours. If you put off responding to questions and requests to schedule showings, or to process applications, you can be sure that other people in Bridgeport property management won’t. The delay may cost you a good, qualified tenant.
- Screen every application. Require a completed application, including all supporting documents, and background checks (rental, employment, credit, and criminal) from every potential tenant over 18. Having that information allows you to make the most informed choice about the qualifications of your applicant pool. Plus, properly screened tenants are tend to stay longer, which saves you money.
- Try to keep your current tenants. The best way to avoid expensive vacancy days is to not have them to begin with. If you are happy with your current tenants, consider them a bird in the hand. Keep them happy with quick responses to maintenance requests, clear and open communication, well-defined expectations, and moderate, market-based rent increases that can be rationally justified as fair.
When it comes to real estate management Bridgeport, CT, investors understand that the cost of professional property management is generally less than the cost of increased vacancy days. A smart investor thinks long-term. RPM Southern Connecticut is a trusted property management company with the expertise to place good, qualified tenants who will stay long, and to place them faster, saving you money. Call us today and find out what we can do for you.