Tips for Handling Vacancies in your Rental Property
From time to time you will have vacancies in your investment rental property. When that occurs, you will naturally want to rent the property as quickly as possible so that you do not lose out on any rent money. It could even be that when you purchase the property, it could be vacant. There could be many reasons why it could potentially take some time to find tenants. Perhaps the location is affecting it. Or, it could be that there are simply a number of properties for rent in the local area. Regardless of why your property is vacant you will need to get it rented as quickly as possible.
For every month that your property is vacant, you are losing money in revenue. There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of time that your property is vacant; however.
First, when your property is vacant, use that time to your advantage by making any repairs that are necessary and handling any maintenance tasks. In addition, you might also consider doing something to make the property more appealing such as touching up the paint or sprucing up the yard.
You might also consider providing some type of incentive or discount in order to get your property rented more quickly. Certainly this will cost a bit of money but in the long run it is often less expensive to provide an incentive in order to get your property rented more quickly than to allow it to sit vacant for a period of time. You might think about reducing the rent or installing something in the apartment that would be appealing to prospective tenants such as a washer and dryer.
Make sure you making strong efforts to market your rental property but running ads in all of the local papers and hanging up flyers at places of interest. Of course, you should also have a For Rent sign posted on the property so that everyone who drives by will see it and know the property is available for rent or lease. Once again, a small amount of money spent on marketing is less expensive than the amount of lost revenue you could incur by allowing the property to sit vacant.
In addition, take be proactive and begin the search for tenants before your current tenant moves out if you have reason to believe that they will be leaving soon. It is never a good idea to wait until the last minute and then try to fill a vacancy. You might even ask the current tenants if they know of anyone who might be interested in renting the property. It could be quite possible that they have friends who have visited and would jump at the chance to rent the property once it is available.
Keep in mind; however, that as important as it is to rent your property quickly and avoid a vacancy you also do not want to rent out the property so quickly that you fail to conduct a thorough screening. The first time you receive an inquiry on the property, you need to begin the screening process. Take the time to obtain some basic preliminary information about applicants while also providing information about your rental property.
Of course, you must abide by fair housing laws and you also must make sure you are fair in asking the same questions of all applicants so it is a good idea to write down your pre-qualifying questions so you can be sure that you are being fair. If you are unsure of what you are allowed and not allowed to ask by law, consider consulting an attorney.
Before you end the phone call with the applicant, encourage them to drive by the property so they can see it in person and then call to make an appointment with you to see the interior.