The winter months have always been cold for landlords. People generally don’t want to deal with moving during the busy holiday season, and moving can be practically impossible in areas that get snow. School and job schedules also push movers towards the summer months, meaning there’s even less demand in the winter. If you need to fill a vacancy during the holiday season, it’s going to take more work to find new tenants, but it’s something you can do with the right strategy.
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What are some marketing ideas I can use to find and attract new tenants during the winter or holiday season?
If you’re in a rental market where you usually have your choice of multiple applicants before your prior tenant vacates, you may not have done much marketing in the past. Look for rental listing websites that you may have overlooked in the past and any social media groups that are commonly used in your area.
Now is also the time to step up the quality of your listings to match the quality of your property. Look at the marketing language real estate agents use to highlight their properties and show them in a positive light, then adapt it to your property. You’ll also want to take high-quality photos of each room in the rental. You might even consider hiring a professional photographer depending on the rental itself and the renters you are hoping to attract. While this might take some time and money now, remember these are things you can reuse every time your unit becomes vacant.
Finally, make sure your rental rates and incentives are competitive in the current market. Check out other ads for rentals in your area and note the rates and incentives being offered by other property owners and managers. You may even want to tie your incentives to the holiday season.
What types of move-in incentives can a landlord offer to find new tenants and stand out?
Offering a month or two of free rent or a discounted first month is one of the most common move-in incentives. Some landlords will offer free utilities for a period of time instead. You may also want to consider waiving your application fee and streamlining your Rental Application to make it easier to fill out. If you’re using a Rocket Lawyer Rental Application, you can check in with an On Call® attorney while you’re modifying the application to make sure you’re not making changes you may later regret.
Another good idea for the holiday season is gift cards. Gift cards can help your listing stand out and can seem more exciting than a normal discount. The tenant may want to use it to purchase something they wouldn’t have otherwise splurged on, to finish their holiday shopping, or as one less gift to buy.
What are some other ways I can get prospective tenants to sign a lease?
When you’re in a tenants’ market, the key to finding a good tenant is often flexibility. This may include going shorter or longer than your standard 12-month Lease Agreement or allowing the lease to convert to a month-to-month rental sooner. You may also wish to consider allowing pets or loosening other restrictive terms you may have.
Flexibility is often important when a tenant expresses interest. If you’re not normally available on days, nights, or weekends, you may need to make arrangements to show your unit at the tenant’s preferred time. If a quality tenant passes because you weren’t available, it could take you days or even weeks to find someone else.
What are some ways, besides marketing, to get the word out about my empty rental?
Finally, look beyond standard marketing to fill your unit. You might have a friend or family member who needs a new place to live, or knows someone who does. If you have other units, your existing tenants may also know someone and can share their positive experience with you as their landlord.
In today’s world, this type of social networking is increasingly important. If you haven’t already, add your properties to review sites, ask your tenants to leave reviews, and make sure they’re happy so you get five stars. Your online reputation takes time to build, so it’s important to start this process before you have a vacancy.
Once you’ve found a tenant, you may want to consult with a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney to help you customize your lease and answer your legal questions, especially if you’ve made changes to your regular policies. While you still want to fill your rental quickly, getting a lawyer to help you make a legally sound lease agreement can prevent problems down the road. Rocket Lawyer also offers customizable documents just for landlords. Check out these Landlord forms and documents, created just for landlords to help make managing rental properties affordable and easy.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.