Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all business strategy, and this is especially true when it comes to advertising an available rental property. Though most businesses have an ideal customer in mind, it’s not a problem if they occasionally attract customers who fall outside of their target demographic. However, if you are a rental property owner, you don’t want just anybody to live in your property.
To attract your ideal tenant, you will need to strategically market your property, provide unique listings, and use effective screening tools. Read on to learn some of the best ways to attract quality prospective tenants through effective marketing.
Use Effective Tenant Screening Methods
Tenant screening is about more than just weeding out undesirable tenants; it’s also about maximizing your time. By properly screening potential tenants, you will avoid wasting time meeting with multiple people who turn out to be poor candidates. Effective screening also can save you money because you won’t be processing as many costly background checks.
When you screen tenants, you keep your candidate pool low, which allows you to get to know each applicant rather than feeling like you’re rushing through the process. Remember, one qualified renter is better than two unqualified applicants.
So how do you strategically screen applicants to save yourself time and money? Be as detailed as possible in your listings. Clearly state the rent amount, being sure to avoid ambiguous language like “rent starting at” or “rent ranging from.” A lot of property owners use these phrases to attract more renters, but this tactic often backfires. Typically, applicants inquire based on the lowest price and will be instantly put off when they find out that the advertised price is not realistic. By stating the actual monthly rent, you will avoid attracting individuals who are not comfortable with the amount, thereby reducing your pool of unqualified applicants.
You can also research rents in the area and neighboring communities and then price your rental property slightly lower than the maximum for the market. You’ll attract more highly qualified applicants because they have likely done the market research themselves and wouldn’t apply to live in an overpriced rental.
Use High-Quality Photos
This tip cannot be overstated. Poor quality or scarce photos are a sure way to reduce the number of qualified applicants. Savvy renters know that if a property has only a few pictures (or none at all), then the property owner may be hiding something. Perhaps the property is in poor condition or hasn’t been professionally cleaned. No matter the reasons, you can avoid turning off potential tenants by investing in a sufficient number of high-quality photos.
Before you take any photos of your property, be sure that everything is in good working order. Inspect light fixtures and windows for visible damage, replace old window coverings, and check for visible hazards like frayed carpeting. Once you have ensured the property is in good condition, invest in a professional cleaner to spruce the place up. Sometimes property owners feel that renters don’t care about things like cleanliness but this is not the case. Highly qualified renters are very discerning and in most markets, they know they have other options.
When taking pictures, make sure you have adequate lighting so potential renters will have fewer reservations about agreeing to see the place in person. Take as many pictures as possible because any rooms that aren’t captured are likely to raise red flags. Most of today’s smartphones take good pictures, but if you don’t have the time and you can bear the expense, it may be better to enlist the help of a professional photographer. Combine your photos with a detailed listing that honestly points out any problems with the property to reduce the possibility of any surprises during a showing.
Look for Referrals
Another way to attract qualified renters is to seek referrals. If you have good long-term tenants, ask them if they know of anyone looking to move soon. You can also enlist the help of friends and colleagues to spread the word. Give them details about the property and relevant information, such as links to your online listing and photos, which they can pass on to potential tenants. If you manage several properties or a multi-unit complex, you might consider offering a referral bonus.
Once a referral contacts you, keep track of who referred them or how they heard about the vacancy. In fact, it’s a good idea to always track how people learn about your property—whether they are referrals or not—as doing so will help you determine which marketing strategies yield the best results.
Don’t Limit Your Advertising to the Internet
In this digital age, many landlords believe the only way to get quality renters is to concentrate on Internet advertising. This is certainly a viable way to draw renters, but it’s not the only way.
Consider old-school advertising methods like flyers or yard signs. A lot of potential renters drive around searching for properties with For Rent signs out front. Some prefer dealing with private landlords and feel that the process will be more personal when someone takes the time to use traditional advertising. Physical signs also encourage potential renters to take a look at the property and its location to determine if it’s somewhere they would want to live.
Finding a quality tenant does not have to be a stressful process. By putting yourself in the shoes of a potential renter, you can improve your advertising efforts and save yourself valuable time and money. No matter how you choose to advertise your property, using these tips will help increase the odds of attracting the best tenants.