The mere thought of renting your home can be a daunting task, the good news is it doesn’t have to be. While there are dozens of ways to successfully rent your house, these are five brilliant hacks I’ve used to successfully fill a vacancy. In general the home rental process can be simple and effective, or difficult and costly if you don’t prepare. Like many of you, I have a full-time job and a family to support, ensuring our property is always occupied with a quality paying tenant is a big priority.
TOP 5 HACKS RENTING YOUR HOME
1 Update Property Slightly Nicer Than Comparable Homes In The Local Rental Market.
- Curb appeal is everything! Mow the lawn, water it so the grass is green. (additional tip: Prevent your lawn from going dead by installing automatic sprinklers and taking on the responsibility of the water bill as part of the rental cost).
- Add value to the property by including niceties to entice potential tenants to apply. ie: pre-wired flat screen TV mount, washer/dryer, a patio set or fire pit for use on the property.
- Go neutral with your paint colors- off white with bright white baseboards is my preference.
2. Advertise & Build Hype Around Your Rental Property Like Crazy!
- Create a marketing flyer using Canva for both print and online PDF download. Include photos of each room in the property, don’t forget to add bulleted details such as bed/baths, square footage, rent, deposit required, and occupancy date. Including as much detail on the flyer is crucial!
- Create an online advertisement on craigslist, Zillow and other listings. Include photo of your flyer in the listing, or a link to your PDF on box.com for download. (Tip: Do this last to avoid being unprepared for the barrage of phone calls.)
- Create a free digital business card with contxts.com, You can use this as another tool to distribute your flyer and contact information to customers. Include your website, phone number, social media. You’ll also be able to collect numbers of prospects who request your card, these are potential leads to follow up with if needed.
Upload the flyer to box.com and make a shareable public link to your flyer.
- Setup a reject call autoresponder text message on your mobile phone with link to your flyer. You will be rejecting all unknown calls with this quick response text message to prevent wasting time answering redundant questions.
SAMPLE TEXT: “Thanks for requesting info about the property at 123 Anytown, I have prepared a flyer that will answer most of your questions https://app.box.com/house4rent Text me back if still interested”
3. Prepare and Plan Ahead for a Successful Open House.
- Make sure the home is clean top to bottom. Burn some candles to create a pleasant ambiance. You can also stage your home, but keep it clean and simple. If you are living in the home, clear away any clutter.
- Put “FOR RENT” sign in front of your property with a loaded flyer tube, print off some extras to place on a table inside the home with pens.
- Have refreshments such as chilled water bottles in the Kitchen for your open house guests.
- Have plenty of rental applications on hand, be sure to include an application fee. This is crucial to weeding out flaky applicants. (If they can’t afford a 25.00 application fee, they may not be able to pay the rent!)
- Publically share your open house event for your rental on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.
**ONLY show the home to potential tenants in an open house setting, this drives competitiveness and will help those serious about renting the property fill out an application. Before accepting an application, I make sure each applicant understands if selected they will need to provide first and last month’s rent, and a deposit prior to moving in. (Check your local housing laws regarding lease deposits and application fees)
At this point, you will likely receive a barrage of phone calls. You can reject all unknown numbers with your premade text message with a link to your online PDF flyer. The seriously interested parties will call/text you back, you can let them know when your open house will be held. Consider scheduling your open house in one-hour blocks; weekday evenings between 5-6 PM, 6-7 PM, 7-8 P.M and weekends in the mornings to accommodate those with varying work schedules.
When you hold your open house, ensure you are a good host. Remember, your objective is selling them on the property, so this is business, customer service, and showmanship. Showing your potential customers kindness and care says a lot about you and the potential business relationship they will have with you over the next 12-24 months.
**Offer to align your lease agreement to expire in warmer months if possible. Renting your property in the winter can be a challenge in cold climates. (Example: A lease beginning on April 1, 2015 should expire May 31, 2016 to capitalize on summer moving season)
4. Thoroughly Screen Applicants.
- Cash your application checks ASAP to ensure it clears the bank. As a courtesy, typically I will refund/credit the application fee to the selected tenant.The first thing I look for on an application is the income to debt ratio.
- Ask yourself “can this applicant afford to rent my property?”Next, you’ll need to perform a credit check and criminal background check on the applicant’s you are considering.
- When your applicant clears these initial prerequisites, it is time to call references. In particular their past landlords, you’ll need to ensure you are really talking to the landlord and not their buddy. I’ll typically ask a few questions about the property and residency to ensure I’m talking to the right person.
- Validate employment and request proof of income from the last 12-24 months.
- Screen google and social media profiles for anything out of character as it relates to renting your property.
- If the applicant requires a cosigner, I will have the cosigner include an application and use the same screening process.
- Ensure you take detailed notes on the qualification/disqualification of each applicant and hang on to them for at least two years.
5. Provide Excellent Customer Service For Your New Tenant.
- Address any mechanical issues swiftly and thoroughly- avoid blame if possible.
- Drop a card in the mail for holidays or birthdays.
- Email or call occasionally to see if there is anything you can do to help.
- Know and enforce the rental agreement, this is for the protection of you and your tenant including late fees and policy violations.
Applying these five tips will help you charge top-dollar for your rental property and aide in attracting a solid tenant. This may seem like a lot of work initially, but you’ll be surprised at how much time and money you will save in the long run. You’ll spend less time on the phone answering redundant questions and invest more time with the right applicants to do business with.
That said, any kind of vacancy from turnover can be costly. To prevent this, I have made it a priority to provide swift and thorough customer service to my tenants. I make it a priority to expeditiously handle property issues that arise, such as a clogged toilet or other mishaps. You’ll be surprised how being on top of these little issues will set you apart from other landlords, and will likely increase the chances your tenant will renew their lease with you — Now that you’ve got a great tenant, retention is key!