Waiting for a response to a rental ad
We write what we think is a spectacular rental ad. We research our competition and make sure we are asking the correct rent. We place the ad on Kijiji and make it a top ad. Then we wait for the emails to come in.
Well what happens when nothing happens. Zero response. The reality seems to be that no matter what rental market you are in, sometimes for whatever reason the leads to not come pouring in.
We have had this happen to us in an August with a flat a short walking distance from a large community college. We have had it happen in various months of the year.
I will have to admit, sometimes having zero leads can be better than being flooded with undesirable leads.
I will also admit that I have had to use some positive self talk to prevent myself from worrying about the possible pending vacancy.
I do believe that when you do have a vacancy to fill, you need to hustle. The following steps may not solve all your vacancy problems, but they are sure to help.
1. Stay positive, believe that you are going to attract an awesome tenant.
2. Keep your ad current, keep it fresh and make sure to repost or pay for a top ad to stay visible. Make it easy for potential tenants to find you. If you have zero leads in the first couple of weeks and you are in a strong rental area, review your price and adjust if necessary. Review your description and pictures.
2. Make sure your ad has great pictures and several of them (never post an ad without pictures).
3. Make sure your ad is well written, really describe the apartment, house or flat in a positive way. Describe what it is close to, and build a case for why someone would want to live there. People rent for lifestyle (could be close to hospitals, schools, major industry etc…) Write an ad that makes you stand out from your competition.
4. Make sure your vacancy is advertised properly. You need to be online as part of your strategy. We use Kijiji, it is free and very effective in our province (Nova Scotia) other sites may work better in other areas. Make sure you are online somewhere. That is how the majority of your tenants will find you.
4. Let the other tenants in the building know you have an upcoming vacancy. We have had some great luck with tenants referred by other tenants. If you have a lot of rental units, offer an ongoing referral program. Some examples might be a $100 gift card, half months rent free pay to referrer after 6 months).
5. When you get a phone or email lead, respond immediately, be up beat. Thank people for getting in touch with you. Build credibility as a property manager or landlord. Always remember your tenants are your customers. Great customers have choices, so you need to provide the best customer service in your market, that will allow you to attract and keep tenants. I have had many tenants complain that they contacted other property management companies and landlords, and they were slow or did not respond.
6. When you show the unit, remember, that is your time to shine as a sales person. Do a proper feature and benefit demonstration. If it does require some work, communicate with your potential tenant what you intend to do before they move in. Have a plan before the potential tenant shows up. Do not expect that the current tenant is going to clean up and stage the unit for your showing. Arrive early. Remember when you bought the building. How was it presented to you. Unfortunately in most cases, you likely had a weak presentation from your real estate agent or current owner. This is not acceptable in our business. Present the property with enthusiasm. You are selling the benefits of the unit, area and you.
7. Try to set up more than one showing close together in time. In our experience, unfortunately only about 50% of your appointments show up. Do not get discouraged if your appointment is a no show. It is a reality we all face in any business we are involved in, it is not exclusive to property management.
8. Make sure if you hire someone to fill a vacancy that they follow the steps above. I have had complaints from people in the past that have contacted people I hired to fill vacancies, they said they were slow to respond to emails and phone messages. It is your investment property so make sure you hire the right people to fill your vacancy’s.
Good luck filling all your vacancy’s.
Michael P Currie
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