Property managers know that occupancy is key. Retaining tenants, avoiding turnover, and filling vacant apartments as soon as possible helps keep profits healthy and avoids headaches for management and staff. And it’s not always about finding tenants but the right tenants, which can often be a challenge, especially in a highly competitive rental market. But, the right tenants are out there. Your job, as a landlord or property manager, is to follow the right approaches to find them and get them to apply.
In this article, we will explore some key strategies for increasing tenant applications as a property manager. By implementing these strategies, you can attract more potential renters and increase your odds of filling units quickly.
Ensure Your Property Is Well Maintained
When a property is well maintained, it sends a message to potential tenants that the landlord cares about the physical property and is likely to take care of any issues that may arise during their tenancy. This can give potential renters peace of mind and increase the likelihood that they consider your property over others in the local market. A clean, well-maintained exterior also instantly increases curb appeal and can drive interest just from passerby.
Exterior maintenance includes tasks such as regularly mowing the lawn, trimming bushes and trees, and cleaning gutters. It’s also important to making necessary repairs in a timely manner. This can include fixing any leaks, replacing broken windows, and repairing furniture. The first thing prospective tenants see when they tour a property is the common areas. Taking time to vacuum and clean hallways, stairways, and amenity spaces can make the property more appealing and give prospective tenants a sense of pride in their potential home.
Market Your Property in Various Channels
Marketing remains a tried-and-true tactic to attract potential renters, but it pays to invest in a combination of marketing strategies to be sure you’re reaching as many individuals in your target audience as possible. Rental websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Rentometer should always be your first step. These websites are commonly used by potential renters to search for properties and learn more about prices and amenities in an aggregated format. Creating a Facebook page, Instagram account, or other social media profiles can also be a powerful tool to reach a large audience and share photos and information about the property.
While a social media profile could be a substitute for a website in some cases, developing your own site will allow you to establish credibility quickly and integrate other tasks such as intake of applications. When marketing online, it’s important to be mindful of your competitors. Your listing on Zillow, for example, will be shown against dozens of others in your zip code. Stand out from the pack by investing in incentives such as move-in specials, reduced rent, or included amenities. Be sure to make these incentives prominent on all your channels as a way to attract eyeballs, clicks, and (eventually) applications.
Make the Rental Process Easier by Utilizing Technology
Technology can take the headache out of the rental process, allowing prospective tenants to more easily submit applications and move in quicker. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to invest in property management software. The right software can automate many tasks, including tracking rent payments, creating lease agreements, and managing maintenance requests. It can also power online rental applications, which allow potential renters to apply for your property, submit their credit report, and pay their application fee without ever having to interact with a human on your staff.
Even before tenants apply, however, technology can be used in beneficial ways to make your property stand out. For example, virtual tours using 360-degree photography or video have become commonplace on rental websites (and are almost expected from potential renters). These tours allow tenants to tour apartments remotely and get a sneak peek into common areas and amenities without ever having to physically tour a space. In today’s competitive market, things move quickly, and sometimes decisions are made before a tenant even arrives in person. Staying on top of technological trends and investing in the right tools can ensure your property stays relevant and top of mind.
Consider Implementing a Pet-Friendly Rental Policy
According to the American Pet Products Association, 67% of American households own pets, which means a large percentage of potential renters need a home for their furry companions. By allowing tenants to keep pets on property, you can drastically improve the number of applicants you receive and increase the chances of finding tenants quickly. A pet-friendly policy can also lead to longer-term tenants. Pet owners are often more invested in their rental properties, as they are more likely to stay in a place that allows them to keep their pets. This can lead to less turnover and less time and money spent on finding new tenants.
When creating a pet-friendly policy, it pays to consider implementing a pet deposit or pet rent. This can help to cover any potential damages caused by the pet and can also be used to fund future repairs. It's also important to include guidelines for pet ownership in the lease agreement, such as specifying what types of pets are allowed, size and breed restrictions, and any rules or regulations regarding pet behavior on the property. If you’re looking for assistance in implementing a pet policy or managing pets on property, online tools such as OurPetPolicy are available to help.
Make 2023 the year that you are swimming in new rental applications. With landlords competing for quality tenants, it pays to invest in smart strategies to ensure you’re attracting not only a large pool of applicants but ones that will make great tenants over the long-term. By ensuring that your property is well-maintained and has a clean, well-groomed exterior, potential tenants will have peace of mind and will be more likely to consider the property over others.
You should also consider marketing your property in various channels, such as rental websites and social media, and offering incentives to stand out from the competition. Utilizing technology, such as property management software and virtual tours, can also make the rental process easier and more efficient for both landlords and prospective renters. And lastly, creating a pet-friendly policy can attract a larger pool of potential tenants who are more likely to stay year after year.