As a landlord, one of your top priorities is to keep your property rented. Since most leases are year to year, you need to start looking for new tenants every nine months or so. For many landlords, this is one of the more time consuming issues of owning a rental property. Unfortunately, there may not be enough spread in the bottom line to hire a property manager or use a local real estate agent. The good news is that there are many things the average landlord can do to promote their property that won’t break the bank. In fact, many are free of charge. If you are working on a budget, here are five things you can do to help attract new tenants:
1. Yard Signs: The very first thing that any landlord should do is put a for rent sign on the subject property. You own the property and have every right to put whatever you want on your front yard. If you opt for the average yard sign, it won’t cost you more than a few dollars, but it may not be visible from the road. The larger signs will cost more, but have a greater impact. With a large sign, you can attach a tube that will hold printouts of all pertinent information on the property. Not only are you promoting the property, but you are also making your life a little easier as well. In addition to your subject property, you can also put yard signs on every property you own. The more you can get the word out about the property, the greater chance you will find a tenant.
2. Real Estate Listing Sites: The internet has made it easier than ever to market your listing. You need to take advantage of all the free listing sites that are available. While the popularity of Craigslist has declined in recent years it is still a viable option that should not be ignored. In addition to Craigslist, there are other free sites available as well. Trulia, Postlets and Zillow don’t charge to list on their sites. It is important that you have an idea of where your average renter comes from. Most renters in today’s market will probably start their search online. The quality of the pictures and description goes a long way in the effectiveness of your listing. All it costs to post your property on these sites is your time. Writing out a description of the property and uploading a few pictures shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.
3. Personal Contacts: Finding a tenant is very much like networking, in that you get out of it what you put in. Social media has made it as easy as possible to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time. One of the things you should do if you are looking to fill a vacancy is tap into your personal contacts. A quick post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can reach hundreds of people with just one click. In addition to social media, you should also reach out to the existing tenant. This may sound obvious, but did you even ask them if they wanted to renew their lease? Even if they declined, you can still ask them if they know anyone who may be interested. You can even offer them a small finder’s fee if they produce a tenant. There is nothing embarrassing or awkward about reaching out to your contacts to see if they know anybody. All it takes is one person to have interest or to know somebody to get your property rented.
4. The Local Neighborhood: After placing a for rent sign on your property; why not try to blanket the local neighborhood? If the local laws permit you to do so, find as many local intersections or busy telephone poles and place signs on them. You should have a nice color print out with pictures and numbers ready to hang in local pizza shops and coffee houses. Most prospective tenants that will rent your property will come from the local area.
5. Open House: One of the most important things you can do if you are looking for tenants is to allow yourself enough time to find one. This means that you need to start your search while your tenants are already in the property. Ideally, you will have an understanding with them to keep the property clean and that you will need a few hours every other weekend. The gives you the opportunity to keep the house open. Anyone in the area with an interest in the property should be allowed to see it. Create an atmosphere that puts the properties best foot forward. If you do these open houses every other week or so, in addition to the rest of your marketing efforts, you can find a tenant without having to pay to find them.
Before waiving the white flag and enlisting the services of a real estate agent, try these inexpensive methods first. It is important to stay consistent and do something to find tenants every day. With all of the options available, this is something you should be able to do on your own.