By Michael Hoover, General Manager of Mavi Unlimited Property Management and Real Estate.
Now that you found the perfect rental property, you need to find a tenant. Nothing kills your profit margin/capitalization rate faster than an unoccupied property. Finding a quality tenant immediately should be your first priority. What is your plan?
Will you stand outside the home passing out flyers to everyone who walks by? Should you advertise an open house event on the internet, grab your grill, some hot dogs, cookies, and a smile? Do people still advertise in newspapers?
Like it or not, we live in a digital age. Whether someone is looking to spend $500 or $5000 per month, at least part of their search will include the internet. An online presence must be part of your plan. Personally, I do not think print media, or even print media’s online sites, are relevant for real estate. Here are several options to include in your plan:
1) Craigslist.com – Craigslist used to be the best, and in some cases, the only option to market rental properties. It was easy to upload your text and a few pictures and wait for the phone to ring. While we still find many tenants from their site (We post or ads daily, using multiple accounts to ensure our properties appear as close to the top as possible), it is very limited.
You get 4 pictures, a simple paragraph, and some templates that can be purchased, but those blue tag lines are unchangeable. Your put a lot of hope in your “Free Rent for Life!” headline is creative enough to be worthy of a click. With no options to make your ad stand out finding property on Craigslist is now very hit or miss. My advice is to save yourself the time and look for other options.
2) Zillow.com and Trulia.com – Both of these sites are free and offer a full array of photos and descriptions. I like them because they also include market data relevant to your property, maps showing exact locations, and have great tablet and smart phone applications. In my opinion, technology driven sites like these have the ability to bring you a higher quality tenant. A well researched and well informed tenant is often the best tenant.
3) Rentals.com or Rentbits.com – These sites give you the option of selecting different “packages” that send your advertisement partner websites. For $50 or $150/month, these sites give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of pure exposure. In a matter of minutes, you can create and send your ad out to dozens of partner sites like hotpads.com, Google’s backpage, and many others automatically
Whatever digital pathway you choose, you still have to sell your property. Be sure to include:
Pictures – Pictures are worth a thousand words. Good pictures are worth a lot more. Consider hiring a professional photographer or videographer to create something that is high quality you can use over and over.
Details – Write a detailed description of the property that highlights the strengths of your property. Attention spans are short, so be concise. Include nearby schools, shopping areas, restaurants, and parks.
Whether you chose to do it yourself or hire a management company, make sure your property is marketed properly or you will pay for it in the end.
Please feel free to contact Mike Hoover with Mavi if you have questions about how to manage investment property.