Any real estate investor will tell you that much of your profitability depends on your ability to attract and keep the “right” tenants. Good renters are ones who pay on time, take good care of the property, inform you promptly of emergency situations, and stick around for a long time.
The “perfect” tenant will be hard to come by, but you can increase your odds of finding good ones by marketing the place to the right people. So how can you do that?
1. Consider a Property Management Company
A property management firm will make marketing much easier for you. They’ll have experts on staff to advise you on which markets to target.
They’ll help you choose the right properties and help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of any real estate you already own. And most important, they’ll do the hard work of researching your target audience and marketing the property.
A good management company will also assist with collecting tenant applications, screening tenants, conducting maintenance, issuing repair orders, and even managing evictions, should that ever become necessary. In exchange, you’ll pay them a small percentage of your gross rental income.
It’s a way of outsourcing the marketing challenges to experts who know how to handle them.
2. Stay Aware of Discrimination Laws
When marketing to a specific audience, make sure you remain clear about applicable discrimination laws. Under the Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal to practice discrimination when searching for tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, or disability.
If you’re found to have denied, restricted, or prohibited the rental of your property to people based on any of these factors, you could be sued for discrimination.
3. Research Your Audience
Who are the types of people who live in the neighborhood? What are the values of the folks who would be interested in a property like yours?
Even a basic round of market research can help acquaint you with the people who are most likely to rent your property – and help you tailor your listings to appeal to them. You can use the Census Bureau to discover more about your target demographics or even simply talk to other people who currently live in the neighborhood.
4. Utilize Targeted Advertising
Once you have a clear sense of your target audience, you can focus on the use of targeted advertising. Thanks to platforms like Google and Facebook, it’s possible to place ads for properties with people based on their location, background, and even their personal interests.
Advertising can be expensive, so you may have to manage your campaign with care, but given a smart approach, you might see a massive influx of applications from viable tenants.
Emphasize the Right Points
When describing your property and/or advertising it, make sure you emphasize the points that are likely to be most valuable to your audience.
These could include:
- Living space. For some people, living space is the top priority. Make sure you talk about the available square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the yard space (if applicable). It’s also a good idea to take photos that make your property appear spacious and inviting.
- Recent updates. Some tenants are especially interested in recent updates and upgrades. For example, they might be willing to accept other sacrifices if it means getting an apartment with a modern kitchen and bathroom. Be sure to highlight these features if that’s the case.
- School systems. Families and young parents may prioritize the quality of the local school systems. If your property is in a neighborhood that has excellent schools, do your best to promote this.
- Crime rates. Similarly, some people want to feel as secure as possible. Make sure you talk about the low crime rates (if applicable) when you advertise your property.
- Location and accessibility. For people who commute to work, accessibility and location are essential. When advertising to that demographic, emphasize access to public transportation and nearby highways.
The Importance of Screening
No matter how you choose to market your property, it’s critical to invest heavily in tenant screening. That is your opportunity to evaluate prospective candidates based on their income, job status, criminal background, and other factors that could influence their value and risk as a renter.
Although filling vacancies may be your top priority, it’s usually better to wait for a strong candidate than to fill an empty space with someone who may not be reliable about paying rent.
Once you find a promising tenant and get him or her into your rental property, your next priority will be to retain this person. Practicing good communication habits, building rapport, taking care of repairs promptly, and offering loyalty rewards can all help you keep your tenants happy and living in your property consistently – potentially for years to come.