Have you heard it? Have you heard people saying “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? ‘Tis the season. While the holidays are a happy time for many, if you have an empty rental then this season isn’t so jolly. It is absolutely critical to rent your home by December 20th.
Why Must You Rent Your Home by December 20th?
Winter is a nasty time to move. Winter storms will often shut down the whole city for days. No one wants to venture out in a blizzard to look at some rentals. What is more, no one wants to pack up everything they own and move during the holidays. Christmas is stressful enough without having to worry about moving too.
This leads to a build in the winter housing inventory. With so many rentals to choose from and very few tenants willing to move in December, getting your apartment or rental house full by Christmas is critical. The problem that landlords are facing is that you can have one serious renter but they have 10 or 20 places to choose from. The one that they choose is either the one in the best shape or the one that is the best priced – or both. It is imperative that your unit be the one they choose. We are going to share with you some of our tried and tested methods of getting a tenant into your rental during the winter season.
How to Rent Your Home by Christmas
Here are some tips on how to rent your home by Christmas. We will also share what has worked with us and how to beat the competition. Just don’t tell the competition, because we want to stay on top as one of the most effective property managers in the Raleigh and Wilmington area.
Advertise at Market Rental Rates
When there is a lot of competition, landlords will first drop their prices a little bit in an attempt to edge out the competition. This leads to competing landlords dropping their prices and then they drop them again to keep their edge. This can lead to a landslide in rental rates and a race to the bottom. This ends up costing the owner hundreds of dollars over the term of the lease.
We handle the winter season differently. During this time we will normally list right at the price we are hoping to get. Instead of raising the rate for a few weeks hoping to snag you bonus, we start out by listing the home at a competitive rate. What is more, we let our applicants know they are getting the market price.
Offer an Unadvertised Incentive
If we find a well qualified tenant who we can tell is weighing your property against others, we may offer an additional rental discount – say $50 off each month’s rent – as an incentive to choose your property. We don’t advertise that discount because we don’t want our competition to do the same. Our unadvertised approach allows us to undercut nearby competition by just the bare minimum so we can secure those few tenants during the winter season. While this is our approach during the whole winter season, we are much more aggressive after the holidays.
It is our company policy to stay away from gimmicks and giveaways where possible. If we find that during the winter there is an exceptionally high amount of inventory, we will, however, experiment with some sort of bonus incentive. This is especially true if others are offering promotions.
Never Sign a 12 Month Lease in Winter
We also never sign one year leases during the winter rental season. This helps use to avoid having this same problem next year. We prefer to create longer leases, such as a 16 month lease, so that any vacancies fall well into the spring.
If it was necessary to discount the rent as an incentive, we will consider signing a shorter lease. While we usually don’t write leases that are less than one year, accepting a shorter lease can reduce the amount of time the owner has to accept the lesser rent. It will allow us to get a higher paying tenant (or a rent increase from the existing tenant) during a more landlord friendly season.
If you want to rent your home by December 20th, then widen your pool of possible tenants. You can do this by accepting tenants who have pets. Surveys show that 75% of renters have or want pets. If you make an exception and except tenants who own pets during the winter season, you may just beat out the more restrictive competition. Accepting pets can reduce rental vacancies. This means that instead of your unit sitting vacant for three months, you may only have to wait one month. Gaining a couple extra months of rent will more than offset any loss caused by the pet.
Vacancy Costs More than Discounts
Every month your unit sits vacant, you are loosing money. That money adds up quick. Discounting the rent or offering an incentive can fill your vacant rental more quickly and in the end, you will make more money. Take a look at this graphic to see how it works out.
Here at Victory Property Management, we will work day and night to find good tenants for your properties. We work twice as hard during the winter season because we know that you want to rent out your home by December. We will do everything in our power to make that happen so you can with all honesty say, “Happy Holidays.”