The worst fear of a landlord is the anxiety that comes when your property stands vacant. After all, the monthly rent you receive isn’t necessarily income. You’ve likely still got a mortgage to pay, you certainly have taxes and insurance, and you’ve got to still pay utilities while the apartment stays vacant. You can’t show the apartment in blazing heat, or with no lights.
Do your homework before you buy: Obviously, the best thing you can do to avoid high turnover rates is to be sure you are buying the right property first. Certain areas are better for investing then others for a variety of reasons; research the neighborhoods you are considering investment.
It is important to determine the type of renters you want. If you want older, professionals with a slightly higher than average rent, you want don’t want your property to be in a shady part of town. Also be sure that there aren’t a lot of other rental properties in the same vicinity—unless yours offers something special, or better that the others don’t.
Choose a good location: A crucial element in keeping your rental occupied depends on how visible your property is, and where it is. If it is in a visible spot, people will see the “For Rent” sign and call without any other advertisement. This is also an advantage, because people who know someone looking to rent will call, and word of mouth will spread.
Be proactive: The day your tenants vacate is the very same day your handyman/contractor should assess repairs and then begin making the necessary repairs to your rental property. Even better if you can have some of the repairs done before they move—for example, if you know the property needs a new dishwasher. Obviously, wear and tear that must be fixed cannot be done until the day the tenant moves out. But this is the time to start; don’t delay.
Price it Realistically: Pricing your rental unit properly is critical. You have to know exactly how to price your investment so that you are not losing money, but also aren’t pricing so high that no one wants it, or, thinks you are delusional. Some landlords think that their property is worth much more than it is, and so it stays empty for a long time.
Advertising: You must advertise the property. The Internet is your best source these days. However, you should still add the old “For Rent” sign outside with the phone number and price. There are many times that people see a phone number without the price, and ignore it altogether because its a hassle. Don’t make this mistake.
Longer rental terms: Having your tenants stay longer is always ideal. It provides a landlord with comfort, knowing they have it filled for a while. It is a good idea to give a renter incentive to stay even longer. Consider offering a reduced rate for a 3 year rental, or maybe throw in free utility bills or cable. It costs far less to throw in free water than to end up with empty units.