According to Rent.com, most Americans move between the months of May and September when the weather is more accommodating. At this time of year young people are starting or graduating college, and younger kids are on summer break. This translates to a higher turn over rate for rental units during this time of year, meaning tenants in turn have a wider selection to choose from.
This is wonderful news for property owners as well. During these months, there is a high demand for their rental units and finding a suitable tenant is liking plucking low-hanging fruit. But what about those other months?
From October to April, it might be more challenging for landlords who need to fill their properties. Although summer months are the best for tenants looking for a wide range options, during the winter months, apartment turnover is much slower and options become more limited. However, house-hunting tenants may be unaware that this is exactly when some good offers may become available.
[blockquote share=”true”]If you’re looking for a deal on an apartment, winter is generally the best time to find a new place to live – Rent.com[/blockquote]
It’s easy for tenants to find a place for a good price because landlords are more likely to cut deals to supplement for low demand. Since this is the case, and you are a landlord looking to weather the slow season, it’s time to hustle. In this article, we offer innovative techniques for how landlords can attract and maintain those winter tenants.
It is especially important in these slower winter months for landlords to up their marketing game. Here are a few areas to consider when hunting for prospective tenants:
Every landlord relies on signage to advertise available units. It is important to make sure it looks professional by using a good company. Landlords could also consider doing some custom work with sites like Build-A-Sign, or go a step further and design their own logo with Designmantic.
Since there are more properties available and fewer people to compete with during the cold months, tenants will likely be choosier when it comes to selecting which places to view. Poor-quality advertising is all it takes for a client to keeping walking on to the next property. Paying attention to detail and quality will help landlords avoid losing potential tenants.
Propertyware provides landlords with many great options to help create a marketing strategy, including building their own website or posting listings online. For online listing services, there are multiple sites to consider both free and paid. It all comes down to how much cash they are willing to invest.
HotPads, Oodle, Trulia and Vast are some popular listing services. Although singing up is free, a couple of set backs are the amount of time it takes to post a listing on each individual site and also how quickly it might get buried by the other listings anyway. It may take a little extra legwork to snag tenants through this method, but it could be worth it to get ahead of those lazier landlords.
For some more aggressive marketing, it is can be worth investing some hard cash. Lovely, Trulia Pro, Rentals.com are sites that offer premium exposure and can lead to many better quality leads. Any landlord worth his weight knows that a good tenant can save lots of time and money further down the line.
There are many incentives that landlords use to attract tenants during the summer months when competition high, but incentives shouldn’t have to stop there. The priority for incentives increases during the slower and colder winter months because of the reduction in demand. Landlords have to offer even more enticing deals to lure in those hard-to-find clients. There are a couple ways to do this.
A good option is to appeal to tenant’s pocket books. For example, a landlord could offer the first month free if a contract is signed during the slow season or at a discount that is suitable for their budget. If they are not able to offer a free first month, landlords might consider offering free utilities for the first one or two months instead. It is also possible for a landlord to offer a completely lower rent for the length of the rental agreement.
A cost-effective choice could be to offer tenants memberships upon contract completion. A membership to Sam’s Club or Costco would be difficult for any new tenants to pass up. Landlords could even find membership cards for grocery stores or home-improvement stores in their area to add to the list of incentives.
Even the best marketing and incentives might not be enough to convince prospective clients to commit if a landlord’s terms if they do not fit their needs. If the terms of a lease agreement are too stringent, a tenant will easily move on to a more acceptable arrangement for them. This is a good reason why adjusting the terms of a lease might be the only way of getting those hard-sales during the winter months when landlords definitely shouldn’t be turning people away.
During the high season, a landlord typically can be strict with what they allow on their properties. Pet policies, for example, make or break many tenant’s ability to sign a contract.
This might not be a big deal in summer months when demand is at its peak, but up to 47% of all households in the US have a dog and up to 37% have a cat. Those are odds that landlords should not be betting against during the off months.
Landlords should review their lease agreements to see where they can offer more flexibility. For good reason, most landlords prefer to rent for longer periods of time. On the other hand, giving tenants different options for lease lengths could help bring in new business. Signing a new tenant during the off season on a short term lease might even free up that unit just in time for the peak season.
Legal Templates is a powerful resource for landlords and property managers to use if they need help adjusting their current lease agreements. Our easy-to-use software can even help landlords draft completely new rental agreements that suit their changing requirements each season.
Support and Networking
Landlords’ efforts to find tenants require a multi-pronged approach. When demand is at its lowest in the slow winter months, it’s vital for them to utilize their entire arsenal. Once they have adjusted their lease agreements to make them more flexible, offered some creative incentives, and have a top-notch marketing strategy, the next thing to do is garner support from their network.
If an experienced landlord has worked in a certain real-estate market for a longer period of time, they should have a network of friends and business connections. If, however, a landlord or property manager is new to an area, there is no better time than today to start making those essential business connections. Regardless, during the slower months, the more support from others the better.
Start by asking friends and family to help in the effort to look for potential tenants. Ask them to share and post on their social media to help spread the word.
Landlords could also consider hiring a property manager whose job is to connect them to tenants, and who could double down on the endeavor. If nothing else, landlords could seek out tenant placement services in their area. Although there might be a fee involved, it could cost less than having an empty property sitting all winter.
During the slow winter months, landlords have to be proactive about their business. By using the innovative techniques listed above to help them target clients, landlords won’t need to loose any money while they wait for the peak season to return.
— Legal Templates (@LegalTemplate) January 8, 2016