When you have a vacant Atlanta rental property, you miss out on regular rental income. You also put your property at risk, because there are no tenants in place to let you know when something breaks or maintenance is needed. Atlanta landlords and investors want to avoid expensive vacancy periods.
While you can use a brief vacancy to take care of turnover issues like repainting and cleaning the home, it’s important to minimize the number of days your rental property is vacant. When you work with a professional Atlanta property manager, you will get some help in placing and retaining great tenants.
Here are some of the other things you can do to prevent a longer than necessary vacancy period.
Preparing Your Atlanta Investment Property for the Rental Market
Putting a tenant in place quickly will reduce your vacancy. To attract a high quality Atlanta tenant, you need to provide a high quality Atlanta home.
Don’t put your property on the market unless it’s move-in ready. The condition has to be perfect, and you have to demonstrate to your tenants that you care about this property. Don’t take any marketing photos or schedule any showings until you know it’s ready.
- Check for needed repairs, and make them. You don’t want to show a property that still needs maintenance. Anything that isn’t fixed will turn tenants off, even if you promise that you’re going to take care of those things before they move in. Tenants need to feel like they could start living there right away. Make sure the property is safe, habitable, and attractive before you show it.
- Make simple upgrades. Reduce vacancy with a few affordable updates to your home. You don’t have to remodel the home to rent it out fast, but tenants will notice simple things like nice landscaping, new fixtures, and fresh paint. If you have appliances from 25 years ago, replace them.
- Keep the home clean and empty. Remove any personal items belonging to you or your former tenants. The property has to be professionally cleaned. Everything should sparkle, from the doorknob on the front door to the toilets in the bathrooms. Clean out the appliances and scrub the floors. Get a professional cleaning crew in there and keep them coming back throughout your vacancy so the place doesn’t get dusty.
Price Your Atlanta Rental Property Correctly
The wrong price will keep your property vacant for much longer. If your home is priced too high, it will be difficult to attract good tenants to it. Tenants in Atlanta are educated about the rental market and what properties are renting for in various neighborhoods. Good tenants won’t overpay for a new home, so make sure your price is competitive.
There are a variety of things that will impact your price. You’ll have to review your property’s location, its size, and its condition. Take a look at the amenities you offer and compare what you have to what your competition has. When you know what the market looks like, you can price your rental home correctly.
Don’t hold out for higher rent. It will lead to longer vacancies and less ROI.
- Let’s say you want to rent out your home for $1,500.
- But, the Atlanta rental market is really only going to support a rental rate of $1,400.
- That $100 difference per month adds up to $1,200 per year.
- But, if you keep the $1,500 price tag and it takes you a full month to rent out your home, you’ve lost $1,500 over the course of that year. That’s $300 more than if you had listed it at $1,400.
- If it takes you a month and a half to rent out your home at $1,500, you’re losing $2,250.
- It makes more financial sense to charge $1,400 and have that property rented right away.
You can get a lot of conflicting information online about what properties in Atlanta are renting for and what they’re worth. Most landlords look at Zillow, Trulia, Rentals.com, and even Craigslist to find out what homes are renting for. But the data isn’t always accurate. A property manager can give you a good idea of where you should be price-wise.
Property Management Atlanta: Marketing and Advertising
To keep your vacancy rate low, make sure you can market your property well. The faster you attract tenants, the faster you’ll have one in place.
Online advertising is really the best way to reach the most people. Take good photos and write a great description. Then, get the ad on all the important rental sites.
How often do you read an ad that doesn’t have photos? You probably don’t. Present your property to prospects with some great photos that really show off the property. Pay attention to angles and lighting, and make sure there isn’t any clutter or debris showing up in your photos. Capture all the main rooms like the master bedroom and the kitchen. Show off special things, too, like fireplaces and garden tubs or walk-in closets.
Pictures must be high quality. Camera phones are great, but you don’t want your marketing photos to look like they were taken with the same camera you use to take selfies.
Your ad needs to include pertinent information, including how much rent will cost, what the security deposit will be, and whether you accept pets. Remember to include your contact information.
When you can put this ad on the rental sites with the most traffic, you’ll have a larger pool of tenants who are aware of your property, and a better chance of renting it out quickly.
Atlanta Property Management: Be Responsive and Available
If you don’t answer your phone and respond to emails, you’re going to have a longer vacancy than you want.
Atlanta tenants have a lot of options, and if you don’t respond to their emails, phone calls, or showing requests, they are going to forget your property and move onto the next one. Be available to show your property when it’s convenient for prospective tenants. You can also use technology that many Atlanta property managers use, where tenants can go into the property on their own and look around.
Be available to answer any questions that your prospects have after seeing the property, and follow up with them. Find out at the showing if they want to apply, and tell them how to do so. If you’re not taking proactive steps, your vacancy will be longer.
If you are too busy to keep up with the phone calls, the showings, and the application process, talk to a property manager in Atlanta who can help you lease your home. You’ll be saving money because vacancy is a lot more expensive than leasing fees.
Atlanta Tenant Screening
Screening your Atlanta tenants is important, even while you’re trying to avoid a vacancy. Your goal is to rent your property quickly, but you want to be selective. Take the time to find tenants who are financially responsible and willing to care for your asset.
An automated and consistent screening process will ensure you can check and approve a tenant quickly. Online resources allow you to receive background reports and credit scores without a long wait. Get back to your applicants as soon as you can so the good tenants don’t go looking at other properties. Once a tenant is approved, collect a deposit, sign the lease, and settle on a move-in date.
Retain Your Atlanta Tenants
An easy way to avoid vacancy is by keeping the great tenants you have in place. Turnovers are just as expensive as vacancies, so do what you can to focus on tenant retention.
Here are some ideas:
- Take care of your tenant’s maintenance needs right away. This responsiveness will protect the condition of your property, and it will demonstrate to your tenants that you care about them. If you ask tenants why they leave a property, one of the most popular answers you’ll hear is that their maintenance needs were ignored. Don’t give your tenants a reason to leave.
- Be available to answer questions and solve problems. Answer your phone 24 hours a day and check your emails regularly. Tenants need to know you’re available for emergencies or when they need help. Even if you cannot solve their problem as soon as they call, let them know you’ve heard them, and you’re working on it.
- Be a good Atlanta landlord. Before your tenant moves in, talk about your lease and the expectations and responsibilities that come with it. Make sure your tenant understands, and be willing to communicate throughout the tenancy, especially if there are questions or things are unclear.
- Increase rent strategically. Tenants expect rental increases when leases renew, but make sure you are making a reasonable increase that’s supported by the market. Give tenants plenty of notice, and be willing to talk about why the price is going up.
It’s expensive to find a new tenant, and you don’t want a vacant property. Be professional and respectful with your current tenants, and keep the relationship positive.
Pay attention to vacancy and what it’s costing you. If you need any help with Atlanta property management or you have any questions, please contact us at Specialized Property Management.