I have shown many rental units over the years and seen some that go very quickly and some that hang around forever. Whether you are selling or renting the same rules apply. Even in this busy market, with low vacancy rates, good tenants have choices. As Landlords, we are in competition for these good Tenants. The kind that have good jobs, and have pride in where they live.
There are the same 3 things that are needed to not only rent a unit but get top dollar for the rental. I call it the 3 "P"'s of the sale/rent process. This stands for;
It is like a 3 legged stool. If any one of these is out of balance, you fall over. The price you offer/get is mostly contingent on the other 2 factors.
Many people selling homes are familiar with staging a home for the sale. The are thousands of articles written about the benefits of staging a home before putting it on the market. When it comes to renting, most of us seem to completely forget this. I was showing two side by side townhouses for rent a couple of months ago. Both units were vacant, brand new, and the same model.
The first unit still had the tape markers left from the builder, had not been cleaned (there were bootprints all the way through the unit. A toilet had been used and not flushed. The sinks were dirty. There was garbage on the floor.), it was cold because the owner had turned the heat way down, and the unit smelled.
The second unit was listed for the $150 more per month than the first. It was spotless, it was warm, there were fresh flowers on the counter in the kitchen, the owners had written a letter welcoming prospective tenants to the home.
My clients were happy to pay the extra $150 more for the second unit. They are great Tenants. They have solid jobs, neat freaks, and are saving money for a down payment but will not be ready to buy for at least 2 years. I noticed the first unit did eventually rent. It rented for $250 less per month that the second unit. Simple things can help your unit stand out from the competition. You do not need to spend much money to make a huge difference.
Marketing your rental unit is critically important.You have a number of different avenues available to you in marketing your rental unit.
Placing your unit on the MLS can be a good step but no guarantee of a great tenant. For some more expensive rental units it is a better idea to do this. As with a home sale, the right Agent will make all the difference. Make sure that you select an Agent that understands the rental market and can guide you in selecting the right Tenant. Many Realtors do not like dealing with rentals because there is not much money in them. Generally the commission is 1 months rent split between 2 Agents.
You can select a property management company to help you. There are lots of them out there. Most of the better ones do not come cheap. The advantage of them is that they not only look after finding a Tenant, but also in looking after the unit on your behalf. Different companies have different services available to you. Make sure that you select the company that does what you need.
Many people decide to strike out on their own and do it all themselves. For some professional and experienced landlords. This can put the fees back into their pockets and on their bottom lines. If you are going to go this route, make sure that you do a lot of due diligence. This is no different than starting any other small business. In todays rental market we are lucky to have free resources available for marketing rentals. Kijiji, and Craigslist are the most popular. Check other ads before writing yours. See what you like, what stands out. Remember people buy on benefits to them. Don't forget pictures, I have always found that pictures get more and better responses. Many people just skip right by the ads with no pictures.
Whichever way you decide to go, remember to make things the best they can be. Like your parents probably told you; "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." This advice can make the difference between being able to choose which Tenant you want and just having to take whatever you can get. It also can make a huge difference in the actual rent you can get for your property.