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May 10, 2019

Investing in real estate and renting property can be a great means to make money. Andrew Carnegie said, "90% of all Millionaires became so through owning real estate." However, there are a few times when owning an investment property can lose you money, such as when your rental properties are empty in between renters. 54% of apartments experience turnover every year.

Use these 8 tips to avoid costly empty rental units and keep your properties fully rented as often as possible.

1. Plan Ahead

As soon as your tenant informs you that they're looking to move out, start looking for your next renters. Getting an apartment rented takes time; potential tenants need to find your property, walkthrough, make their decision, sign leases, and so on. Moving isn't a fast process, so give yourself the best chance to keep your apartment filled by listing it as early as possible.

If you have tenants on a year-to-year lease, inquire six months in advance about their plans to stay, move, or if they require anything in their unit. This builds goodwill but also allows you to start advertising a potential vacancy early. It could be a non-standard clause that you add to your residential lease, letting them know you'll be contacting them about their intentions. 

2. Avoid Vacancies All Together

Lack of communication between tenants and landlords is one of the main reasons tenants leave. By responding when they call with a complaint or repair request, you show them you care and are willing to listen. If you fix the problem, it builds a secondary layer of trust. Keeping good tenants and turning tenant difficulties into positive interactions through communicating can keep your tenants living in your rental for years to come. 

3. Watch Your Advertising

The only way you'll be able to keep renters in your apartment is by making sure they find your listing in the first place. List your rental property in multiple places: in apps, online, even in newspapers. Rental property listings need to be easily found by potential tenants to reduce the amount of time your property sits empty. The faster the potential renters can find your space, the quicker they can decide to move in.

Whether you decide to subscribe to an app or use free tools, choose ones that will mass publish you listing across many platforms to save you time in having to publish manually. 

4. Create Video Tours

When the unit is vacant or if you ask the current tenant to clean so the apartment will be staged, you could walk through with any smartphone or video recording device and cover the apartment layout. This video can be used on any online platform and available to potential tenants if they want to see the property during non-showing hours.

5. Enroll Other Tenant's Help

Many people work in human resources, sales, marketing, customer service, or restaurant servers, and they rent from you. Reach out to those current tenants who have public-facing jobs and are used to speaking with people regularly to talk to friends and family about a potential open unit. You could even compensate them with a referral fee if their prospective tenant is approved for tenancy. 

6. Plan For Renovating Quickly

As soon as you know, a tenant is planning to move, call your repair crew and get the unit on the turnover schedule. By being on the calendar in advance, you are sure to get the work done upon the tenants moving out and not weeks later because of poor planning. This goes for ordering new carpet, appliances, or other items that you need lead time. 

7. Stay up to date on current rents in your market

If you are trying to push through an unreasonable rent increase, then you may lose a tenant. There is always a fine line between optimizing/maximizing rent and retaining good tenants. Staying up to date on rents can help you maximize rent without being too aggressive. Using market rent rate calculators, like Rentometer, can help you determine the current reasonable rent for the neighborhood or city. 

8. Using Technology To Your Advantage

Today's technology makes keeping all your properties rented easier than ever. Between rental listing apps and neighborhood search tools and tenant screening apps, there are plenty of online resources to keep your rental properties full.

You could start pre-screening tenants and have them on a waiting list based on your current leases. Yes, those tenants may find other homes in the meantime, but if you have a list of pre-qualified tenants available to call when your current tenant gives notice, you'll be ahead of the game. During the pre-screening process, be upfront about the unit availability and the overall process, so potential tenants understand they are on a waitlist and when they will be contacted. 


This article was written by the Rentometer Content Team. The Rentometer Blog features fresh takes and insights on rental housing topics, services, and technology.