With a vacant Fort Worth rental property, you’re hurting your return on investment (ROI). A vacancy costs you rental income that you’ll never be able to earn back. Not only is a vacancy expensive, it also puts your property at risk. Without a tenant in place, you can’t be sure that everything is working. A leak that’s left unnoticed for a month can turn into a disaster.
When you do find yourself with a vacancy, you should use the time to make any necessary repairs and cosmetic upgrades. Most turnovers between tenants can take a few days, especially if the property is well-maintained. Avoid longer vacancies, and if you really want to keep your property rented, consider working with an experienced Fort Worth property manager.
There are a few things you can do to prevent a long vacancy period.
Prepare Your Fort Worth Rental Property for Tenants and the Market
Quickly placing a tenant will help you reduce vacancy and earn more on your property. In order to find a great Fort Worth tenant fast, you need to offer an exceptional property.
Make sure your home is in excellent shape before you put it on the market. When you provide a great home, your prospective tenants know that you care about the property, and they’ll care about it too. Pay attention to these things:
- Make all necessary repairs. Your home has to be safe, habitable, and appealing. If things are broken or missing, don’t bother showing it to tenants. They will not be impressed with a property that isn’t move-in ready, even if you promise to fix the outstanding items before the lease date.
- Invest in simple updates and upgrades. A modern home will rent a lot faster than one that’s old and outdated. Take a look at your appliances. If they are aging, consider replacing them. Update your lighting and your floors, and at the very least provide a fresh coat of paint. Tenants want to feel good about where they’re living. Give them the curb appeal they’re looking for.
- Have the property professionally cleaned. A good tenant will not move into a property that’s dusty, cluttered, and stinky. Have a cleaning crew scrub everything until it sparkles, and make sure there’s plenty of light and no odors left behind from past tenants with pets. Keep the home in clean, presentable condition while it’s on the market, and it will rent quickly.
Pricing Your Fort Worth Rental Property
A property that’s priced too high for the market will stay vacant for a long time. All the money you’re hoping to earn with a higher rental price will be lost when you aren’t collecting any rent at all for a month or two. Fort Worth tenants understand their market. They know what properties are renting for, and they know how to compare the price points of different homes. Good tenants aren’t going to overpay, and you need to make sure you’re offering a competitive rent.
Your price depends on a number of things, including location, size, and condition. Amenities are also important, so factor in things like parking, outdoor space, and whether there’s a pool. Pay attention to the competition.
Don’t charge more, thinking you’ll earn more.
- Let’s say you want to rent out your home for $1,500.
- But, the Fort Worth 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.
Online rental sites like Zillow, Trulia, and even Craigslist can be a resource when you’re pricing your property, but remember that the important figure is what a home actually rents for, not what it’s listed for. You need accurate data, which is best found with a Fort Worth property management company.
Fort Worth Rental Property Marketing
To find great tenants fast, you need to do a stellar job of marketing your home. Cast a wide net so you have a well-qualified pool of tenants from which to choose. Make sure your listing is in all the places that prospective tenants are looking.
Online advertising is crucial. When your property shows up on sites like HotPads, Zillow, Trulia, Rentals.com, and others – you’ll have a good chance of generating interest.
Your listing needs some outstanding photos and maybe even a video. You want to interest those tenants enough that they come to see the home. A lot of people take good pictures with the cameras on their phones. That’s fine, but you can really make a difference with a high quality camera capable of taking professional-grade photos.
In addition to engaging photos, you also need a written ad that showcases your home. It should focus on all the things that you’re proud of, whether that’s a great school district, a lot of storage space, a great yard, or a renovated kitchen. Talk about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and anything special, such as a fireplace, swimming pool, or a two-car garage. Include your contact information and other important details such as how much is required in rent and security deposits, and if pets are allowed.
Minimize vacancy time with great marketing. You’ll get a good tenant faster, and the rental income will start coming in a lot sooner.
Property Management Fort Worth: Communicate with Prospects
Communication is important when you’re trying to rent out your home quickly and avoid vacancy.
Fort Worth tenants are going to expect you to be responsive and available. Pick up the phone when they call, and don’t wait too long to return messages. When someone wants to schedule a showing, make it easy for them. Meet them at the property when it’s convenient for them. Or, you can buy a software program that allows prospective tenants to let themselves into the home through a lockbox and see it on their own schedule.
It’s important to be ready for the interest that your marketing plans will generate. If you find that your schedule doesn’t allow you to keep up with the emails and the phone calls and the inquiries and the showings, work with a property manager. You’ll find that leasing agents can handle this process efficiently and successfully.
Screening Fort Worth Tenants
If you want to avoid vacancy costs, make sure you do a good job of screening tenants. When you don’t screen your tenants well, you run the risk of approving renters who will stop paying rent or damage the home. Then, you’ll have to evict. Those eviction costs will be unpleasant, and you’ll be left with an empty home.
Develop a screening process that allows you to consistently and efficiently check a tenant’s criminal history, credit report, landlord references, and employment. You’ll want to verify income and ensure you’re getting good references from current or former landlords. Once a tenant is approved, don’t waste time. Ask for the security deposit and get that lease signed.
Retaining Your Best Fort Worth 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 for tenant retention:
- Pay attention to maintenance, especially when tenants make a repair request. The number one reason that tenants neglect to renew their leases is that maintenance is handled poorly. Make sure you’re the landlord who responds quickly and thoroughly to maintenance needs. This shows the tenants you care about their happiness, and it also protects the value of your home.
- Resolve disputes and communicate openly. Tenants and landlords won’t always see eye-to-eye, but if you keep the lines of communication open, you’ll have a much better relationship. Be willing to listen to your tenants, and express an interest in making their rental experience even better. The tenant is your customer, and you want to provide customer service.
- Explain the lease and all of its requirements. A tenant who doesn’t understand the lease or your expectations cannot be expected to read your mind. Before your tenant moves in, go over the lease in detail. Tenants will stay in place longer when they have landlords who are easy to talk to. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask you questions or request help.
- Be smart with rent increases. 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.
Finding a new tenant is expensive, 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 Fort Worth property management or you have any questions, please contact us at Specialized Property Management.