9 Great Ways to Find Tenants for Your Rental
Where to Advertise Your Vacancy
If you want to find tenants quickly for your rental, prospective tenants need to be able to find you. Learn five popular methods to fill a vacancy, as well as four tried and true methods.
5 Popular Methods for Finding Tenants
The following are five of the most popular ways to find tenants for your rental property. The goal of these methods is to reach the most people possible to find a tenant quickly.
1. Find Tenants on Rental Websites
The internet is a great way to reach the masses. Sites such as Craigslist and Trulia allow you to post a free listing for your rental. These listings are then visible to anyone with internet access who is looking for an apartment in your area. The prospective tenant is able to further narrow the search criteria based on rental price, or number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you are interested in accepting government subsidized housing, including Section-8, sites such as Socialserve.com can help you reach this market. If you have your own website, you must also make sure to list the property there and be sure to reference your website URL in your other ads.
2. Use Social Media to Find Tenants
Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a company, you should create a Facebook page, Instagram account and a Twitter account for it. If not, you can use your personal accounts to let people know you have a property for rent. You can list your property on Facebook.com’s marketplace, post a status update on your account, post a photo of the rental on Instagram or send out a tweet to your followers via Twitter.
For their services, brokers typically charge a commission of about one month’s rent, sometimes more. You may want to interview two or more realtors to find the one you are most comfortable listing your rental with.
While this may be the most expensive way to advertise your property, it can save you a lot of the hassle and headache of dealing with prospective tenants. Your property will also be listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which will increase exposure.
4. Find Tenants by Offering Incentives
People like the idea of getting a deal or a discount. You can offer a free TV or a discounted rent if a tenant moves in by a certain date. A $250 television may seem expensive, but if you’re charging $950 in rent, and the TV gets someone to move in a month earlier, you are actually saving yourself $700, and as an added bonus, the television will be a tax write-off for the rental property.
5. Respond Quickly to Prospective Tenants
You need to respond to prospective tenants immediately. If you don’t call or email a tenant back promptly, another landlord or realtor will.
If you do not want to give out your personal phone number, you can set up a free Google Voice account which will assign you a new phone number that can be set to ring to your existing phone lines. For a small monthly fee, you can even set up a toll free number, including voicemail, for your rentals using websites such as Kall8.com. Similar options exist for email.
4 Tried and True Methods for Finding Tenants
The following are four time-tested methods to find tenants to fill your vacancy. These methods do not aim at reaching the masses. Rather, the goal of these four approaches is to narrow in on prospective tenants who are more likely to be interested in living in the specific area where your rental property is located.
1. Find Tenants in the Newspaper
Some prospective tenants still look for rental properties in the newspaper. Advertise your vacancy on the weekend, and in particular, on Sunday, because this is when newspapers see the most traffic.
Rental ads in newspapers are tiny, so you will only have a few lines to make your property stand out. Use abbreviations for words like bedroom (BR) and washer/dryer (W/D) to save space. Placing an ad in the newspaper will cost money, but it is another way to increase exposure for your property.
2. Advertise on Local Bulletin Boards
Put up flyers for your rental in the community where your property is located. This can include bulletin boards at colleges, grocery stores, churches, Laundromats, and bus stops.
Since people will be passing by the flyer quickly, use a bold headline and large, color photographs to draw interest to the flyer. On the bottom of the flyer, include tear-offs for people to take. These tear-offs should include the property address, the number of bedrooms and your contact information.
Don’t underestimate the power of the spoken word. If you have current tenants, let them know you have a vacancy. They may have a sister, cousin, or brother who is looking for a new place to live.
Also, tell your brother, sister, hairdresser, boss, and mechanic that you have a property for rent. Always have flyers with you so you can hand them out when needed. You can even offer a referral fee to give a greater incentive.
4. Place a ‘For Rent’ Sign in the Window
While you won’t reach the masses by placing a “For Rent” sign in the window, there is no harm in doing it either. A passerby may be interested or may know someone who is looking to rent in the area. Make sure a phone number can be clearly read from street level.