Thursday October 19th 2017

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101 Renting and Rental Property Tips

Sometimes we need ideas to get started with items in life.  This list is meant to provide 101 “ideas” and stuff to check out to get the creative juices rolling.  Most are pure real estate points to think about.  A few are simple ideas that I believe help get things moving in life.  So here we go:

  1. Loopnet is the largest online brokerage in the United States.  You can find 100s or even thousands of deals there.
  2. Over 50% of leases originate online.  To really  capitalize, you need a rental website.
  3. 50% of new households formed over the next decade will be rentals based on current U.S. Census Bureau data.
  4. Focus landscaping and grounds efforts on the entrance to improve rental prospect traffic.
  5. If you have onsite staff, locate them away from the best areas and in the areas that tend the struggle more, the area will improve immediately with only  modest costs.
  6. Rental insurance is a great way to gain incremental income.
  7. Large pet policies can increase rental traffic and income if managed correctly.
  8. Pay attention to the condition, visibility and readability of your outdoor property signs.  40% of business traffic begins with a good sign.
  9. The state Department of Transportation can normally provide traffic data on major streets.  Knowing the traffic tells a great deal about how the property will perform.
  10. Have a common dress code for property staff to improve new resident impressions.
  11. Your leasing manager should be from a similar social demographic group with your target rental traffic.  If not, leasing will be damaged.
  12. Follow up all electronic contact within one hour to dramatically improve your prospect close rates.
  13. 20% of prospects look for apartments and rental homes over the weekend.  Do you have a plan to meet this shopping pattern?
  14. Online  prospects fail to continue to be interested in your property over 80% of the time after the first hour.  Do you have a plan to ensure a positive response before the second hour?
  15. 36% of new heads of households for the next decade will be Hispanic.  Do you offer Spanish speaking access and documents?  Your occupancy could depend on this.
  16. Immigrant households will account for 82% of U.S. population growth for the next 40 years.  These households will have a disproportionate number of children.  Marketing focused  on this fact  will have an advantage.
  17. Urban rentals are favored by 77% of Gen Y (approximately 75,000,000 emerging renters).
  18. Baby boomers are entering a prime renting period based on age.  Do you have a senior renting strategy?
  19. Offer an energy saver gift basket to new renters moving in.  Include  energy saving light bulbs, weatherstripping, and other items they can use immediately to cut utility bills.
  20. Craigslist is statistically  the source of over 14% of new leases.
  21. Posting Craigslist ads late in the day improves their effectiveness.
  22. Posting Craigslist ads on Saturday night is the most effective posting time of the  week.
  23. Most rentals occur on Monday and the volume trails down over the course of the  week according to available statistics.
  24. Almost half of rental prospects are identified between 5:00pm and 9:00am.  What is your after hours plan.
  25. The National Multifamily Housing Council offers great apartment housing statistics.
  26. Harvard’s Center for Joint Housing Studies is one of the very best sources of housing trend information and analysis.
  27. The U.S. Census Bureau offers population, demographic, housing, and other statistics for free.
  28. Local signage can boost rental traffic significantly.  Look for locations where a small low cost can be placed on heavily trafficked areas.
  29. Great management makes for great renting.  Managing yourself may not provide the results you are pursuing.  Consider a strong strategic  management partner so you can focus on investment development and leave renting to them.
  30. Amenities can rent units.  Often amenities can be added at a low cost and increase traffic.
  31. Offer roommate rentals.  With echo boomers leaving home and babyboomers aging this could be a significant opportunity  that offers a higher margin.
  32. Offer partially furnished units at a much lower cost than corporate units.  You may  encounter surprising demand.
  33. Spread flyers at local businesses focused on your demographic.
  34. In some markets cable advertising can be an effective occupancy booster.
  35. Billboards will give a tremendous lift to properties with  right proximity to signage.
  36. Consider signs at local sports venues.
  37. Partner with the PTA and focus on teachers.
  38. Develop a strong referral program that rewards residents for bringing new renters.
  39. Temporary directional signage is a proven traffic booster.
  40. A model unit will boost your close rate and traffic if it is prepared and advertised correctly.
  41. Pay per  click advertising used correctly can dramatically increase rentership.
  42. Some properties have successfully created a web advertising campaign using blogging and other SEO tactics to increase rentership.
  43. Improving energy efficiency and showing low utility costs can increase traffic and renting success.
  44. Offering a carpet cleaning or an upgrade can increase resident retention.
  45. Creating an active social environment for a multiunit complex will increase demand and reduce  attrition.
  46. Easy access to large employment centers improves a property’s marketability  for renting and for selling.
  47. Avoid properties with significant neighborhood issues.  These can be very difficult to reverse.
  48. Renters tend to avoid Gas heating and cooking.  Avoid the properties or change to electric ASAP.
  49. Having good schools within walking distance can be an occupancy booster.
  50. Renters prefer fewer bills.  If you can offer a bill consolidation approach, this can sometimes rent units.
  51. Change property paid water and gas to individually metered billing to increase revenue.
  52. MOBILE homes can be an excellent rental investment.  Investors who learn to focus on reliable profit  rather  than  “status” purchases often make larger profits.
  53. Consider converting an occupied basement to paid storage.
  54. Consider adding storage modules on pads on available properties.
  55. Add move out  cleaning services for more revenue.
  56. Conduct preventive maintenance in occupied units to  encourage better unit condition and to reduce maintenance costs.
  57. Consider long life odor absorbing carpet to reduce carpet costs.
  58. Install tile or linoleum in high traffic areas like hallways  and doorways to reduce  carpet wear and tear.
  59. Consider renting sign space  to other businesses for more revenue along traffic areas.
  60. Add local business advertisements in high visibility areas such as the pool or office for more revenue.
  61. Add a local business welcome pack advertising basket for new residents to earn new income.
  62. Set  up employer partnerships and government employ discounts for more traffic.
  63. Join the Chamber of Commerce to gain access to contractor and temporary housing opportunities.
  64. Keep tabs on other properties rental promotions weekly  to avoid being left behind by new advertising ploys.
  65. Follow recent sales on Loopnet to keep tabs on market value.
  66. Follow potential purchase opportunities by ensuring you are on the distribution of all the local commercial brokers.
  67. Keep management costs down with time of day staffing  adjusted to rental volume and resident needs.
  68. Go slow renting.  Take more time checking references, etc.  and you will have slower renter turnover.
  69. Spend more time with prospects looking very  early.  Statistically, these renters will be much longer  term residents.
  70. Offer long term contracts to attract  longer term residents.  This  reduces turnover and  increases profitability.
  71. Focus capital improvements on preservation and value  enhancement over time.
  72. Water efficient shower heads can significantly reduce water costs.
  73. AC maintenance certification of the maintenance staff can dramatically reduce contractor  costs.
  74. Regular leasing training can dramatically improve customer service and leasing performance.
  75. Repost Craigslist ads every 72 hours (3 days) for maximum effectiveness and to adhere to site guidelines.
  76. Better yet post Craigslist adds twice weekly on Saturday night and on Tuesday night for minimum effort and maximum effectiveness.
  77. Don’t use fancy ads on Craigslist.   Basic performs better.
  78. Include a standard (but basic) format on Craigslist ads that include unit details, good photos, directions, amenities, some useful community information for best results.
  79. On your property website include information about the community, schools, shopping, etc.  Help renters confirm that this is the home for them.
  80. Great apartment website should include an online application.  The closer you can bring the prospect to renting the better.
  81. PDF applications do NOT work online.  Online applications should be interactive.
  82. Ads should include a link to your online application.
  83. Rental websites should allow the prospect to set up  an appointment if they are not ready to apply.
  84. Good resident background checks prevent evictions later.
  85. Good billing follow up that prevents rents from becoming very late avoids evictions later.
  86. Checking rent references is a great way to assure high quality revenue.
  87. Payment plans must consider ability to pay.  If the resident doesn’t have the ability to pay, you  should evict.
  88. Property signage on vehicles is effective low cost advertising.
  89. Radio can be effective advertising when coupled with events.  Typically, radio is not effective on an ongoing basis.
  90. Knowledge economies will have higher growth rates than other areas over the next decade.
  91. Fresh  cookings, neutral but positive scents, and other touches in the office increase rental success.
  92. Text access to your  property can increase traffic for renting.
  93. If your property has very good cell phone coverage you may want to consider using a cell phone rather than an office phone to cut cost and improve property performance.
  94. Out of hours email and text coverage can increase rental performance.
  95. The same rule that applies to online contact applies to voice mail messages.  Respond within one hour and positive rental results are much greater – as high as 90%
  96. Leasing is a matter of relationship.  Leasing staff that effectively creates a sense of community / family with  prospects rent more units.
  97. Onsite staff should not become personally  involved with residents.  The loss of objectivity can create revenue and behavioral risks.
  98. Ensure property offices are clearly  marked with signage and easy to find.  Avoid properties that don’t offer this.
  99. The ILS sites are very effective producing traffic for apartment communities.  ILS stands for Internet Listing Service and includes sites like Apartment Finder, or MyNewPlace.
  100. Have your leasing agreement translated into Spanish.  Also, translate page 1 of your homepage to Spanish.  This goes a long way toward renting to this demographic.
  101. Follow our blog posts and join our investment club here for more great ideas like these – www.irreia.org.

Enjoy,

Blake Ratcliff

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