If your Portland rental property isn’t getting the attention from tenants you had hoped it would, you’ll want to be flexible with your marketing and leasing strategies. The longer your home is vacant, the more money you’re losing.
The market in Portland right now is pretty hot. There’s a high demand for rental property, and tenants are competing with each other to grab the best rental homes available. This creates an ideal situation for landlords, and if you have a well-maintained home that’s priced right, you should not have much of a problem renting out your property quickly.
Unless you’re making one of these common mistakes.
Usually, one of five things is causing your property not to rent. Either it’s priced incorrectly, the condition is turning away tenants, or it’s not being marketed well. Maybe you’re slow to respond to tenants when they request a showing. If you’re not allowing pets, you might find the property is vacant longer.
We are sharing the five most common reasons that a property doesn’t rent. If you’re having trouble with your own rental, evaluate whether you can fix the problem. If you’re still baffled because you don’t recognize any of these problems in your own rental home, consult a Portland property manager. Yours may be a special case.
1. Incorrect Portland Rental Price
The first place to look?
Rental values are high. You’re going to earn an impressive rent on the property you’re listing. But, don’t go overboard. Don’t get greedy. Tenants understand what your home is worth.
A property won’t rent unless it’s priced correctly. Maybe you’ve priced it according to what you think the home is worth or the amount that you need to cover your own monthly mortgage payment and expenses. Sometimes, owners will look at rental prices on sites like Craigslist or Zillow. Those can help, but you need reliable data in order to accurately price your home.
You can always start with a high price just to see if you get any interest. But, that’s a risky strategy. Tenants are smart, and they know what they’re willing to pay. The market drives the price, not your own inclinations. Improper pricing will leave your home unoccupied.
Re-evaluate the data you gathered to establish a rental value. Take a look at the current market and what similar homes have recently been rented for in your area. While no one wants to price their property for less than they should, an extended vacancy can be more expensive in the long term than coming down on your rent by $50 or even $100 per month.
Establish a competitive price, and great tenants will scramble for an opportunity to rent your home.
If you’re not sure what to price your property for, try talking to a professional property manager for a competitive market analysis. Vacancies cost money, and you can avoid them by pricing your property correctly.
2. Unimpressive Property Condition
If you’re comfortable that the property is priced correctly, turn your critical eye to its condition. When prospective tenants schedule showings but don’t submit applications, it’s usually because they decided against the property while they were there. Something about the rental home is not appealing, and it’s turning them off.
So, you’ll have to ask yourself: Is your home well-maintained? Does it show as a welcoming and attractive space?
It’s not a bad idea to make a few updates and upgrades before you list the property and start showing it. You don’t have to renovate the entire home, but a few cosmetic changes can breathe new life into a property and attract the kind of attention you want.
Here are some opportunities for cost-effective upgrades:
Apply new paint and consider installing new floors. A fresh coat of paint can make the entire house feel brand new. If the carpet is worn and old, tear it up and consider some low-maintenance flooring like vinyl or laminate hardwood.
Small changes like better exterior lighting and new shiny drawer pulls or cabinet knobs can also make the house look more modern.
Always make sure the home is clean.
Create some curb appeal so prospective tenants who walk or drive past the property will want to go inside and have a look around.
Spending a little money to update and improve the home is worth the investment. You’ll be able to attract better tenants and you’ll get them in place quickly. Take a look at small repairs you can make.
3. Insufficient and Ineffective Marketing
Are you marketing your rental property aggressively enough?
Marketing has to be a priority, otherwise, you won’t have enough tenants knowing that you even have a home to rent.
Good marketing starts with great photos. You need a terrific description to join those photos. And, you need to be on every popular rental website that tenants are using.
If you’re posting a sign and maybe a Craigslist ad but little else, you probably won’t attract the kind of attention you want. Take some really great marketing photos and create a listing that you can use to advertise online. The pictures are important; those are the first things tenants will look at.
Make sure they show your property in the best light and write an engaging description that really sells the home. Include pertinent information like rental amount, whether pets are allowed, and how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. Don’t forget your contact information.
Use social media as well. This can be a powerful tool in your marketing strategy. You can post your own listing and you can also encourage friends and contacts to share it with their networks. This will get more eyes on your available rental property.
4. Late Responses to Tenants
Responsiveness also matters. If you’re not answering the phone when tenants call and you cannot be available to show the home when they want to see it, you’ll have a hard time renting the property out. If you cannot process applications within a day or two, tenants will lose interest. This is a competitive market, and you can easily lose good tenants to other properties.
Put together a plan for responding to interested tenants. You should be:
Answering the phone when they call, or returning their calls on the same day that they reach out.
Responding to emails or text messages. Answer questions and invite them to schedule a showing.
Providing easy, clear instructions on what’s required to see the property.
Sharing qualifying rental criteria.
Conducting a bit of pre-screening. Ask them why they’re moving, how many people will be moving into the property, and when they’d like to move.
Are you allowing self-showings? This can often help you lease a home faster. If you’re having trouble settling on a date and time that you can both attend a showing, you’ll likely lose that prospective tenant. Install a lockbox or a digital keypad on your door. This will allow tenants to see the home on their own time when it’s convenient for them. You have a serious chance to cut your vacancy time dramatically when tenants can come and go on their own.
5. You’re Not Allowing Pets
Pets are a big part of why you may not be renting your home as quickly as you’d like. Take a look at any study that’s been conducted around this topic, and you’ll learn that more than half of the residents in Portland have at least one pet. People want to move into their new homes with their furry family members. So, if you’re not allowing that, you’ll have a dramatically smaller tenant pool to work with right away.
Don’t limit yourself. Allow pets or at least be willing to consider pets. This will open you up to more interest from tenants. You’ll rent your property faster.
If your home is not renting in Portland, it may be due to your pet policy. If you’re nervous about allowing pets into your property, we get it. They can be a nuisance. They can make messes and leave damage behind. That’s why you put together a solid pet policy that covers pet fees, restricted breeds, and other requirements around the pets who are moving in with your tenants. It protects you and your investment without damaging your ability to attract residents quickly.
These are the five reasons that we often believe homes don’t rent quickly in the Portland rental market. We can tell you this: working with a property manager will shorten your vacancy time. You’ll find that you locate and place a great tenant quickly, you maximize what you earn on your investment property, and you enjoy an easy, stress-free leasing and management process.
Stop trying to rent out your property on your own. Instead, leverage the expertise and resources of a Portland property management expert. This leads to much better outcomes. If you’d like some help, please contact us at PropM, Inc. We are here for you 365 days a year and seven days a week (one of the reasons we lease homes so quickly).