1. They Can’t See Past the Listing
Property listings are vital to filling vacancies. Renters look at all different websites, including your own, to find available apartments and homes to rent. But a bad listing can turn away prospective renters before they even give your property a chance. Most listing pages are overloaded with properties, so it’s important to make sure your listings stand out from the rest. Consider how changing one or two things could set apart your listing to get a unit rented that much faster. Ask yourself: Do I have quality photos? Do I include a good description, amenities, availability date, and a pet policy?
Are you geared up for mobile? With 80% of internet users browsing the web on their smartphones, it’s important to also give them the opportunity to interact with their property manager on their mobile devices. Check out your website on several different devices to see how it really looks. If it’s hard to read and navigate or some of the pages don’t load correctly, it’s time for some immediate changes. You can do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you; just don’t ignore the problems. More people use mobile devices than ever before, and the trend will only continue to grow. In fact, recent Google results changes now lower the search rankings for websites that are not mobile-friendly. Make it as easy as possible for renters to find you from their preferred devices.
3. Renters Expect to Apply Online, But Can’t
Your property can rent much faster when you let people apply online. Often, prospects might not even consider a property if they can’t apply directly on your website. Rather than forcing prospective renters to print an application, fill it out by hand, and drop it o during business hours (when it may be inconvenient for them), let them fill out everything through a secure online form. Renters can apply at any time, from any mobile device.
4. Your Property Looks Like the Set of the Brady Bunch
You don’t need brand-new fixtures or appliances every year, but you do need to make sure the property is updated on a fairly regular basis. If it’s been a decade—or 3—since you last updated the property, it could be a major reason renters aren’t interested. Wood paneling? Eek. Popcorn ceilings? Ack. Yellow flower wallpaper? “No thanks,” says the modern renter. It’s especially true if your rates are similar to your competition across the street with freshly renovated kitchens.
Not all updates are just for aesthetic’s sake; some of the older designs, like open staircases, aren’t kid-safe—a major turnoff to prospective renters with current families or kids in their 5-year plans. Owners often don’t want to invest more money into their properties because it cuts into their profits, but a few small and essential updates can make a big difference in the number of people interested in renting your property.
Paying rent online is more common today, as more Millennials without checkbooks enter the rental market. For renters who work full-time or potentially also have family and school obligations, remembering to drop o a rent check or put it in the mail on time can be problematic. Renters who pay online, however, don’t have to worry about any of these pesky things—instead paying rent with a few mouse clicks or straight from their mobile devices. It’s easy and convenient and can entice potential renters to lease from you if they see the convenient option advertised on your website.
6. Maintenance Requests Disappear into a Black Hole
How long does it take you to resolve a maintenance request after a renter’s submission? If these requests go unanswered for days, especially for important or serious issues, you may find renters moving out at the end of their lease. They’ll also likely spread word about the problem in person and on review websites. With that in mind, failing to address requests in a timely manner can really drain your potential pool of renters. It may not be possible to fix everything the day it’s requested, but communicating with your renters and letting them know expected time-frames can go a long way. Consider an online platform that will enable your residents to see when they can expect their requests to be completed in real time. Even if a maintenance request can’t be completed immediately, transparency can go a long way in making your renters happier with their current living situations
7. Renters Don’t Get Any Perks
You need to make money on your properties, of course. Still, renters need to feel like they’re getting a good deal, too, or they’ll choose another property when lease renewal time rolls around. One of the best ways to help renters choose your property the first time—and the next—is to offer some thoughtful perks. This could be anything used to get renters in the door and into your properties, such as allowing pets, paying for utilities, providing an appealing common area, offering discounts, or giving away gift cards. Just be sure the perks aren’t going to add up so much that you’ll actually lose money on the rental properties you have available!
Making a few small changes can mean the difference between renter retention and struggling with vacancies. It’s well worth considering, especially in rental markets where the competition is high and potential renters have a lot of options to choose from. As always, trust the local leader in property management, Real Property Management Rental Direction for everything leasing.