(Updated September 7, 2020)
There are questions that prospective clients ask over and over.
One of those is how long it takes to lease out a rental property.
The thing is, it’s a really important question.
The length of time it takes to lease out properties is hugely important.
One of the most important things an OKC property management company does is to quickly lease properties.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure why this is so important.
When your property is not leased out, it’s not making any money.
So I decided to start carefully measuring the length of time it takes my company to get properties leased.
An amazing thing happens when you measure something.
You suddenly become much more aware of anything that effects the thing you are measuring.
What I found was surprising.
The average time to get them leased was 22 days of all the properties that we have made ready in the last 50 days from the writing of this article.
The even more surprising thing is that this really the slowest time of the year to lease properties.
However, we completed 15 leases during December, typically the the slowest time of year.
How you can quickly lease your rental property
Here’s a quick list of some of the things we do to lease out properties.
#1. Good old fashioned hard work.
Get your rental property listed on the on-line sites for listing rental properties, such as www.trulia.com, www.zillow.com, and/or www.gosection8.com. There are other out there, but this is a good start.
OK. So now you have your rental property listed for lease. That’s the easy part. The real work is following up with the leads that come in. Someone’s got to do it. Arrange for showings. Answer questions on the phone about the property. Encourage people to submit applications. Make the hard decision to turn down an applicant when you know that’s the right thing to do.
Answers phones. Return emails and text messages. Communication is the key.
And that means in a timely manner. Within 24 hours, which is our company policy. One of the reasons to hire a property management company is that it’s there job to be responsive. When you have a million other things to do, sometimes it’s nice to farm out stuff like this.
#3. By making it easy for people to see our properties.
Show the property when prospective tenants have time to see properties, which is when they are not working (nights and weekends).
We also have an automated system called Tenant Turner which automates making appointments and following up before showings with the tenants who are supposed to show up. If you don’t have a tool like this, you are losing traction with prospective tenants.
#4. Getting Partner Agencies Involved.
We have deep relationships with agencies who are always looking to place tenants, such as programs for homeless veterans. We also have relationships with Section 8 (Oklahoma City Housing Authority and Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency), the Homeless Alliance, Goodwill, and Hope Community Services. This is a rich source of tenants for us.
#5. Making Irresistible Offers.
Offering move-in specials for properties that are moving slowly. This is particularly effective because our tenants love getting good deals. It’s totally worth it to knock a bit off the first month of rent to move in a good tenant much quicker than you would have otherwise.
#6 Monitor Response to the Rental Property.
Carefully monitoring the response from each property. If the response is less than expected, it’s almost always because there is something wrong. We either need to adjust the advertisement or the rent and/or deposit.
Another benefit of our automated system is that it automatically tracks the number of interested parties in the properties, showings, etc. It’s very important to monitor these figures every week to make sure we’re on track.
#7. Start Advertising as soon as You Know You will have a Vacancy.
The minute you know you are going to have a vacancy come up, start advertising.
When we get a 30-day notice to quit from a tenant, we don’t wait for the keys to start advertising. If we play our cards right, sometimes we can limit the vacancy time to a week or two. Another benefit of our automated system is that it keeps a waiting list of people if we aren’t ready to show it just yet. That way, as soon as we are ready to show it, we have a list of people waiting so see it.
You need to be proactive. Vacancy is expensive.
#8. Take Excellent Photographs of the Property.
To make your property stand out, you need to have nice photographs. This is especially true for higher priced properties right now because of all the competition in that space.
We make certain that the properties are ready to go when we start showing them. That means all the work is done. That means the property has been professionally cleaned. It makes a big difference to our prospective tenants.
#9. Make it easy for Prospective Tenants to Apply.
What if the tenant likes what they see after they have viewed your property? You need to make it easy for them to provide their information.
We make it easy for our customers to apply as they do it all on line. That’s right, every last detail can be done in the privacy of their own home. That way, they aren’t waiting on us for this or that. They can view a property after work and have their application and all supporting document submitted before we are back to work the next morning.