Vacancies equal financial loss -- there's just no way around it. You're not bringing in rent. You're stuck paying the mortgage, bills, and utilities. You even have to take care of the property yourself -- and that's not cheap either.
Unfortunately, vacancies are sometimes unavoidable. And in today's economic climate? You might find yourself facing more of them than normal.
Are you expecting a vacancy in the coming months? Trying to fill a unit now? Consider running one of these specials to pique renter interest and get those new tenants in the door:
1. Waive your application fee
Often, just an application fee or credit check fee can be a turnoff to a renter, especially if they're facing financial difficulty. You might think about waiving certain upfront fees for renters willing to fast-track their move-in if approved. At the very least, consider lowering your application fee below that of your competitors.
2. Reduce your rent
Reducing your rent might not sound ideal, but if it's in exchange for a longer-term lease (maybe 18 months or two years), it could be worth it in the long run. Think of it this way: Lowering your rent from $1,100 to $1,075 would reduce your proceeds by $300 per year. But, if that lower rate comes with a two-year lease, it could also cut out at least a month or two of vacancies -- maybe even more. Considering a vacant month would cost you $1,100 at your normal rate, $300 is much better for your bottom line.
If you go this route, just make sure you're extra careful when choosing a tenant. You don't want to get stuck with a bad renter on an extended-term lease.
3. Throw in the first month for free
Similarly, throwing in a free month's rent can also be a smart move. This is best used when the tenant would be moving in mid-month, paying a prorated rent anyway. It means the same loss as a month's vacancy, but it also looks super attractive when advertising your rental. If there's a lot of competition or you're worried about months-long vacancies, it might be your best path forward.
4. Offer an upgrade
There are lots of places you can take this one. Throw in a washer-dryer or fridge, roll in a utility bill, or add an extra parking space. You could even just include a gift card to Home Depot (NYSE: HD) or Walmart (NYSE: WMT) -- somewhere the tenant can get home furnishings or decor.
These might not seem like huge offerings on paper, but if you're up against other properties that don't offer these -- or worse, charge handily for them -- it could put you ahead of the pack.
The bottom line
You don't have to take vacancies lying down. Running a move-in special can be a great way to get attention as well as reduce your vacancies and the costs that come with them. You can also try these rental advertising strategies on for size.