How to Fill Vacancies Faster and Streamline Unit Turnovers
Updated: Jan 11
Once a property is vacated, the clock starts ticking and the losses start to pile up. Over time, losses due to unit vacancies can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It's true that turnover rates aren't entirely in your control, as they are mostly due to trends related to employment, renter mobility, and changes in demographics. But as a property manager, you can take certain steps to minimize the time a property spends each year in vacancies.
Start by pivoting your manual processes to automated, digitalized versions to make things easier.
When a property gets vacated, waste no time in listing it online. This makes sense because most prospective renters will search for a property by searching for it online. Your goal is to get your client's property listed on relevant platforms and make a good first impression. Keep in mind that things such as low-quality photographs and incomplete information will drive renters away from your property to look for someplace else.
Here are four tips to fill vacancies quickly.
In ideal circumstances, your tenant will give you a one-month notice that they are moving out. This gives you about a month to begin marketing the property to find a new tenant. The longer your unit sits, the more your losses will accrue. Worse still is the fact that you'll still have to pay the bills.
Make sure your current tenant knows they can show the rental property to prospective tenants over the next 30 days. This should be easier to do if your current tenant left without giving you much notice. Either way, it is important to take action right away and get the unit filled as soon as possible.
Pro tip: Before listing your vacant unit for rent, make sure that the unit is priced right and reflects competitive rates in your area.
Optimize Your Rental Ads
It goes without saying that your rental ads need to be optimized to attract a large number of prospects. Draft a short, but convincing blurb for your rental ad.
Make sure that you explain all the basics of the property, such as rental price, square footage, rooms, utilities, location, and your pet policy (if any).
Remember to add high-quality photos that represent your rental unit accurately. Prospective tenants will not appreciate low-quality pictures and will make a run for the hills. If you're not good with photography, it would be wise to find someone who can help you.
Streamline Work Orders
Use software to streamline and automate manual work orders and enable recurring invoices for things such as move-out inspections. You can also set up tasks such as painting and carpet cleaning automatically. With the help of work order apps, you can also generate invoices, so it's easier to pass on the charges to property owners. For example, if a tenant breaks something, you can create a work order to get it fixed and charge the tenants. All of this can be done with a few clicks.
Use Data Analytics to Minimize Vacant Days
If you've been using data analytics, you may have information about days throughout the year when your unit sits vacant. This can allow you to cut down on the days your property sits vacant by staggering your lease expirations for multi-home complexes.
As a property manager, it pays to put procedures that measure the time it takes to turn a unit and decrease vacancy loss. This will help avoid owners from simply throwing money into an empty unit.
Most property managers simply sign one-year leases regardless of the end date. They do this to make their workload easier - but doing so comes at the cost of the investor.
The main goal of staggering leases is to minimize turnover costs that are commonly associated with vacancy costs.
You can use the above tips to turn units faster and implement modern solutions to manage costs associated with turnover by automating work orders for maintenance techs.