by Brett Furniss
As homes for sale sit and rentals continue to gain prominence in the residential real estate market across the country, concerned owners are wondering how to best fill their rental properties quickly. So are property managers.
“Everyday my house is empty costs me money! Besides the mortgage payment, it’s the other things that are absolutely killing me- utilities with this unusually cold and snowy winter, HOA dues rising, you name it. I need someone renting (or buying) my home!” is a common lament from homeowners with a vacant home on the market.
As a real estate investor and property manager in Charlotte, I feel your pain. I don’t like vacancies anymore than you. But there is a simple way to make your home attractive. And it addresses the most heard complaint, by far, that I hear about houses and why prospective tenants pass on them. And just what is this revelatory nugget?
Cleanliness. That’s it. Houses are typically not clean. Actually, it’s not that they are not clean technically. It’s that they are not clean enough. Prospective tenants want to see sparkle. They want to see their unblemished reflections coming off of stainless steel. They want to be able to eat off the floors. They want to lap cool spring water out of the toilets (well, I may be pushing it now…). The point is that they really like the houses to be much cleaner than they would normally keep them.
Recently, we switched to a different cleaning service that was more expensive. I would never think of adding expenses to our owner clients (especially in this economy), but I felt that our homes were not standing out as the rental market continued to get more and more crowded.
And it worked. I noticed our rate of conversions of visits to completed applications went up dramatically. This has gone on for months. Thorough, deep-cleaning was more effective than lowering the rental price. This has been especially effective for our rent-to-sell program where people want to fall in love with the house they are potentially buying.
I would challenge you to give it a try. When a house has been on the market for a while and has been getting visits (but no completed applications), resist the urge to lower the price and just pay the dollars to give the rental home a thorough scrubbing (or do it yourself, though I recommend professionals). See if it works!
Cleanliness is next to godliness, the saying goes. Reap the benefits of a shorter courting period with prospective tenants!
Brett Furniss is the President & Owner of BDF Realty (“Charlotte’s Most Innovative Property Management & Investment Company”), and Rent-To-Sell Realty (“When You Need a New Solution to Sell Your Home”) which specialize in rent-to-own (lease options) and rent-to-sell homes. His newest book, A Real Estate Agent’s Complete Guide to Representing Rent-To-Own (Lease Option) Tenants (Delight Clients, Fill Vacant Homes, and Earn $2,250* Upfront! (*Minimum!)
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