First month free. Free TV with purchase. Don’t Pay until…
You see these types of discounts in ads everywhere these days. You also see these types of businesses that promote like this come and go and there’s a reason.1 They trade in commodities.
Commodities are items that have little value and are typically traded or bought for the lowest cost. Trading in commodities is not good business for the simple reason that you are tied into the lowest price. The lowest price doesn’t give you margin for error or more importantly for profits.
As a landlord, if you start offering discounts on rents to attract tenants, you’re turning your property into a commodity rather than a valuable asset. Yes, you have to be competitive, you can’t price yourself out of the market, but as a long term strategy, you want to be a leader rather than following the pack off the cliff.
Discounts are the easy way out and once you start offering them, they become expected. If you’re a retail store, maybe that’s to be expected, but to really succeed you don’t want to be the next Walmart or Target, set your sights higher and become a premium brand.
If you’re following some of my systems and tips, you know it’s important to be a professional and to treat your landlording like a business. If you become an educated landlord, one of the areas you need to look at is the condition of your properties and how they appear to prospective tenants.
We learned a long long time ago that if you spend a little extra initially to get the property better than your competitors it pays you back in increased rent, longer staying tenants and tenants that take better care of your properties. And here’s why..
The Argument For Increased Rent
If you do any tours of competing properties, even if this just involves reviewing other ads and photos of properties in your area, they all tend to be the same. Picture of the kitchen, picture of a bedroom, picture of a living room and some bad writing offering a price and maybe a few details.
Occasionally though, a few stand out. Usually they’re priced higher, the pictures look more professional, and the advertising copy looks polished. You want to be the landlord who is renting out that property for several reasons.
By looking more professional and by charging higher rent, you’re automatically going to push many of the less desirable tenants away. If they have a poor track record of paying rent, they understand a professional landlord will be screening them more thoroughly and they won’t even qualify. If the rent is higher, they understand they won’t be able to afford it and they will be cash strapped. And if the advertising copy comes off as professional it will also help to discourage them from even inquiring.
You move from quantity to quality and what you are looking for is quality tenants.
If you ever rented (I rented for years until my wife and I could afford our first house), you probably looked at a lot of properties before you found the right one. We personally couldn’t believe the condition of some of the properties that landlords thought were rentable. I still hear this from tenants when I question them how their search for a rental is going.
Once you did find the right one though, you had to have it. And it didn’t matter if it was an extra $100 a month, it stood out in your mind over the previous properties and it became even more valuable in your view point. This is the type of property you want and the mindset you want to instill in tenants that view your property.
Now, to get to this level, you may have to spend a few extra thousand dollars initially for extra renovations or updates, but this not only helps increase the overall value of your property, but that extra $75 per month, or perhaps $200 per month of extra income in a great property, sure helps increase your cash flow.
The Bonus’s of Better Properties
The extra cash flow isn’t the only bonus. If you have a better property, tenants tend to stay longer because it is such a great place to live. They actually become much more hesitant to leave as they don’t want to give up a great property.
This translates into less tenant turnover and longer periods between vacancies. Which simply means more money going into your bank account for longer periods of time and that helps ensure you continue to be a successful landlord.
These tenants that are also willing to pay extra to live in this great property, also tend to take better care of it. If they truly take pride in where they live, they want to make sure it looks great and they keep it that way. You’ll end up with fewer repairs after tenants vacate, less work for when the turnover eventually takes place and if there are any issues with the property like leaky taps, these types of tenants will let you know immediately, rather than finding out after repairs become more expensive.
Unfortunately I can’t guarantee every tenant will be a success using this strategy, but in combination with other strategies, it sets you up for success.
So let’s recap some of the strategies that can help make this work for you.
Buy rental properties in rental heavy neighborhoods. This gives you a much larger tenant base to choose from. You start with quantity and narrow it down to quality.
Renovate your properties to help them stand out from competitors. This makes your properties memorable and helps you receive premium rents.
Write better ads with better pictures. Stand out from the crowd and get people appreciating your property and it’s value rather than looking for a commodity.
Don’t discount your rents to attract tenants. Tenants that are attracted to discounted rental units will also leave quickly if they can get a better deal. Don’t be a commodity, create an environment where tenants want to come home to.