Selecting and purchasing a piece of property is only the beginning of the battle for real estate investors. Once you’ve obtained an investment, it’s time to start reaping a return! You’ll need to attract tenants to your building to start recovering your expenses by charging rent and fees.

It’s important to remember, however, that the speed at which you’re able to fill your investment property will also depend on the market in which you’ve purchased that property. For instance, you’re likely to fill a vacancy in Metro Vancouver or the Greater Toronto Area much faster than you would be in a slower, less urbanized marketplace.

Increasing property appeal

Every day a unit in your rental property is vacant, you’re losing out on potential income. It’s important to fill your investment property with renters as quickly as possible. There are many ways to make your rental more appealing to potential tenants, ranging from rent specials to interior changes.

Increasing the appeal of your rental property requires both knowledge of your target tenant and an extensive amount of forethought. Like any business, you’ll have to make an effort to brand your property, and design a cohesive brand voice and marketing strategy that will speak to your targeted audience. Here are a few strategies to consider as you work to boost the appeal of your rental.

Elevate the curb appeal: One of the most significant ways you can increase the likelihood of renting your residential units promptly is by improving the curb appeal of your property. If a prospective tenant isn’t impressed by their first glimpse of the building’s exterior, they’re unlikely to want to commit to a long-term lease. Investing in landscaping services and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way!

Invest in kitchens and bathrooms: Aside from first impressions garnered from the building’s exteriors, prospective tenants are most likely to pay attention to two rooms in the units: The bathroom and kitchen. If you’re going to spend money renovating the units in your building, it’s advisable to invest the vast majority of it in these two areas of the home. New kitchen counters and appliances are likely to go a long way toward impressing your targeted tenant.

Clean prior to showings: This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to clean the units thoroughly prior to each and every showing. Dust can accumulate quickly in an empty unit, and even the smallest sign of dirt may indicate an absentee landlord to prospective tenants. Clean each unit thoroughly, and also consider investing in a few small touches, like decorative curtains, to make the empty unit seem homier.

Add washers and dryers: A significant way you can add value for prospective residents is by installing en-suite washers and dryers in the units in your building. If it’s not possible to install washers and dryers in each unit, consider building a laundry room in one of the community areas. Many prospective residents will choose a building where they don’t have to haul their laundry to a laundromat, even if it’s slightly more expensive.

Install storage units: Apartment living isn’t always convenient. It can be hard to store sports gear, outdoor equipment and furniture when living in a small space. Consider converting your building’s basement into storage units, and including one unit with each residence rented at the building. Alternatively, you could charge a slight addition to the tenant’s rent fees for the ability to rent out a storage unit. Prospective tenants always prefer to keep their belongings nearby, rather than at a self-store center off-site.

Consider rent specials: Rent specials should be a last resort. However, if you’re struggling to fill your building’s units, they can be a great way to get tenants into your building and signed-on to long-term leases. Common rent specials include waiving the security deposit, or including the first month’s rent for free. Lowering the move-in costs will make your building substantially more attractive to prospective tenants, and may even open the door to other residents.

Taking even just a few of these steps could help you dramatically increase the likelihood of renting your units promptly. For large buildings, you may want to consider hiring a property management firm, especially during the lease-up phase. Property management companies will help prepare your building for viewings, in addition to handling marketing and tenant screening.

Forging a bond with prospective tenants, and screening them thoroughly to ensure they’re a good fit for your property, will help you identify residents as dependable, reliable long-term tenants for years to come.