The days are shorter, and the air is colder – the winter seems to make everything just a little bit more difficult for all of us. However, finding tenants for your properties does not have to be challenging. Planning, problem-solving and persistence can help you meet your investing goals even when the cold air is blowing, and people just want to be inside. By following a few simple tips and thinking creatively, landlords can be sure that their homes and businesses are occupied by quality tenants no matter the weather.
Table of Contents - How to Find Tenants During Slow Winter Months
Sweeten the pot
Since fewer people want to move during the cold or around the holidays, some good old-fashioned incentives can help move them in the right direction – literally. Offering something that can make a more challenging move worth their while can often be the ticket to success. You, of course, don’t want to put yourself into financial trouble, but a nice perk can change someone’s mind very easily. Examples of this could be a reduced security deposit, a free month’s rent or a few free months of cable. These efforts might seem costly up front, but they would be well worth it to secure quality tenants in a new lease.
Many concerns over renting during slow periods can be alleviated through simple planning. Make sure that your leases end during times when you can be confident that more tenants will be in the market for properties like yours. If you have a tenant moving in this winter, ask for a longer lease so that this tenant doesn’t move this time next year, leaving you with the same problem. You might want to consider having leases that end at the close of the school year. Tenants with children are unlikely to want to move when school is in session, so you want your properties to be available when they are looking.
While you’re planning, make sure that you take any outside photographs or videos of the property during warmer weather, when flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining. This could spruce up later marketing activities during the drearier winter months. An ounce of prevention can save you a real headache down the road.
Patience is your best friend
One point that can easily be forgotten as you rush around trying to find a tenant: don’t hurry into an arrangement that makes you uncomfortable. Landlords across the board agree that the temporary satisfaction in the short-term of finding a source of rent is not worth the headache of compromising for a tenant who isn’t up to your standards. It might be painful right now, but trust that you are doing the right thing by waiting for a rental situation that is best for all parties. Waiting until the market is more consistent in the warmer months is a completely acceptable path to take and will pay dividends in the form of reliable and consistent tenants at your properties.
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Tackle deferred maintenance
Having a vacant unit in the winter months can be a blessing in disguise. It gives you a blank slate to perform all the repairs that you’ve been meaning to do. Leaving the heat on throughout the winter months is, of course, mandatory to keep pipes from freezing, but make sure the HVAC is in good working order, that roofs and walls are in top shape and that any excess brush or landscaping wear is addressed. All of these efforts will not only keep you occupied and feeling productive but will pay dividends when the tenant applicant pool deepens in warmer weather. Your winter work may allow you to charge higher rent as soon as your upgrades are complete.
Consider your terms
Many landlords consider their lease terms to be ironclad, but if you’re in a pinch for a tenant and the pool is thin, you might want to consider adjusting some of your terms. Being flexible on pets for the right tenant (and possibly adding a pet deposit) or being flexible on the lease length can help you create an agreement that is attractive to more people. This can be a hard thing to accept for many landlords, so this solution is not for everyone. However, it’s something to consider if you’re worried about the lost income from a property being vacant for several months or more.
Focus on marketing
Sometimes you need to realize that it’s not you (or your properties) at all, it’s just the weather. If you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall searching for quality tenants and getting nowhere, it might be time to buckle down for the winter. There are several ways that you can still use your time beneficially during these periods even if you are not making the money that you’d like. Focus on marketing yourself and your properties. Refresh your listings and upload new inside photos of any improvements you’ve made. This way you’re positioning yourself for quality advertising in the spring. Having a reliable tenant is worth the wait, and you’ll be pleased with the extra time you spent on quality control of your properties and your portfolio.
Renting out properties in the winter months is no easy task. Many tenants are content to wait until the warmer months, as nobody wants to unload a truck in a blizzard or have a child change schools mid-year. Meeting interested tenants halfway on some of their concerns can go a long way towards solving vacancy woes. Landlords who are eager to keep their properties rented should focus on being flexible and accessible to tenants, while those who want to wait for a broader selection of tenants in the spring should zero in on sprucing up their properties and getting them in tip-top shape for the spring rush. It’s important to find your comfort zone as a landlord and make sure that you are always renting to the right people without compromising your standards or financial sustainability.
Tips for Renting During Slow Winter Months
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