How to Market Rental Properties

How to Market Rental Properties

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One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of real estate investment is the marketing angle. Investors go into the real estate rental market with the understanding that they’ll need to spend hours researching neighbourhoods and provincial regulations. They realize that they’ll have to negotiate with contractors and keep tenants happy. They understand the risks of maintenance delays and tenants who will eventually skip out on the rent.

Table of Contents - How to Market Rental Properties

Most real estate investors forget that they’ll have to get tenants in the building to profit from their investment. So, you’ve got a rental property that’s filled with empty units. Here are some tips to ensure that you’re never short on potential renters.

Short-term vs. long-term rentals

When crafting a marketing strategy, the first thing to consider is the distinction between marketing for long-term renters or short-term (i.e., vacation) renters. In general, an investor hoping to attract long-term renters should focus their advertising efforts on the local community. Meanwhile, those landlords hunting up short-term renters will likely find more success appealing to online communities.

Some strategies work well for both, but it is critical to keep your critical demographic — that is, locals vs. travellers — in mind while you’re planning.

Offer discounts for referrals

One strategy that works well for both short- and long-term rental properties are referral discounts. Landlords hoping to drum up long-term renters can contact current tenants and offer small-to-moderate rent discounts for referring potential renters to your property. This approach has several benefits for landlords. It can save you advertising fees. It also saves your renter money, which makes them happy and, therefore, more likely to continue renting with you in the future. What’s more, having connected renters on your property creates a sense of community that likewise compels renters to stick around for another leasing cycle.

On the short-term end of things, landlords can offer referral discounts to visitors who recommend someone else. The idea is that when they use one of your properties in the future, the referrer gets a small rebate on their bill. Not only does this approach save the renter money on their vacation costs, but, if successful, it drums up both a new customer and a repeat visitor. Word of mouth can be a lucrative thing.

Hire a professional photographer

Whether they’re moving in for a year or they’ll be sticking around for a week, the odds are that the first time potential renters will come into contact with your property is online. That will involve seeing pictures. No matter how many times you post pictures on Twitter, don’t roll the dice on your own photography skills.

A professional photographer will bring specialized lighting equipment and a high-tech camera that will ensure positive results. Ideally, one session will yield a set of photos that you can use for years to come.

Don’t skimp on the signage

Just like you wouldn’t put the burden of pictures on yourself, you also shouldn’t try to make your own signs. Whether you’re inviting a vacationer into your property or luring a potential renter, you should have professionally-made signs to highlight the path to your front door.

Spend time on your listing

Once you’ve got an assortment of good photos, it’s time to move on to the wording of your rental listing. Several landlords make the mistake of trying to channel their inner author when writing out their listing. Potential renters don’t want to feel like they’re reading a book when they’re investigating your property. What they want are details. Try to be as thorough and accurate as possible when describing the size and amenities of your property.

Be especially sure to write down any potential amenities that appear in your pictures. Otherwise, potential renters will wonder if the photos are outdated or if there is anything else on the property you’re not mentioning.

Know your demographic

At some point, while you’re writing your property listing, you’ll have to describe the neighbourhood where the property is located. That’s when it pays to understand the people to whom you’ll be renting. If you notice your renters are young, you might want to play up the proximity of music venues, restaurants or bars. If you want to lure in more families, mention the location of nearby parks or cultural centers like museums or zoos.

Don’t try to list everything nearby; you’ll overwhelm potential renters. Instead, pinpoint your demographic and highlight the amenities that are important to them.

Get online

Regardless of how much networking you do, you will likely not see much success with renting out your property until you’re online. You can go one of several routes online. Short-term renters might enjoy enrolling on a rental hosting site, like Airbnb or VRBO. You can also build your own web site or engage in social media marketing campaigns on sites like Twitter.

Meanwhile, long-term renters are more likely to find success on local message boards that advertise to local renters. Either way, a strongly-worded description and a handful of high-quality pictures are integral to promoting your property.

Never stop marketing

You should never abandon your marketing efforts, even if you’re booked months in advance or all your properties are filled. One of the crucial elements to continuing your success is to make sure you’ve always got a list of people waiting to get into your building. Not only does this have the benefit of reducing the number of vacancies on your property, but it will also generate higher demand for your property, allowing you to adjust costs alongside it.

It’s also essential to mix up your marketing strategies. Even those strategies that work one season likely won’t be nearly as effective even a few months later. It’s crucial to ensure that your marketing efforts remain consistent and innovative to ensure that you stay tapped into the pool of potential renters.

Keeping these basic principles in mind will help you make an easy, successful marketing plan for all your rental properties.

How to market rental property vacancies


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Scott Dillingham

Scott Dillingham

I have been investing and lending to real estate investors for nearly 10 years now. After thousands of successful deals between flips, rent to owns, student properties and commercial assets I have developed a deep knowledge of real estate investments and have a passion of sharing this information with the world! If your looking for a lender who specializes in rental property financing you're going to want to connect with me at team@lendcity.ca.