Oh, oh! It’s a few weeks’ out from Christmas and your fantastic tenant just gave their 21 days notice… That means your property will most likely be vacant in the Christmas-New Year period when everything shuts down. Your heart tells you that a vacancy in December is not a good thing, and you are right. All is not lost though… and here is why…
First things first. It is a fact: December is the worst month of the year to fill a vacancy. Tenants stop moving around. Most, have made plans for the holiday period and those plans are likely revolving around going away, NOT moving house. Statistics show that in the November-December period, vacancy periods increase and the average property will stay vacant until January. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are a few things you can do, to give your property a good chance of finding a good tenant before Christmas!
1. Advertise as soon as you receive the notice. Don’t wait for the tenant to leave before you put the property on the market. Property Managers don’t necessarily want to work harder in December – same as everyone else – so you will need to put some gentle pressure on them to switch into gear immediately. Of course, showing a house when the tenants are moving out, isn’t the best idea, but it is better than not showing it at all. This is where the good relationship you and your property manager have built with tenants during the tenancy, will come handy. If you’ve maintained a fair relationship, they will be OK (not happy but OK) with you showing the property whilst they are still there and, who knows, they may make it look half presentable too!
2. Offer incentives. There are quite a few incentives you can use. I’ve heard of movie tickets, agreeing to paint the place, adding a dishwasher etc etc. My favourite though is offering a free rent period, straight off the bat. It could be one or two weeks free. Why do I like giving a free rent period? Because it costs you nothing! An offer of free rent, puts you immediately ahead of every competing property. If a free week from the start of the campaign, secures a tenant quickly instead of waiting 4 to 6 weeks to find them, then isn’t it worth it? Tenants win because they save a few hundred dollars and landlords win because their property would have been empty anyway. It’s a win-win strategy and a method I have used a lot and has got me great results! Recently I successfully rented a property with a rent free week, at top rent on the first showing, when identical properties nearby, took 8 weeks and a substantial rent drop to lease out! I just love offering rent free because EVERYONE benefits!
3. Make sure the ad is awesome and the property appropriately priced. That includes professionally taken photos. It also means that the ad is well-written and it stands out! Nothing works better than amazing photos and catchy copyright to attract more views on the ad and that is proven again and again. It is also important that the property is priced appropriately. Vacant properties will remain vacant longer, if the advertised rent is above market value in a tough market. Sadly, I would also say that if there was a time to negotiate, the month of December is the one! Think about it: if shaving $5 or $10 per week off the normal rent gets you a tenant in before Christmas as opposed to have to wait to late January, then it is totally worth it… Just do the numbers and you will see what I mean!
4. Consider allowing pets. Now I know that a lot of landlords frown about the thought of allowing pets into their property, but from personal and professional experience, I can attest that “tenants with pets, that are house trained and are suitable for the property, make great tenants” and that is a fact! Tenants with pets are finding it difficult to find properties so whenever we advertise that we allow pets, enquiries increase immediately!
5. Monitor the market and get regular updates from your Property Manager. Last but not least, my advice – if you want your property rented sooner than later – is to not stay idle. It is not hard to see what is happening on the market by keeping an eye on the major real estate advertising engines. Make it a habit to expect updates once a week from your property manager – preferably Mondays – and to make time to discuss with them what that week’s strategy will be. It may be “change nothing”, but there are a lot of little tricks instead of the immediate reaction of reducing the price, such as hiding the rent price, rotating the photos and others that I will not reveal here, that are proven to keep the advertisement fresh and more effective than the competing properties!
So that’s it. Five great little tips that might give your precious property a good chance of finding it’s next tenants quickly in the most challenging of months! And remember: if everything else fails, don’t be disheartened. Whilst December may be the worst month of the year to fill a vacancy, January is actually the best! In January, tenants return in droves and are eager to settle in before they go back to work and the new school year starts. So hang in there and one way or another, you will find those great tenants for your property and get on with your life!
Oh the life of the property investor… Don’t you just love it????
Happy investing and have an awesome Festive Season!
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NextGen Property Mgmt (www.nextgenpm.com.au) is a boutique Real Estate licensed agency that specialises in property management. NextGen Property Mgmt are the best Property Management team in Sydney. Our differentiator is that we are landlords ourselves!
Our agency provides Property Management services in most areas of Sydney including the Sydney CBD and Inner West on the North, the Eastern Suburbs, St George and Sutherland on the South, the great Liverpool area and South West Sydney. We even have some clients on the Lower North Shore! We have properties in a raft of suburbs like Liverpool, Beverly Hills, Kingsgrove, Roselands, Hurstville, Kogarah, Rockdale, Penshurst, Bankstown, Canterbury, Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, Drummoyne, Newtown, Alexandria, Pyrmont, Coogee and Bondi Junction. We even have properties in St Leonards and Lane Cove! We are not worried about distance as most tasks these days are done electronically and remotely. We love using video conferencing if we need to and live and die by our desk research. If you are looking for the best property managers in Sydney look no further.
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