During the summer, as students prepare to go back to school, many landlords begin to experience a high volume of rental applications. This is what many real estate investors refer to as the peak rental season. For many landlords, peak rental season can be a double-edged sword. While it can be a very lucrative time of year, it can also be very overwhelming for landlords who aren’t prepared. Let’s take a deep dive into some strategies that can help you get the most out of peak rental season.
Perform a Rental Property Inspection
Before a tenant moves in or after they move out, you must perform a rental property inspection. Ideally, you’ll have a professional perform rental property inspections throughout a tenant’s stay. The more you show that you care about your rental property, the more likely a tenant is to respect it. All of this is to say that before peak rental season hits, a property inspection is a must.
However, don’t randomly spring property inspections on a tenant. Give them plenty of notice beforehand and make it clear in the lease that you intend to perform inspections—however reoccurring they may be.
Update Your Listing
To make your listing stand out among other rental properties, you must always be willing to put your best foot forward. Your listing is going to be your best tool in that regard. Before peak rental season hits, reevaluate and update your listing. Include your property’s best features and amenities and everything a tenant needs to know about the property. This makes it easier for tenants to determine at a glance if your property is the right fit and easily weeds out the less-than-desirable tenants.
Use Virtual Leasing Tools
Considering this technological era and how many people work from home, convenience is everything. The easier and more accessible you make your property, the more applications you’ll get. What does this look like exactly? It means using online tools to make appointments, virtual showings, and video walkthroughs so renters can get in touch with you and view your property at their convenience.
Not only does this speed up the leasing process, but it also takes the weight of scheduling off your shoulders. Furthermore, if you feel comfortable doing so, you can allow renters to do a self-guided tour using a lockbox.
Make the Application Process Easy
On the subject of convenience, you should also try to streamline your application process. There are many online property management services and software that allow you to easily screen tenants and have them apply online. This helps get rid of manual paperwork errors, like poor handwriting or accidental misinformation. It also means you don’t have to handle nearly as much documentation. It’s all in one easy-to-access platform that provides tenants with a better overall experience.
Review Your Screening Process
Reviewing your screening process on your own can be tedious and time-consuming. However, if you neglect to do so, you risk violating Fair Housing Act laws. You should base your screening process and tenant criteria on objective factors, such as credit and rental history. If it includes or is based on any protected characteristics—such as race, familial status, gender, or religion—you may find yourself in serious legal trouble. Using an online property management platform or software means you never have to review your screening criteria, streamlining the overall screening process.
Review Leasing Language
Much like your screening process, you should also review the language you use in your lease and other documentation. Plenty of applicants are going to look at these documents, and the more eyes are on your documentation, the easier it is to find errors. You want to make sure your verbiage is seamless, inclusive, and abides by FHA law.
Use Social Media Marketing
Many landlords think their marketing strategy should end with posting their listing on a website, but this isn’t the case. Social media is amazing because it allows you to reach a wide pool of people—and potential tenants—for free. You can also put your photos, videos, listings, and contact information on your social media posts.
For example, you can post a virtual tour of your property on YouTube or post high-quality photos on Instagram. By posting on social media, you cast a wider net and increase your chances of receiving more rental applications.
Reevaluate Your Rental Price
Your asking price is everything when preparing for peak rental season. If you ask for too much, you risk losing out on a lot of applicants. Conversely, if your price is too low, you’re going to lose out on a lot of potential income. Make sure to compare your property with similar units in the area to make sure your asking price is within the right range.
Minimize Turnaround Time
The longer you take to respond to an incoming lead, the more likely you are to lose that application. Typically, if you don’t respond to a tenant within 24 to 48 hours, they’re going to move onto another property. To make it easier on yourself, consider formulating a template to respond to emails that you can quickly fill out and send. You may also want to consider setting up automated messaging. Plus, your voicemail message should include the time they can expect to receive a response.
Make Sure You Can Handle the Influx
To get the most out of peak rental season, you have to make sure you have the resources to handle the influx of applications. Are you able to respond quickly to inquiries, conduct viewings, screen tenants, and review applications on your own? If you feel like you can’t handle it alone, you should consider outsourcing some services. While outsourcing does require spending some money, it doesn’t cost as much as losing out on a tenant or accidentally renting to a tenant who doesn’t have the income.
If you’re struggling to keep your head above water during peak rental season, you may be stretching yourself too thin. At Excalibur Homes, we’ve been in the business of managing rental properties since 1985, and our property managers have what it takes to make your life as a landlord easier.
Our end-to-end real estate services include everything from marketing, leasing, handling maintenance requests, eviction, and more. Don’t let peak rental season overwhelm you. Let the pros help you get the most out of your investment.