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What to do when your property won’t lease

November 23, 2016
What to do when your property won’t lease

Are you struggling to lease your property? Here are some strategies to get your property leased quickly.

The rental market is more competitive now than it’s ever been. More apartments, more housing estates and low interest rates have caused a flood of new rental properties to hit the market. As the competition for tenants heats up, make sure you or your Property Manager are doing everything you can to avoid that long and costly vacancy.

With years of experience and having leased close to 1000 properties (if not more), I can tell you that there are five main reasons why your property won’t lease. You (or your Property Manager) may be guilty of one or all five of these reasons.

Here they are:

Professional Photography and Descriptive Online Listing

If you’re not using professional photos for your rental properties, you’re doing your landlords a disservice.

Put yourself in the tenants shoes. They log onto realestate.com.au and find 50 – 100 properties that suit their requirements. They can’t view them all because there’s usually only one or two times during the week scheduled to view the property, so they shortlist 5- 10 properties to view on the weekend.

The only way they’re going to pick your property is if the photos stand out, the description is clear and the online listing appeals to them more than the others.

Good tenants are attracted to good properties, so the way you present your property online, is the best way to attract the tenants you want.

Thorough Cleaning and Maintenance

If you wouldn’t live in the property in its current condition, how can you expect someone else to?

You should make sure that your vacating tenants clean the property as required – but you should also look at other area’s which may need a tidy up or a freshen up to make your property more appealing. Consider doing some gardening, cleaning the windows externally, removing any graffiti on fences, clearing any cobwebs, repairing cracked tiles and if required replacing the carpet and repainting.

Every tenant will expect to move into a property that’s clean and well taken care of when they move in, from the uni student in a one bedroom $250pw apartment to the CEO who’s paying $2500pw.

If you think it’s expensive to spend a couple of hundred dollars making your property more appealing, consider the cost of it sitting vacant for a month or more.

Make yourself available to show the property

This is one thing I learnt early in my career – you can’t lease a property if you’re not prepared to show it. Once an enquiry comes in, you should attempt to show the property as soon as the potential tenant is available.

Many agents won’t do private appointments outside the weekend open for inspections, some might have it open once during the week too – if they bother to show up. Although this might suit the property manager, these times don’t always suit a potential tenant.

The key to leasing properties quickly (once the above steps have been taken care of) is being flexible with your viewing times – within reason ofcourse.

As a Property Manager, it’s our duty to ensure that we minimise our clients vacancy period. Every day the property is empty, the landlord is losing money. The more flexible you can be with inspections, the sooner you lease the property.

Price it correctly

The key to your property investment, is having it tenanted as much as possible. There’s no point taking 3 months to lease the property when’s it’s overpriced by $20pw because the money you lost with by keeping the property vacant over this period, far outweighs the money you’ll make when it’s finally tenanted (if you manage to lease it at all).

The simple rule to price your property fairly, is to avoid thinking that it should automatically increase or stay the same as what it was and compare to the properties that you’ll be competing with at the time of listing it.

If you had a 2 bedroom apartment that leased for $500pw 12 months ago and 4 new apartment buildings have just been completed and hit the rental market, then your apartment is probably no longer worth what it was.

Every time you have a vacancy, you need to consider what the property is worth in the current market conditions.

Change Agents

If you’re property has been vacant for weeks and your property manager hasn’t suggested you do any of the above, it’s time you make a move. Your agent is your investment advisor. They shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when you need to spend some money to make some money or when your property is no longer worth what it was.

If you don’t believe me, I’ll give you a little challenge: Type in your suburb into Realestate.com.au and arrange the search from oldest to newest properties. I guarantee that that properties displayed first either have bad photos or not enough of them, will have no inspection time scheduled or are well over priced.