Most property owners who lease their rental units notice a slight decline in sales during the off-season, i.e., mid- to- late winter. The fact is, moving during the winter season is anything but easy in most places. Not only that, but rental prices often don’t take a noticeable decline to reflect this drop in renters. But with some smart and savvy thinking, you can keep leasing rates up throughout the rental off-season. Here are just a few of the best ways to keep attracting a steady flow of tenants during the winter apartment rental off-season.
Keep Heat On
In addition to taking all the standard measures to attract a tenant, e.g, stage the unit, take professional photos, and post the rental ad across multiple platforms, you should also try to keep the heat on in the unit, at least when you know you have a potential tenant coming by to check the place out. On average, consumers are exposed to 3,000 ads and promotional messages every day, and while those who request a tour will inevitably have already seen the photos, they’ll want to know that they’re living in a cozy, comfortable, and adequately-heated home.
Prepare Seasonal Amenities
Finding suitable tenants during the winter can be particularly challenging for larger apartment complexes, which often use their amenities as one of their main attractions. For example, swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States, but since any complex that has an outdoor pool has closed it for the season, property managers will have to use the complex’s seasonal amenities to seal the deal. For example, finding a reliable place to get a workout in can be tough for renters on the go, so if the apartment complex has a gym, make sure it’s meticulously maintained throughout the entire season.
Adjust Leasing Dates
If all else fails and you continue to spend a long time looking for winter tenants, adjust your leases to renew in spring or summer months. This doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of having to find a winter tenant — after all, you never know when a renter could break their lease — but for the most part, you should be in the clear.
Set Competitive Prices and Terms
When it comes to examining your competition, consider lease flexibility in addition to basic monthly price. The National Association of Realtors says the average home sold by an agent in 2017 brought in $249,000, which makes renting a much more financially viable option than buying for many people. Still, if tenants can get a similar or lower price at a unit right down the street, why wouldn’t they try? Tempt them to choose your apartments by setting more flexible terms regarding lease details — consider adding an extra paid utility or lowering the security deposit. There are countless ways to give potential tenants a bit of extra incentive to choose your place over another, and many times, that’s when they’ll sign.
“You can also explore incentives unique to your potential tenant or local area. For example, if you have a tenant who is interested but who really wanted in-suite laundry, offer a gift card for a local laundromat, or help to pay for a portable washer. You can even try contacting local businesses for gift cards or discounts that provide potential customers to them, unique rental incentives for you to offer, and freebies for your future tenants,” writes Brittany Foster on Law Depot.
Ultimately, bankruptcies in the U.S. increased to 25,227 companies in the second quarter of 2016, and financial issues continue to be a problem for all types of property investors and managers. Taking time to rethink your winter rental strategy can help you maintain a steady influx of renters all season long.
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