Most of us who are small real estate investors buying and renting single family homes are accustomed to making every dollar count. It’s that habit that causes us to make a silly decisions when we advertise a house for rent.
Just take a look at the Home For Rent classified section of your newspaper. You will see rows of two or three line ads that all seem to blend together in an uninspired glob. Yes, I know newspaper ads are expensive, but have you ever stopped to think how much a bland three line ad is really costing you? Let’s do some logical thinking about this penny pinching.
In our example will use a rental house where you have a monthly mortgage payment of $850. That includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You are offering the home for rent at $900 per month. If you divide your monthly mortgage payment by 30 you will realize that it is costing you $28.33 cents to own the home. That’s $198.33 per week. So every week that the house is vacant you are losing $198.33. Cutting two weeks from that vacancy will save your $396.66.
If you are penny pinching with a little three line ad that fails to find a renter for weeks you are watching $198.33 fly out of your grasp every week. That’s when you should realize that it just makes good business sense to buy a nice big classified ad, which will give you the best chance of catching the eye of a renter the first time it runs.
Filling vacancies fast is the mark of a good investor. As soon as your current tenant gives you the required 30 day notice that he or she will vacate the property you must swing into action. Your goal should be to have a new tenant ready to move in the day the old one moves out. Do this…
1. Ask your current tenant if they know of any one who is looking for a rental. Ask them to spread the word among their friends and co-workers. If you have a good relationship with the tenant they should be willing to help you find a renter. Offer them a one or two hundred dollar reward if they find a new tenant for you before they move out.
2. Immediately put a For Rent sign on the property with flyers describing the property and the cost to rent. We have a page on our Web site for each property we own with inside and outside photos. Included on the page on room dimensions, and the location of nearby features like schools, hospitals, shopping, public transportation, etc. We include the Web site address on the For Rent sign and on the flyers.
3. We send a postcard announcing there will a rental available to the neighbors. They may have friends whom they would like to have live nearby. We offer a cash reward of one or two hundred dollars if we rent to someone they referrer to us before the current tenant leaves.
4. We pass out flyers to nearby businesses like barber shops, nail salons, dry cleaners, etc. We make the same cash reward offer to them as we do to the neighbors.
Penny pinchers don’t do things like that and they pay dearly for their mistake.