Avoiding vacancy has to be an important part of your leasing plan. Vacancies are expensive, and the longer they drag on, the longer your investment property is at risk for deferred and unnoticed damage as well as theft, vandalism, and even squatting.
A property management company based in Harker Heights, Shine Residential Management cares for exceptional single-family homes throughout Central Texas, including in Killeen, Temple, Belton, Copperas Cove, Salado, and Georgetown. Take our advice: Get good tenants into place quickly.
This starts with effective marketing. To market your Killeen rental home, you need a solid understanding of the local market. You need to know the competing properties, the local rental values, and the amenities and features that today’s tenants seek.
Any good marketing plan will focus on the online rental sites that most tenants are using to find their next home. You’ll want to create and share listings that grab their attention and entice them into scheduling a showing.
Finding good tenants starts with the right marketing and advertising. Here are some of the best ways to market your Killeen rental property in order to avoid those painfully long vacancies.
Start with a Scan of Comparable Killeen Rental Properties
Before you begin to market your own property, take a look at what’s out there already. This will give you a sense of how strong the market is, and whether the trends are working in your favor or against it.
Right now, you’re likely to find that well-maintained homes in desirable locations are being rented quickly. There are a lot of tenants looking for homes these days, and you’ll want to make sure your property stands out and grabs their attention. If the market is slower, you might notice that it’s taking a lot longer for homes to rent. This would require you to be extra aggressive when marketing and advertising your property.
You’ll also notice the prices. Rents are rising in Killeen (and everywhere). That doesn’t mean you have the freedom to price your home as high as you want. An overpriced home will definitely be a vacant home. As you set your own rental price, think about how your home compares to those similar to yours. Is it older? In a better location? Do you have new appliances or an updated bathroom?
Accurate pricing is an important part of both marketing and avoiding long vacancies.
Get a sense of the market and then put together your marketing strategy based on what you learn.
Provide a Rent-Ready Rental Home
Before you can begin marketing your property, you have to make sure it’s ready for the rental market.
In fact, it should be ready for move-in.
That’s the condition you need your home to be in – ready for occupancy and without any repairs, improvements, or cleaning waiting to happen. Tenants want to feel good about moving into your property, and if there are half-painted walls or appliances yet to be installed, you’re not going to give a great impression.
Sometimes, upgrades and updates will be necessary to keep it competitive on the market.
You might have dozens of prospective tenants calling every day to schedule a showing. But, if they get to the home and find it in terrible condition or not move-in ready, you won’t have anyone filling out an application.
Prepare the property for the rental market before you begin marketing the home.
Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time and face a longer vacancy.
These are some of the things that your potential tenants will really pay attention to:
- Paint condition. If your paint seems to be faded, discolored, or chipping in sections, make sure you repaint the walls. Don’t just touch up; painting the whole wall will provide a uniform, fresh appearance. Check the exterior paint as well. This will need to be refreshed every few years. If the paint is okay, consider a power wash to make it look clean.
- Carpet vs. Hard floors. Carpets should not be stained, marked, torn, or faded. If they’re in good shape, clean them between tenants. If they look rough, replace them. You can also consider installing hard surface flooring, which tenants will appreciate because it’s attractive and easier to keep clean.
- Lighting elements. The home should be bright, well-lit, and welcoming. Change any bulbs that have burned out. Check your exterior lighting as well. The porch light should be on and the route from parking to home should be well-lit.
- Landscaping. Your curb appeal counts. Make sure the grass is mowed, the trees and bushes are trimmed back, and there isn’t any trash or debris in the yard.
Once your home looks move-in ready, you can safely begin to put together a listing that reflects its condition.
Take Marketing Photos that Look Professional
Prospective tenants will look at prices first when they scan the listings that are available.
Then, they’ll look at photos.
Photos will be more important to them than the listing or the move-in date or the location. They’ll want to know what the home looks like.
Make sure those photos are good. They should be professional-level pictures, showing all the best features of your property.
If you happen to be working with a Killeen property manager, you’ll likely be able to rely on great photos. If you’re taking your own pictures, pay attention to lighting and angles.
You basically want your photos to tell a story about what it would be like to live in the home you’re renting out. You need your prospective tenants to connect emotionally with the property.
Every good marketing plan will include pictures of:
- The front of the house.
- The kitchen, including appliances and dining areas.
- Living and common areas.
- Bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Outdoor space.
- Garage, if one is provided.
Try making a walk-through video. This will help tenants get a feel for how the home is laid out, and it will be especially beneficial for tenants who may be moving into Killeen from outside the area.
Writing a Description
Once you have some good photos, you’ll want to write an equally good description.
This does not have to be long and wordy. Keep it short and think in terms of bullet points and lists. Provide an overview of the home and highlight some specific features. Maybe your living room has a gas fireplace. Maybe there’s a fenced yard or a garden tub. All of this should be mentioned.
Other information to share includes:
- Rental price
- Security deposit amount
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Parking situation
- When the property will be available
- Whether pets are considered
Don’t forget your contact information. Let tenants know how to contact you for a showing appointment or to ask questions.
Use Online Rental Platforms to Market Your Listing
There are hundreds of online platforms for Killeen rental properties, and that’s where most tenants are starting their searches. Some of the most widely recognized sites are Zillow, Zumper, Trulia, Rentals.com, HotPads, and there are others too.
Listing your property for rent on each site separately will be time consuming. You’ll also need to beware of frauds and schemes that are common during the leasing period. Criminals have been known to steal listings and post them as their own in order to scam prospective tenants out of money. Watermark your photos if you can, and monitor your listing every day.
Working with a Killeen property management company can reduce your risk and the amount of time you’ll have to spend on marketing. We have the technology and the software that can quickly syndicate a listing to a number of different sites. This is one of the benefits of working with a property manager to lease your home. You can also expect a wide network of real estate agents and relocation professionals who can help market your property.
Marketing your rental property online isn’t the only way to get it rented quickly. Referrals and word of mouth can actually work just as well, and it’s helpful to have a For Rent sign in the yard so people driving or walking through the neighborhood can see it.
Share your listing on your social media platforms and encourage others to share it.
Respond Quickly to Killeen Tenants
Once your listing is out there in the world, you can expect to hear from tenants who want to see the home. Prepare yourself for the incoming calls, texts, and messages. Communication is a big part of your marketing plan. You can’t put the listing out there and then avoid the people who are calling about it.
These are some of the best ways to begin marketing your Killeen rental home. It’s particularly important that you have the property in good condition, an accurate rental price, and an understanding of how to put together a listing that is sure to grab the attention of potential tenants.
If you’d like to hear more or if you want to hear about our experience with marketing, advertising, and helping owners reduce vacancy, please contact us at Shine Residential Management.