Vacancies in a rental property are expensive and stressful. When your property is unoccupied, it means you aren’t earning any rental income. It also means your property is at risk for undetected maintenance issues because no one is in it to notice or take care of things.
Avoiding long term vacancies needs to be one of your greatest priorities as a Santa Cruz rental property owner, and there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a vacant home.
Keep the Property Well-Maintained
Maintaining the property as best you can will help you keep it occupied with excellent tenants. You’ll be able to rent your home quickly if it looks great and has all the updates and upgrades that good tenants are looking for. The best renters aren’t going to want to move into a home that isn’t clean or has problems with plumbing, electricity, or other functions. Inspect the property thoroughly and get an idea of what needs to be done before you market or show it. When you have tenants in place, respond to maintenance issues immediately.
Deferred maintenance will cause longer vacancy periods. Make sure you keep your home in good condition.
Price your Rental Home Competitively
Everyone wants to earn as much as possible in rent, but a vacancy is going to hurt your ROI a lot more than reducing the rent by $50 or $100 per month. Don’t overprice your home. When the price is too high, the good tenants will ignore it. They know what the market will bear and they aren’t willing to pay more than they have to.
You might be pricing your home according to what you see on sites like Zillow and Craigslist. Those sites will also tell you how long a home has been listed and not rented. Consider that number, because if a home has been listed for more than a month, you don’t want to use the price of that property to guide your own pricing structure. It’s probably too high. Be competitive if you want to avoid vacancy.
Work on Tenant Retention
Renewing the lease with your current tenants is an easy way to avoid vacancy. Do everything you can to keep your good tenants happy. If you have to raise the rent, make sure it’s a modest increase that’s supported by the market. Check the local comps so you can be sure you’re in the right range.
At Portola Property Management, we analyze local rental values all the time. We have the data and the comps that can help you price your property and increase your rent in the proper ways. If the market doesn’t support a rental increase, don’t try to force it on your good tenants. You’ll lose them.
We do not like to deal with long term vacancies, and we know that property owners like you don’t want to lose money on a vacant rental home. If we can help you keep your property occupied, please contact us at Portola Property Management.