National vacancy rates for the third quarter of 2020 were 6.4%. That’s down about half a percent from the previous year, but up about three-quarters of a percent from the previous quarter—not bad at all considering the global pandemic! Investors must be doing something right since this has been the trend for the past few years—and it continued despite the economic conditions created by COVID-19.
The question for individual investors is whether or not they are doing what they can to personally benefit from this trend. Of course, hiring Charleston property managers would help to ensure that your investment is in capable hands. Whether you like to handle things on your own—or simply want to verify your property manager is doing all they can to help you—consider the following three things that you or your property manager should be doing to get your property vacancies handled quickly.
1. Act Promptly and Schedule Well
Most renters will give notice before vacating a property, especially if you have something written into your lease to give you time to begin the property turn. Of course, showing a property to prospective renters while it’s still occupied is challenging. Additionally, improving the property before renting is time-consuming. This makes how you approach your scheduling crucial to minimize vacancy.
- Plan cleaning and maintenance ahead of time: It is possible that the current occupant would be favorable toward certain maintenance tasks or improvements being done while they are still there. Even if they aren’t, planning can limit this to just a couple of days between the move-out and the move-in.
- Begin taking high-quality photos for marketing and advertising right away: It may be possible to have flattering photos of the exterior right away so as to begin a marketing strategy. Photos of the interior can be added once cleaning and repairs or improvements have been completed.
- Begin marketing online: Advertising on various platforms generates as much interest as possible; including the option of an online application further speeds up the process of filling vacancies. It also allows owners the luxury of pre-vetting applicants.
2. Price Your Charleston Rental Property Right
Owning rental real estate has its costs and risks, so setting the right price is important in order for it to be a profitable business investment. Adequate pricing of rental units involves many factors:
- What is the target clientele?
- How much do similar properties charge?
- What amenities are available on property or in the vicinity?
- What rates will the market allow?
- What lease length is appropriate?
With so many factors to consider, the option of working with the right Charleston property managers to help with some of these tasks can be crucial. That's why it's important to confirm that your future property partner can help run the numbers that will correctly price your rental to help find the right renter faster.
3. Provide Excellent Customer Service
The best way to prevent vacancy is to have satisfied customers—in this case, that represents your renters. There are various strategies for keeping renters longer that you or your potential property partner should employ to keep renewals coming.
- Provide good service: Responding immediately to complaints and emergencies, keeping the property in optimal condition, and staying on top of seasonal maintenance are all ways to keep clients happy. Rental property maintenance is one of those things you must get right if you want to keep renters.
- Upgrade wisely: Some investors balk at the idea of upgrading their property, viewing it as costly and unnecessary if everything is still largely functional. But some upgrades can pay off in the longer run. For example, amenities like air conditioning, faster wifi, newer appliances, and more convenient parking are popular upgrades for attracting and keeping renters.
- Stay professional: Some renters believe it’s better to be friends with the property owner and vice versa. But the reality is that it's a business, and a professional working relationship with your renters benefits both parties consistently.
Hiring the Right Property Manager Doesn't Have to Be Hard
Although some owners prefer the hands-on approach, handling day-to-day operations themselves, the reality is that when one is inundated with the routine tasks of managing a property, it becomes increasingly harder to act promptly, schedule well, price things right, and satisfy renters.
Resources can become stretched thin for a solo Charleston rental property owner, making it difficult to provide good service, upgrade wisely, and stay professional. Working with professional property management services is an excellent way to maintain control of your investment while putting daily operations in capable hands, ensuring minimal vacancy and an uninterrupted revenue stream.
Services that Charleston property managers should provide include:
- Aggressive marketing and advertising
- Comprehensive tenant screening
- Prompt and courteous customer service
- Emergency repairs and seasonal maintenance
- Vetting and hiring of vendors and suppliers.
Clearly, there is much an owner can do to minimize vacancies and satisfy renters. The benefits multiply exponentially, however, when you find the right partner to help you grow. Ensure you're keeping on top of the three things we listed above—or work with a property manager who can—and you'll realize more success from your portfolio in Charleston.