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8 Ways to Quickly Rent Out Your Vacant Investment Property

Author: Nila Sweeney
Source: Nila Sweeney

With vacancies rising in many cities across Australia, you’re likely to deal with a vacant investment property sooner than later. Nila Sweeney, managing editor of explains what to do to rent it out quickly

There’s no doubt that having your investment property vacant for any period of time is a painful experience. For every week of vacancy, you’re losing money.

Taking a financial hit due to vacancy could result in a tight cash flow that may lead to you selling your property.

Depending on the amount of rent you charge and how many weeks the property remains vacant, it could take more than a year to make up for the loss if this vacancy continues for a long time.

If your property has been vacant for more than a month, it’s time to take drastic steps.

Here are some tips to help you deal with a vacant property and avoid further rental income loss.

1. Grill your property manager for details

Once your property becomes vacant, contact your property manager immediately. Ask them the following questions:

  1. What are your thoughts about my property?
  2. How does it compare and measure up against the competition?
  3. Do you think the asking rent is fair or too high?
  4. How many open homes have you done? How did they go?
  5. What’s the feedback from potential renters?
  6. Do you know how many properties in the area are currently vacant?
  7. Was there any feedback from the open homes and what can be improved?
  8. How are the other properties in the area faring in the current market?
  9. What would you recommend we do to make the property more attractive to tenants so as to avoid another week of vacancy?

2. Review your asking rent and consider reducing it below the comparable properties in the area

A vacant property is earning zero dollars each week, whereas a reduced rent is still money in the bank. It’s better to lose a few dollars than a whole week or even a month’s worth of rent.

Depending on how saturated the market you’re in is, consider lowering your rent by $10 or even up to $50 each week to make your property more attractive to budget-conscious tenants.

Markets like Perth are currently experiencing rental oversupply and rising vacancy, which is prompting some landlords to slash their asking rent by up to $50 a week.

3. Offer a week or two free rent as a bonus for signing the lease

If your area is experiencing an influx of rental properties, you may need to up your game and consider offering a week or two of free rent to get tenants to sign the lease. You’re still taking a loss, but this is just for the short term.

4. Offer a 12-month pay-tv or Netflix subscription

For a few hundred dollars, you could entice your tenants to sign a lease and trump the competition.

5. Upgrade any outdated features

Simple cosmetic renos such as a fresh coat of paint, a new shower curtain or new blinds would go a long way in making your property more attractive to tenants.

6. Consider cross-listing your property with another agency

This simple strategy involves getting another real estate agency to list your home under their agency’s name but it will still be managed by your property manager.

This achieves two things:
  1. Your property gets on top of the listing sites and will be more visible to potential tenants.
  2. Your property doesn’t get too dated. Often, when a property sits on the market for too long, tenants start avoiding it suspecting that something might be wrong with it.

Of course, this only works if your property manager has a good relationship with other agencies (which are their competitors, too).

7. Write a compelling but honest ad

It could be worth spending some money to get a professional copywriter to write the copy for your rental ad.

If you want to do it yourself, make sure the headline grabs attention immediately and contains keywords that your tenants are searching for; for example, airy, spacious, affordable, newly refurbished, new kitchen, air conditioner, etc.

Make sure that the text reflects the features in your property. Be honest. Don’t be tempted to over promise just to lure tenants in. It will backfire on you big time.

8.Get professional photos shot to go with your ad

Mobile phone cameras might be getting better, but there’s no substitute for a professionally taken photo.

In a competitive market, don’t scrimp on cost – get a selection of high quality photos showing every part of the property. This would go a long way in getting tenants interested in your property.

Regardless of what strategy you choose, make sure it’s attractive to potential tenants without crippling your cash flow. You should carefully consider your situation and if it looks like you’re not going to get a tenant within your allowable timeframe, consider exiting the market before everyone else.

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Nila Sweeney
Managing Editor of Property Market Insider and a former editor of Your Investment Property Magazine.

Published: 31 January, 2017.