I'm having trouble finding a tenant for my rental

132 Replies

Dear BP community,

 I recently bought and rehabbed my first rental, we left it in great shape and its ready to rent. The property is in a nice neighborhood and a good school district. But unfortunately, we are struggling to get a tenant; it has been in the market for 29 days (already more than the average for the area), and since then, every single day we have done a showing, but no one has applied yet.

I have one theory: The next-door neighbor decided to start a hobby of reconstructing old trucks, and one partially destroyed truck is sitting in their driveway next to the entrance of the property (there is no HOA to regulate the area). So when people visit the property, they might get turnoff by this sight.

Do you have any ideas of what can I do to help get a tenant? 

If you are curious, here is a link to the property, and picture of the truck in the driveway.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.


Pedro P.

Updated over 2 years ago

**Update ** We received and approved our first application. We followed the BP community advice: -We revised the ad to make it more appealing. -We offered a move-in special, 50% off the first full month for a 13mon lease. -Did some landscaping -We talked to the neighbor, and he will cover the truck (no fence necessary) Now we are just waiting to get the deposit, and if everything goes well, we will have a new tenant. I was a bit skeptical that posting in BP was going to make a difference, but the response was terrific, and in less than three days, I was able to get an application for my property after +30 days of not getting anything. Thank you, everyone, for your inputs and honesty.

Check with the town/City to see if there are any zoning/rules regarding un-registered/abandoned vehicles on property. That might help with the curb appeal.

If that isn't the big issue, and you're mainly trying to get someone in the property, try some sort of incentive like paying for heat or electric etc.

@Pedro Padierna

The truck next door could be impacting the ability to rent the house.  Call the city code enforcement and file a complaint to get the next door cleaned up.  Have prospective tenants commented on the next door neighbor?  You may need to reduce the price because of the neighbor.  Are you getting showings or is there not much activity?  If your not getting many calls I would lower the price to increase showings.

Good Luck.


HI @Kenneth Garrett

Thank you so much for your quick reply and your idea to call the city code. We have done showings daily, but none of the potential tenets have mentioned the car and bins next door. I already lower the rent $26, I was thinking of putting a fence but is a +1k CAPEX.


Pedro P.

Hi Pedro.

No expertise here, neither with renting or the area and it may have nothing to do with the real issues, but the pics give me the impression that no real landscaping was done. Just wondering if a manicured lawn might present better.

 Best wishes. 

@Pedro Padierna the price needs to reflect the property and the neighborhood. The fastest way to get the property rented is to price it accordingly.

If you're getting showings and no applications. Your priced right for the area, but either the neighborhood or the property dont reflect the rental price.

If you weren't getting showings I would say there is something wrong with the price, but since you are it is either the neighborhood or your house that aren't matching up to what people expect when they come for the showing.

Rentals are different than sales because you do not really get feedback from a 3rd party (like an agent) when you show a rental. There is really no incentive for people to give honest feedback at a rental appointment and it can get frustrating. 

The truck could be the reason or could have nothing to do with it at all. Maybe someone from the San Antonio area can give us insight into why? Sometimes there are unique things about submarkets that out of area people would never think of that is holding a place back.  

@Michael Noto Thank you for your input, yes you are right I’m an out of town investor, and although I’m familiar with the San Antonio area, that specific neighborhood I’m not.  And as you mentioned,  we haven't gotten any feedback from the showings, so this is why we are guessing a bit what the issue is. 

@Pedro Padierna , to find out what prospective tenants are thinking -  Ask them.   @Tommy Nastasi 's idea to offer potential renter's an incentive is good.  I would direct that idea toward giving each party that looks at the home incentive to answer a question or two designed to tell you what that party wants.  Such as, "What would it take to make this home right for you", or "What one thing do you most like about this home, and what would you like to see changed or added."    Customer feedback is critical to your success, so seek it, -ask for it.  Your incentive can be as simple as a two dollar branded gift (coffee mug, local map, pen and paper set) or just an offer of drinks and snacks along with your spoken request to fill out your very short (1/2 Page) feedback questionnaire -or even you just asking a question or two and writing down the answers while your "guests" snack and drink.   Consider offering each person that comes buy a coupon for a few hundred $ off their first month's rent -if they'll fill out your feedback form.  At $1300/mo rent, you'll make more than your coupon back if you rent it just one week quicker.

In regard to your concern about the truck rebuild project going on next door, I agree with Tommy Nastasi that we should know local codes on the matter, but do be a gentleman and talk directly to the neighbor about your concern before your report anyone to code enforcement.   Find out if he is willing/able to do what you need (move it inside, back yard, other side?).  Strive to be the best neighbor you can be, by being direct and courteous with your own needs.   Also consider that fencing does not have to be 1K capx expense.  All you need is a short length of privacy fence (30') right where the truck and bins are.   You can install 30' of fence with T-Posts and cheap privacy screen in a few hours for less than $200.  Here's a picture.

Final thought, @Benjamin Hurwitz , was right in suggesting that a finished lawn would present better.  You did a great job on the interior, but left prospective tenants with extra work in the yard as soon as they move in.  Your project was so close to being finished.  It would have cost just another week's worth of rent to bring of a load of top soil, hand spread a small bag of grass seed, cover with straw or other mulch (to reduce evaporation), and screw an inexpensive sprinkler timer to the yard water faucet.  I'd also make sure that my gentle, pleasant water sprinkler was running over the new lawn when ever you show the place.   Finishing the yard to match the interior would leave everyone with the impression that they are considering a finished project.

Best to you Benjamin,  please do post an update when you rent the home.

@Pedro Padierna

I can't see photos, but if it is not renting, the price is too high for the experience of the potential renter or the process is too difficult.

The truck you describe is always going to be there in some fashion. A car, car parts, some other thing. That is the neighbor you inherited. The easiest thing is to just talk with them. You will get a feel for their want to help you.

Look at your advertising. When my rental came up vacant. I wanted income 3x rent AND decent credit and had trouble finding tenants. When I changed the and in that equation to OR the applicant pool got larger.

Losing a month of rent wipes out profit for whole year, so take tgat into consideration.

I'm only slightly familiar with that area, and it's definitely not "bad." It's the middle of the summer, so there is no way you shouldn't be getting applications for 30 days. There are several others nearby that have been on the market for just as long at your price or slightly higher, so it may be the price.

I think your pictures present well on your listing, and it's in a decent area of town, so that's getting people in the door. So either what they are seeing when they get there (the nuisance neighbor, the neighborhood in general, the landscaping) isn't worth it to them or your qualifications are too stringent. I think the best path is as mentioned above to just ask people why they chose not to rent, instead of guessing, then proceed from there with what you can control. Maybe you miscalculated the potential rent, or you do need to spring for a fence or better landscaping, but right now you're making zero dollars, so you have to do something.

@Pedro Padierna

Personally, I don’t think a truck in the driveway next-door is going to deter your potential tenants from moving in if the rest of the area is as good as you say.

My advice would be to drop the rent once you have a renter there for a year you can ring the rent back up.

Also, 29 days is not that long ...drop the rent and test my theory and gauge it based on actual applications not just theoretical ideas. I’m speaking from my personal experience but every location is different.

Hi I am a newbie to all this but would to offer my two cents.  When I clicked on the link you provided and looked at the property info, I noticed that the Zestimate rent for this property is $1295.  If I were looking for a rental and don't know anything about real estate, comparing that to your rental price will give me pause - you are too expensive.  Secondly, I entered your address into Rentometer and it did come up with $1376, which I think is how you came up with your price, but if you look at the comps below, most of the properties upon which Rentometer based their median recommendation are a lot bigger than yours.  The property closest in size and location to yours at Purlane and Blanco 1056 sq ft .98 miles away is only renting for $1150.  It also has 3b2b.

your rent is too high . Plain and simple There is nothing more brainstorm postulate or analyze . When I list rentals it is not uncommon for me to get 80 people message me they want the property and it’s then rented in days, not weeks this time of year .

@Pedro Padierna

Hi Pedro - I agree with the last couple of posters- you’re asking too much. More than a dollar/sq foot is a lot for the area, and while you’ve done a great job on the rehab, 1,100 sq ft is going to feel cramped for the money.

@Pedro Padierna Hey, i haven't actually started yet, just been doing research. I'm excited & nervous to get started. I was thinking, at your showings to pass out a quick survey rating how likely they will be interested in buying the property (1-10) & a comment section explaining what they like or don't like. So, you'll know their true feelings & use that as a guidance to sell at your next showing.

@Pedro Padierna

I'm surprised no one mentioned the high deposit requirement. You want more than first months rent for a deposit in addition to another $300 "cleaning" deposit. (Isn't that your responsibility after the tenant moved out?) That's: over $3k just to get into a home that is 1100 sq ft. If i were a potential renter I wouldn't have even went to look at the unit after I saw the deposit requirements. Is this normal in that area?!

Like the earlier posters stated: zillow estimates it to 1295. $55 dollars less than your price. That's a big difference each month.

Also it looks like you have a dated refrigerator and you do not have a microwave/ stove combo. If I'm looking for something that is considered higher end.... I expect to see great appliances. You can't cut corners, but expect "high" rent.

Keep in mind potential renters on Zillow can see when price changes. Seeing that you weren't able to price it correctly the first time is a red flag. As a potential renter I'd think you were price gouging and would hit my pockets any chance you got later and especially when it came time to returning my security deposit(s).

$50*12 =$600 vs 1 month is potentially $1300 opportunity cost. You should evaluate your financial priorities.

Offer $100 off for the first six months. Or $200 off for three. People love a deal.