Can't find tenant - what's changed?

12 Replies

I own a rental condo in Montgomery County, Maryland, which I rented out with no problems three times previously. The apartment is in good condition, with lots of nifty upgrades (new cabinets, closet organizers, etc), in a great location, and very close to major area employers. I have always rented it within a week of advertising on CL in the past - the only difference is the last three times I advertised it in June for an August 1 move-in date. This year my tenants moved out early and I used the same ad, the same pics, etc., lowered the rent by $50, put the ad up in March and... got two inquiries in a whole week! Is it just the season or has the rental market really changed that much? I have never rented it out in the Spring before, so it's hard for me to judge.

Offer a move in special and see if that will help.

Joe Gore

How do your rents compare to the market? Not just condo's look at other types of dwellings (SFH, Apartments etc). How about curb appeal?

My own locally applicable assessment is that the weather has been subpar up until mid March especially due to those march DC/MD snowstorms. Just as people have delayed their spring home purchasing as a result of the weather, they have also put off potential moving opportunities for rentals. I think this weekend is a good time to advertise an open house by appointment on sunday 2-4pm and update/ refresh your online ads on craigslist and other relevant sites. also consider using rentlinx.com to post an ad on a slew of premium sites simultaneously and pay $10 per premium valid applicant lead. I've used it with success in the area. highly recommended. Just set you max limit per month at around $50 so you don't overpay for too many leads... $50 is worth the potential of facing an additional month of vacancy. Sometimes CL alone doesnt magically turn up a host of callers...

My condo is priced lower than about 50% of the condos on the market in my area. It is not a luxury listing, and is targeted at young and/or middle-income professionals. It is priced lower than 80% of all the available rentals. Basically, if you run a search on CL, mine will be in the bottom quarter. Nevertheless, it has some upscale features, as I mentioned below. Curb appeal is somewhat lacking, but is not terrible. The views from the condo are beautiful though (park and lake), much better than average.

Jeff,

Could you tell me more about rentlinx? What sites do they advertise on? How does the lead process work?

Originally posted by @Natasha V. :
Jeff,
Could you tell me more about rentlinx? What sites do they advertise on? How does the lead process work?

There is a free account and there is a premium account , the latter of which I recommend trying. They advertise their number and send you the recorded voicemail via email link from the verified lead. If the lead is a dud and didnt really have any interest, you get refunded no questions. each lead is $10. There are good explanations on their website and a list of sites they list on. free one includes zillow, hotpads etc, but the premium adds a couple more and will only charge for those premium site leads. normal site leads wont bill you any cost.. You determine the max amount you pay each month so they will stop taking premium leads after a certain cap you define... When rented, you switch the button to unlisted and it takes them all down within 24 hours so you dont have to go to each site. it also takes 24 hours to populate to all the sites when you first activate the ad so be patient.

@Natasha V. you need to raise your asking rent. Your place sounds nice, people looking at it are thinking it's too good to be true and moving on. Raise it $100 from what you are asking now.

You might also offer a move-in special to grab some folks from the sidelines.

I've read lots of BP posts lately with folks talking about how Craigslist isn't working well for them. The consensus seems to be that Postlets is better- you put in your info and it sends it to zillow, trulia, various other sites. Also consider what @Bill S. said. People tend to look in a particular price range, and assume that anything under that will not be to their liking. Good luck!

The weather did mess with any type of normal conditions that would naturally be seen in past years. That probably was the largest factor. Bill S. is also correct, you don't want it to be cheaper that int should be or you seem like a shady landlord.

I heard a story from an investor who was promising 10%-15% return on investments, and the people he was pitching thought he was trying to rob them. They "knew" that in the investor market, 5% was an average return on investments. The investors didn't understand the RE market. After he lowered their returns, and repitched the project, people signed on, and he came away with a larger profit because of it!

I was going to say weather as well. Many of our coldest/precipitation days have been on the weekends!

Sounds like you need to raise your rent may be by a hundred or more per month, as the potential applicants looking at your asking rent might think your place is a slum based on your local market!

I had similar problem in the past. Competition raised rent so fast, that my unit fell behind by 3-400/mo. Easy fix with happy outcome for you :)

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