Renting Durations and Timing

11 Replies

Hello BP,  

I recently purchased my first duplex and will be renting it out.  The property is in a good area with universities surrounding it.  My question is will it be much harder to get renters starting in october of the school year versus august?  Has anyone else working in college markets had an issue like this?  

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

@Account Closed Thanks for the insight.  I plan on renting out by the unit (each unit is 2 Bed / 1 Bath).  But renting by the room does sound interesting, do you manage your properties yourself or have a company for leasing and maintenance work?

Hi TJ,

I purchased a single family house near Arizona State University and was renting out the bedrooms. The funny thing is I thought I would get all students, but instead I got a wide variety of people instead (none of which were students). Renting out rooms is differnt then renting out a duplex I know, but my point is that I dont think it will matter when you list it. Depending on the size of the city and college you should be able to find someone any time of the year. Some people may be looking in October for a place to live because they tried the dorms and hate sharing a bedroom and bathroom, etc.

-John

Hi TJ,

I invest in a college area as well, and most of my leases end and start in August or early September to line up with the school year.  I do what I can to avoid vacancies in the winter, but generally haven't had a problem finding tenants who want to move in April-August.  I do have LOTS of nonstudent renters though. 

In the "off season" I tend to get fewer people interested but they are more serious and more likely to rent an apartment they are looking at since there just aren't that many available at that time.  I would feel it out and think about setting your leases to expire just a bit before the school year, even if that leaves you with a 9-10 month lease.

Are you rehabbing the apartments?  Are they occupied now?  Around here, other landlords start showing apartments in January for August move in dates, so I like to show mine way in advance as well.  The biggest PM in town starts with the largest properties to fill those first, then works their way down to 3 bedrooms after a couple of weeks and so on, and I try to copy his timing whenever I can.  We just purchased a house with 3 out of 4 leases up in August, so I have been busy filling those since I had to give the existing tenants a little bit of time to decide if they were staying.  I like to give myself at least 2 months to find new tenants, the better tenants seem to plan ahead at least that far, but it doesn't always work out that way.  We are purchasing two more properties with 6 more units total, one will be vacant when we take possession, one lease ends in mid August, and one is month to month so I will likely be scrambling a bit between lining up new tenants and turnover but I do enjoy a challenge!

Kelly

@John Hyatt Awesome, that definitely helps me out a lot.  It's in an area between Notre Dame, Indiana University South Bend, Bethel, and few smaller schools so im glad to hear that finding renters is possible during the school year also.  Thanks!

@Account Closed Thats a great idea! i will have to try that out.  Year round sounds great to me.

Thanks for the input guys, i appreciate it.

@Kelly N. That timing would be ideal for sure but i wont be closing on the property until mid august and needs a few updates before i can get anyone in,  So im going to try and put it out there and see what kind of results i can get.  Thanks for your input and goodluck on the new properties!

Hey @TJ Gray , most of my rentals are multifamily properties near the University of Louisville.  In the past I've had issues finding tenants during winter months when a vacancy pops up so I have tried to shift most of my leases to expire 7/31 each year.  It's pretty busy right now with marketing and showings, but I've received 20+ emails on a 1BR apartment that would probably take a few months to fill between November and February.  A lot of this has to do with the dynamics at UofL as things have been booming on and around campus.

Not sure if your area is similar, but if you anticipate renting to a lot of college students then you'll keep your vacancy lower (and rents higher) by ending leases around 7/31.

Thanks @Michael Seeker There's quite a bit of college rentals in my area but also a fair amount of non-college renters also.  If i cant get this fall lined up i will just have to try and piece it together until next fall and get it timed better.

Also, if you did not already know...using postlets.com to list is awesome. Take control of all zillow and trulia properties. Sign 2yr leases minimum.  Put a sign in window/door with your contact info, to help avoid scammers. Use screening software like mysmartmoves.com.  If showing solo; bring print outs for long winded answers such as Pet policy, screening requirements, the screening process, section 8 addendum, etc. Require first payment by cashier check or money order, book multiple showings all at one time for safety and to create sense of urgency.