Marketing my rental

22 Replies

Hey ya'll - I have a vacant unit (part of a duplex) that I can't seem to get any lookers on.  I put up signs at the close intersections and have about half dozen ads on Craigslist but I've only had 3 phone calls.  Two of those hung up on me after I told them the rent and the 3rd was "calling for a friend."

Is this just a "wait and they will come" situation or is there something else I can do?

Is the rent on par with similar units?

Does your Craigslist ad have clear, in-focus photos that show the rooms well?

Have you tried also posting to Postlets.com?

The duplex across the parking lot just rented for $525 (mine is $550) but we pay for trash and lawn service and they don't.  The photos could be better, I guess.  I'll take a look at that. 

And, yes, I posted to Postlets.com too. I even put it on MLS (I'm an agent).

The rent is definitely on par with the area (north central Springfield, MO).  Just frustrated.

How long has it been on the market? I'm guessing also this time of year is a bit more slow.

The tenant gave me 30 days notice (first of December) and I had signs out a week or so after that. My online posting (Craigslist/Postlets/MLS) went up in mid-December.

I know December is crappy (we build spec homes and can't sell anything in December) so I understand that.  But, I just thought that I would have had some movement on this unit by now.

Have you tried posting on social media as well?

Signs?  Flyers?  

Postlets hits a bunch of the online websites, but certainly not all.  

Like @Nicole W. mentioned you may want some better pics.

Here is my list of 7 P's for moving real estate, photos being one of them:

  • Price - Is your price right
  • Promotion - Are you doing a good job getting the word out
  • Property - Is it in good shape
  • Policies - Are your policies reasonable (e.g.- Are you asking for 10x the monthly rent 28 prior landlord references, and only 800+ credit scores)
  • Photos - Are they nice
  • Place - Is it in a good location
  • People - Is the demand cyclical - are people looking

(I think I need to make this into a blog post, yes?)

I think @Darlena Jones was on to something when she mentioned the time of year.  Missouri may be different, but in Minnesota nobody wants to move in the middle of winter.  You see this reflected in new home sales as well.

I've done things like a 14 month lease to have renewal dates coincide with more favorable weather.  Good luck, and hang in there!

This time of the year is bad for empty units, January with the tax returns will be better.

Maybe you could consider restructuring the rent, lowering to 525 and not paying for the trash. Just a thought. People tend to focus on one number.

Originally posted by @Sarnen Steinbarth :

Have you tried posting on social media as well?

Signs?  Flyers?  

Postlets hits a bunch of the online websites, but certainly not all.  

Like @Nicole W. mentioned you may want some better pics.

Here is my list of 7 P's for moving real estate, photos being one of them:

  • Price - Is your price right
  • Promotion - Are you doing a good job getting the word out
  • Property - Is it in good shape
  • Policies - Are your policies reasonable (e.g.- Are you asking for 10x the monthly rent 28 prior landlord references, and only 800+ credit scores)
  • Photos - Are they nice
  • Place - Is it in a good location
  • People - Is the demand cyclical - are people looking

(I think I need to make this into a blog post, yes?)

Price - We just bought this duplex in October and it was leased at $550.  I didn't raise the rent.

Promotion - This is a C unit in a C area (north side of Springfield) so social media isn't really happening.  Both of the tenants in this duplex paid with money orders. 

Property - Actually very good shape.  We repainted it this weekend and are having the carpets professionally cleaned.

Policies - I haven't even got to the point of talking about policies.  Only 3 phone calls.

Photos - Maybe a little dark - I'll retake them.

Place - It's a C area.  Blue-collar folks. 

People - I hope they're looking?

Originally posted by @Luca Gobbini :

This time of the year is bad for empty units, January with the tax returns will be better.

Maybe you could consider restructuring the rent, lowering to 525 and not paying for the trash. Just a thought. People tend to focus on one number.

I thought about that but I really like paying for trash.  It insures that the property won't get trashed up.  I could lower to $525 if they mow the grass? 

We are in the Springfield market as well, and have always had a terrible time from December til about the end of January. One SFR we had come up at this time of the year a few years back we had to discount quite a bit to get it rented, and even then, evicted the tenant a few months into Spring. It sounds like you're doing everything right. If you'd like to PM the Craigslist ad to me, I'd be happy to see if there are any suggestions I might be able to make...I'm no expert, but certainly would be willing to give it a look.

Originally posted by @George Kaberlein :

We are in the Springfield market as well, and have always had a terrible time from December til about the end of January. One SFR we had come up at this time of the year a few years back we had to discount quite a bit to get it rented, and even then, evicted the tenant a few months into Spring. It sounds like you're doing everything right. If you'd like to PM the Craigslist ad to me, I'd be happy to see if there are any suggestions I might be able to make...I'm no expert, but certainly would be willing to give it a look.

Thanks George!  I just sent it.

I'd just hold tight. Sounds like you're doing lots of the right things. Winter is a tough time to rent. In my experience January is the best time of the winter to rent, February is typically tough because it is normally our coldest month and then March forward is much better. 

Here is what I have done in the past and had success:

Craigslist with good clear photos as someone mentioned earlier

Postlets.com

Rentlinx.com

I also made up fliers with one really good pic and basic details and my cell number and put them up at laundrymats (if my units have washer and dryer in the unit), train stations and popular restuarants/delis that have lines of people waiting around for their orders.

I dont know if the ads I printed did much or not but the rentlinx, craigslist and postlets all worked great as long as there was demand out there.  Good luck!

Originally posted by @Tom McGrath :

Here is what I have done in the past and had success:

Craigslist with good clear photos as someone mentioned earlier

Postlets.com

Rentlinx.com

I also made up fliers with one really good pic and basic details and my cell number and put them up at laundrymats (if my units have washer and dryer in the unit), train stations and popular restuarants/delis that have lines of people waiting around for their orders.

I dont know if the ads I printed did much or not but the rentlinx, craigslist and postlets all worked great as long as there was demand out there.  Good luck!

Thank you for the suggestions!  I haven't heard of Rentlinx and hadn't thought about doing flyers.  I'll pull something together.

Hi Darlena, I'm wondering if you filled your vacancy? I live near Downtown Springfield and of course am very aware of the the huge amount of apartments and lofts being built lately in the area (1,000's of new units over the last couple years) and wondered how this would effect the rental market. Have you experienced an impact?