How long does it generally take to find tenants

20 Replies

We've been searching for tenants for 1 month now since April 19 and now it's May17. So far there are about 5 groups that showed up but it lead to nothing. So I start to wonder if I should charge the rent according to the Rent Zestimate from Zillow...or lower the price. How long does it generally take to find tenants? Our property is only .5 miles from the university so most likely our tenants will be students. 

If you have a properly priced property you should be able to find tenants in 30 days or less.

It is time for a price reduction.

@Vy Mai , do you find that your property is significantly overpriced compared to others in the area?  Zillow has good guidlines to grasp an idea of rents but the price should be determined on what is moving for the area.  Also you need to make sure that rents are comparable for your property.  You don't want to charge a price that someone would pay for a unit twice the size for example.

With any property I have worked with to hold for rental income I always find it is easier to use an agent or PM for the area.  Yes they will charge a fee but I find it is better than waiting and having the property making no money at all.

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Generally speaking, about a month. I had my longest vacancy recently of 2 months because the applications coming in during the 1st month were not meeting my standards. So I waited for the right applicant.

@Jonathan Orr ,@James Wise I wonder if it's the timing because students are only start looking now for apartments. Maybe I posted during the wrong time when nobody is looking. Or am I just find a reason for my unrented place :)  I haven't looked into what others are renting out at. I just charged according to Zillow. Maybe I will reach out to an agent. Thanks for your advices

Originally posted by @Vy Mai :

@Jonathan Orr ,@James Wise I wonder if it's the timing because students are only start looking now for apartments. Maybe I posted during the wrong time when nobody is looking. Or am I just find a reason for my unrented place :)  I haven't looked into what others are renting out at. I just charged according to Zillow. Maybe I will reach out to an agent. Thanks for your advices

 Your overthinking.

You put it up for rent, it has not rented. Lower the price until it rents.

Oh Zillow's estimates are generally pretty off base unless you mean you looked at other rental listings on Zillow.

@Vy Mai , a month is too long.  But the issue you may be facing, being in a college town, most students are looking to move out or back home in the summer months.  I expect that it would rent very quickly in the late summer for the Fall semester of school.

So you are going to have to increase your marketing.  Flyers in coffee shops, CL, Zillow, etc. 

Do you charge prospective tenants a fee for turning in their applications, to cover the cost of a credit check?  If so, maybe waive that fee.

Hello from Beijing :)

My brother and me started long distant rental properties adventure, I live in Beijing and he lives in Sf bay area and we bought a duplex in Irvington, Indianapolis, we found local contractors and renew it, and then we sign a contract with a local PM. Now  PM is not a guy that replies to emails so fast and that kinda worries us, usually we need to write him 2-3 emails before he would reply, and that is not really good, especially at the beginning of our cooperation. That duplex is on the market from June the 1st, today is June 15th, and nothing happened. Maybe our PM have bigger projects, maybe some of the investors want him and his team to do renovation so it is a bigger business for him, or maybe this is just the regular procedure, it is our first property and basically we are still learning about all of this, but the facts are that we are paying for the mortgage, electricity,water, somebody needs to cut the grass especially in this period of the year ( we don't even know is the grass cut or not) and so on.

So I was trying to find out what is the normal period in which the professional PM is going to find tenants and rent the property? I have found on these blogs that it is around 30 days? Or should it be less when there is a professional PM?

Thanks in advance for your answers.


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@Nikki N. I’d say it can vary but 1-2 months is probably a safe bet.

I’d be concerned if it takes 2-3 tries to get your PM to reply. Mine both respond within 24 hours sometimes much less (think less than an hour) assuming it’s during the week.

Student rentals are very seasonal for when they look. If you miss the season you can have longer time to fill. Also the price is usually a per bedroom price for the area. If you have one less desirable bedroom you may need to discount for that. If you had 5 groups look with no one really interested you could go back to them and survey what they chose and why to find out where you fall short.

@Nikki N. Irvington is a pretty hot little area. Our company has had a little more problems with 1 bedrooms this year, but in general our SFR's are leased in about 10 days or less. Our 1-2 bedroom multi's can take a little longer, but usually not longer than 30 days, especially this time of year. If something is not renting, there are several possibilities.

Not marketed well

Have you verified that it is listed online? Where is it listed?


Have you lowered the price? We start considering lowering the price about 10 days in depending on the activity level and feedback from prospective tenants.

Poor condition/marketability

Is the home in a fresh and desirable condition? Does it feel dingy or grimy? How does in smell when you first walk in? Here's a pro trick... Have them paint the entryway or at least open a can of paint in the coat closet near the front door. Fresh paint smell triggers a response from your prospective tenants. It's like the "new car" smell.

Unresponsive leasing team

I can't tell you how many times our leasing agents get told that they are the only ones who answer or call back. Many PM's (including ourselves) are utilizing automated self show technologies, but a lot of PM's have gotten away from the actually showing the homes in person because of this technology. If they are only relying on technology, they are probably missing opportunities.

I would recommend googling the address. Find the listings. Review the listing descriptions and pictures.

Call the leasing number. Do they answer? If not, leave a message. Did they call back? If you can get in touch with someone, just tell them that you are relocating to Indianapolis and looking for a place and hear that Irvington was a pretty nice community. Tell them that you are flying in over the weekend and would like to visit the property. Are they easy to schedule with? Are they accommodating? Are they pre-screening to ensure that you are even a likely qualified prospect?

Have someone local visit the home. What's their take on the physical condition of the home? Is the curb appeal inviting? Does the home feel fresh and clean? Is there anything unusual that stands out (stain on carpet, torn lino in kitchen, scuff marks on walls or doors, etc.)

Personally, I think that your property manager is probably wearing too many hats and falling behind on communication because of the workload. If their business model doesn't meet your needs, I would consider finding a new PM. I don't recommend choosing based on price alone as the pricing models only vary a few hundred dollars each year from PM to PM, but a bad PM can cost you thousands of dollars by allowing your home to sit vacant, allowing problematic tenants in to the property, not managing the tenants well, not maintenancing the properties well, etc.

Something to consider... Imagine a world built by the lowest bidders!

@Nikki N. I wouldn't be concerned if it's only 2 weeks. A lot depends on how many bedrooms it is also. 1Br will generally take longer to rent than 2Br. What you want to know is what the activity level is. How many calls have they gotten? How many showings have they had? What are prospective tenants saying? I'd be more concerned about your PM not responding. That is not a good sign.

All of you guys are great, I really, really appreciate all the advice that you gave me, the property was pretty bad when we bought it but i think that it is pretty good now. Both me and my brother live very far away so we didn't actually go there after the renovation, and then we don't know all of these things that Ross mentioned, but yeah, I guess we all agree that not replying to emails is not good and that the communication is not good. We would rather wait for much longer if necessary in order to get good and stable tenants then to rush into it and then get tenants that will be a nightmare for us, but we just want to feel that things are going into the right direction. So I hope that in the future period things will be much better, that the communication will be better, that we will have the tenants as most of you suggested, around 30 days after the duplex was put on the market and that the tenants will be good and stable.

I will let you know what happened.

And thanks to all of you good people out there!