For rent in December vs. January?

9 Replies

I just picked up my 2nd SFR in Tacoma, WA and am working on rehabbing it, hoping to be done by the end of November. I realize that this isn't the best time of year to find renters and wonder if people have an opinion on renting it out Dec. 1 vs. Jan. 1, or even waiting until Feb. 1? It's a 3bd/1.5ba and I will have to work hard to have it ready by December. If it's better to list for rent January 1 then I can relax a little with my rehab timeline, though of course the sooner it's rented the better!

I'd list it as soon as you feel you can have it done within a 2 weeks of move in and put move in ready by XXX date in your listing. 

You always have people that will be flexible with a mid month move in and each day it's down, it's not generating income. 

Roll up your sleeves, get her done, and good luck. Make sure you have your lease agreements and other paperwork all set. 

@Peter Grote - I agree with Deanna, always list it ASAP, you want to get cash positive as quickly as possible.

If you really are worried about finding a long-term renter at the end of the year, you can always turn it into an AirBnB rental for the Holiday season and look to transition to being a long-term rental once we hit January/February.

Deanna's advice is perfect - Tacoma's rental market is still in high demand with low inventory.  No need to wait.  Even if you list it now you will have a nice waiting list of people ready to rent from you when it's finished.

Just taking a quick look over on Zillow what is available at the moment ( 3-bed/ 1.5+ bath)

  • 17 homes 3-bed/1.5+ bath in all of the North End.
      Only 6 are under $2k/mo
      Range is $1650 - $4500/mo
  • 1 house in Central Tacoma starting at $1895/mo
  •  2 available in Hill Top starting at $1575/mo
  • 6 homes in South/South End/East areas starting at $1395/mo

What area of Tacoma is your SFR in?

@Scott S. Thanks Scott, both my homes are in East Tacoma. The current 3/1.5 is 4300 block of South L street which appears to be a nice neighborhood. I've met many of the neighbors who all own and have been there for years.

Originally posted by @Peter Grote :

@Scott S. Thanks Scott, both my homes are in East Tacoma. The current 3/1.5 is 4300 block of South L street which appears to be a nice neighborhood. I've met many of the neighbors who all own and have been there for years.

Ah yes, that is in the South End, Lincoln District (generally better than the East) I know that area well.

As many here have mentioned it's a block-by-block case whether it's good or bad in that neighborhood. Good to know most are home owners themselves around your SFR. That will help tremendously and minimize the riff-raff and undesirable troublemakers.

$1400-$1600/mo seems to be the sweet spot for similar rentals in that region.

@Scott S. yes, I'm hoping for $1500. It has a detached garage that's insulated, sheet rocked, concrete slab and additional 900 sf, which should also help! Thanks.

though of course the sooner it's rented the better!........This is not the correct attitude in the rental business.

Advertise asap but......... The sooner the applicant wants the home the higher your risk. Generally someone wanting occupancy sooner is either breaking a existing lease on short notice, being evicted or is not qualifying with any other landlords. Good tenants will be looking 2-3 months ahead. Bad tenants will need it immediately.

Any applicant looking for the 1st of December is one I would be screening extremely thoroughly and would not trust any information the provide at face value. Employment, past landlords, income all of that info I would be hesitant to believe. 

Personally I wouldn't list until I had the final inspection completed.  I know you want to get as much revenue as possible as soon as possible, but construction is too risky and unpredictable and it will cost big bucks if you are contractually obligated and can't fulfill that obligation.

I have found YE/holiday move-ins to be problematic - - "I need to move in asap".  The question to me is WHY?  Lot's of bad planning or were they just thrown out???

IMO, stable tenants (ie desirable) don't want to move YE any more than you would, so a 10-20 day vacancy will not kill my YE PnL and waiting to Jan WILL deliver a better tenant.

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