I'm a first time landlord and took the dive after a long time of reading the forums and of course listening to the BP Podcast. I live in the Boston area and the apartment in question is located in the Ashmont / Peabody Square area of Dorchester. I'm getting a decent amount of "hits," but no solid takers, people either decide not to show up or don't get back to me. Some of mentioned the size is too small for them, but it's really intended for one individual as it's only 450 sq. feet. Would you mind taking a look at my Craigslist post and possibly offer a suggestion on how to entice more people?
It looks gorgeous! I like all the pictures except the very last rooftop one, which looks sort of random.
It also looks bigger in the photos than you describe - maybe people come thinking it's going to be larger? Should you put the square footage in the ad? Also, considering the size, is it a good value for the local market, in terms of average rent price per square foot?
Hey Rachel thanks for the response!
Thank you very much, I took the pictures, maybe I was a little too aggressive with trying to make it feel spacious? The rooftop pictures are just the north and south view from the shared roof deck upstairs. I may need to instead use a photo that shows the actual roof deck space instead of the view.
I'll need to take a second look at average rent, I thought I was pretty on par but maybe I overlooked. Thanks again.
@Christian Nachtrieb I checked out the ad. Pictures/Apt look great. Maybe be more clear in the ad it's a 1bd/bath, size of apt and ideal for 1 person or a couple only. Including a diagram of apt layout helps sometimes.
I'm unfamiliar with the area, so I would say to check rental comps and make sure your price is on par/competitive with others. Sometimes if there's a lot of rentals on the market (same neighborhood and finishes) I undercut the competition by $50 to get a tenant in quickly. Stay patient.. my first place.. I think I showed the place over a dozen times and screen 4 people until I finally got the right tenant in there. But that paid for itself as my tenant took great care of the place, paid on time, and ended up staying for 3 years! Perfect timing.. they moved out and I increased rent with only having to do a quick cleaning of the apt because it was in great original shape (I did high end renovations when I first rented it).
Good luck to you
Thanks @Mike B. I appreciate it. That's good advice I will rework some of the copy as well. Question for you.. how long would you hang out for a solid tenant.. 1 month, 2? I don't want to eat into profits so much so that I'm getting burned right?
Hey @Christian Nachtrieb - great listing and photos. One thing I noticed is the rent listed in the headline ($1600) is different than the rent listed in the ad ($1650). Good luck!
@Christian Nachtrieb that depends. My duplex apt (in the past) was listed end of summer, so I held out for a few weeks and in the end, my great tenants didnt want to sign a lease until the following month. That sucked, but they also gave me deposit and 1st month rent in advance so I was ok with that.
The waiting period is up to you. I would say no more then 1 month. IF you're able to wait, then you can wait but realize we are in October.. approaching holidays.. if you don't find a renter for this month or Nov.. it may not rent out until beginning of 2018 as most people focus on holidays etc.. and not house/apt shopping.
Hey @Christian Nachtrieb , the unit looks great! How long have you been trying to fill it for? Do you have this listed on the MLS? I’m surprised you haven’t gotten any serious leads.
@DJ Richmond Like a month basically. It is On the MLS, but the agent who listed it listed it as exclusive right to rent so I'm afraid that's a little bit of a disincentive for other agents to try. So I'm going with a different agent now who's relisting it in the next couple days after it's taken down
DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT put in the listing that it is "ideal for 1 person or couple" you will get your *** sued so for discrimination so fast it will make your head spin (or at least flagged on CL). The square footing listed in the ad tells people exactly who it will fit. Your timing isn't good, in my experience in the area, august and September are the peak times to move, so that is probably hurting you. See if your potential tenant is willing to do a 10 or 11 month lease to get you back in the sweet spot.
Are you doing individual appointments or group showings? I find that having a couple "open houses" that gets as many people there as possible is the best way to go. Cuts down on the time you need to be there and hopefully you get 3-4 groups show up at the same time to create a little competition or urgency. I tell everyone that come through "This is going to go fast. if you are interested let me know ASAP, because I am renting it to the 1st qualified tenant that gets an application in" IF you use Cozy or another software, you can do a background check, e-sign a lease and collect payment within 15 minutes.
Is 1st, last, and sec deposit standard? I've always done 1st months rent and security deposit at time of lease signing, but I might be the outlier.
I would also put some info in the listing about what your background/credit check requirements are... I.e. min 650 credit score, no felonies, no prior evictions, proof of income... whatever your criteria is.
Good luck & welcome to the club!
hey @Matt Leonard That’s really helpful thank you. Yea I’m bummed about the timing, unfortunately the seller’s agent ended up being an idiot and he caused a 3 week delay in closing and I got the keys on 8/28, not enough time to do the work it needed and get it ready so I’m stuck with the timing.
I will try your advice of doing a group showing but even that might be hard as I’m not able to get enough volume with interested parties. Will also try some new headlines and potentially lowering price again. Thanks!
I just checked the MLS and it looks like its already been cancelled, so you should get that re-listed ASAP. I didn't notice anything wrong with the listing itself, I've seen much worse. I assume the fee is coming from the tenant?
My rental was opened during spring and it took me 2+ months to find a good tenant. Actually , they came in about a month but they had to give notice so I waited. I thought that it would be faster too but they are great tenants.
It just may be timing. Hang in there!
@Christian Nachtrieb have you tried listing on Zillow rental manager? I just rented out one of my units that had been on Craigslist for a 2-3 weeks yielding a slow flow of lackluster candidates and as soon as I posted on Zillow rental manager I had a flood of excellent prospects and rented it to a great tenant within the week. He paid and moved in the day he saw the unit - head and shoulders above the folks who applied from CL. It's a free app so it might be worth a look?
Hey @Ericka G. are you talking about the iPhone app specifically or just the Zillow rental network in general? I believe it's fed from the MLS listing, which is a little frustrating because that means I can't edit anything :-/ It's got a great design and layout though!
I think your post looks great! Love the place. When talking with prospective renters I think it's important to create value over the phone. Emphasis the features and benefits, get them excited, and when they show and decide not to rent... ask them what is preventing you from making this your home today?
This gives you the opportunity to figure out what there thinking, and address any concerns. Hope that helps.
@Christian Nachtrieb I posted my ad on Zillow rental manager without a realtor or access to MLS. I initially set it up on my laptop and then downloaded the app so I could communicate with prospective tenants on the go. Zillow feeds the listing to other sites like Trulia and you as the owner have the ability to edit it. If your listing is on MLS your unit is probably already showing up on these sites, so perhaps that tip won't help as much in your case. My main point was that I've kind of given up on Craigslist as a good source of tenants...but it sounds like you've covered your bases on sites so it may be a price issue or perhaps time of year like other posters suggested
Requiring first, last and security deposit seems like a lot.. i mean you're requiring someone to give you nearly $5K upfront, that's a lot of money! I don't know your market, so that might be normal.. but could you do first month and security deposit, and maybe up the security deposit or require a higher credit score? That's the biggest red flag. The apt itself is gorgeous! Could you try a move-in incentive?
Also, to deal with no-shows, I'd suggest offering 2 showings on the weekends. We always do Saturday at 11AM, and Sunday at 2PM--- it gives people 2 options to see the place, and doesn't waste your time. Granted if someone is a super strong lead we make exceptions, but in general, we've found that to be the most efficient use of our time. Also, make sure to send follow up emails confirming with people.
Is craigslist the only place you have it listed? Out here some of the younger people are using Zillow/Trulia/Hotpads more than craigslist. Worth a try listing it in a few other places if things are slow.
@Christian Nachtrieb Looks OK to me but what are the Comp rents?
We only advertise on CL.
What's the heat and what did it cost last year??
I'd give it until November 1 then AirBnB it!
PS I'd wait forever for a Qualifying Tenant, you don't need a Professional Tenant to educate you...
@Christian Nachtrieb it is really difficult to get an idea of the layout from your current photos. 450 sqft is not a lot of space, so in order for someone to see how they could configure that, I'd recommend adding in a floor plan drawing. It's easy to do on websites like smartdraw.com. You simply take measurements and add them into their generator and can create one. I think that will help potential renters imagine how they'd configure the space.
@Ariel Vincent That's a good idea and you're the second person to recommend a floor plan, I never thought of that, yet stupidly always remember being tripped up on floor layouts myself, haha. I'll give that site a look, I may have to take some exact measurements of each room to make it accurate. Thank you very much!
we had a hard time finding tenants due to bad timing too, so we did AirBnB. It worked out great and might be a good option for you too if you live close by.
Also, I think since it's a small space and if you stage right, people can imagine themselves living in it better. So on days when you don't have AirBnB booked, you can bring people in to show the apartment. This is based on my experience and wish you luck