Is there something wrong with my listing?

34 Replies

I closed on my first investment property on the 6th this month. a couple of days later I listed it for rent. Since then Ive had dozens of calls but only 2 people have shown up for a tour of the property and 4 people have asked for an application. So far I have not received and applicants. https://www.trulia.com/rental/4036759641-534-Atkin...

I believe I have priced my house competitively. Mine is the cheapest 3 bedroom house available  between 900 and 1200 sq feet. The two major difference is mine has 1 bath and the others have 2 baths and across the street from my house is one of the many low income trailer parks in town.

On Zillow my house is tending in the top 10% in the area. On Trulia my house was the most viewed in the last week and its a best value.

I want to assume its just my local market but I am getting nervous. The average listing of similar homes is 32 days old with the oldest being 95. My listing is only 20 days old.  

Perhaps my qualifications are too tough for my market. these are the qualifications I share with my callers.

550 credit score 

no evictions

no recent criminal history

and 3* monthly rent in gross income

I know nothing about your area, but going on photos alone, if I were a renter, I'd probably see the photos and pass... I think it's purely a photography issue but also the place needs a little more curb appeal on the outside. Although actually your place looks pretty nice, some of the photos don't show it at its best light. For example, when I click the link, the first photo I see is just of a couple windows. The second photo is the landscape, and it needs curb appeal - some desert plants or rocks or grass or something - the yard looks bare to me. Then an entrance that could be jazzed up with some planters or something, because it also looks bare... Kitchen is really nice, maybe feature that photo sooner? Also the lighting is a little dark, except in the bathroom pictures... and I would delete random shots of closets, bathroom storage, etc. 

If I were you, I'd jazz up the yard a little, the entry, and re-shoot the photos with better lighting, featuring the kitchen first...

I agree with Rachel. New pictures needed. Maybe a couple pieces of staging (table chairs, bed...). It’s a rental with no fridge. Never heard of a rental that you bring your own. Front of the house could use some drought resistant plants. Just my 2 cents.

Hey Thomas,

From a visual point of view:

After reviewing your Trulia listing, I would recommend taking down photos that seem a bit random, like picture of the drawers and closets (7,10,&11). Only put up one, maybe two pictures of the most important rooms (kitchen and bath). I don’t think it’s necessary to take photos of every bedroom. When it comes to pictures, I believe that less is more. If you can, try and make the photos all the same brightness and of the same high quality. Look at how bigger companies advertise their homes and what angles they take their photos. First impressions are very important.

Also, think about staging the home if you have some extra furniture. If you do, I recommend staging the master bedroom (a second bedroom is optional), the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Do your research and make it look like the Bed and Bath advertisements. Look on Pinterest for inspiration.

From an incentive point of view:

Hiring an agent to list your property gives you access to high marketing and low effort.

Another way you could attract attention is by offering a month (or two) of free rent to anyone who is approved and signs the lease by November 15th, for example. If you choose to do this, I would recommend asking for maximum security deposit and money first month’s rent down at signing.

From a marketing point of view:

We have access to so many social media platforms, it would be a shame if we do not take advantage. Share the link within your community pages in Facebook, share it on LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and even on BP. Look into how to better utilize social media to your advantage: free advertising.

I hope this helps! Best of luck to you.

-Elvis

I recently bought my first rental and was trying for about four weeks to get it rented. I showed it to about 50 people and they allsaid they loved the place, but hardly any of them followed through to sign up for the credit/background check (which is where they actually pay he application fee). I was starting to lose faith and considered lowering my standards, and then I got three good applicants that all wanted the house. So if you think you are priced right (I lowered mine after three weeks), stick with it and you’ll get a match. And taking better pictures and improving curb appeal will also help a lot. I was using Craigslist at first, but once I posted to Zillow (which posts to Trulia and Hotpads for you) I got a ton more applicants.

Thanks for the advice. I advertised my house through turbo tenant and selected the picture order. I don't know why the trulia listing has the picture order differently. I thinned down the pictures to the best. I've been working on the yard which was over grown when I bought it. I made 4 trips to the dump with just yard waste. I plan to plant 2 trees with a couple bushes or something. Not a lot of landscaping being done in town now that we have designated watering days and times. 

You are getting a lot of lookers but they aren't buying. That means there's something wrong with your presentation or with your product. I think it's your presentation.

1. Turn on the lights! When taking photographs, get as much light as possible. Keep the blinds or curtains closed if it is too bright outside to avoid too much contrast.

2. Creative angles. Pictures should show three sides of every room and try to get as much of the room in the picture as possible.

3. Always leave them wanting more! You don't need two pictures of the bathroom or a close-up of the built-in storage cubby. Train yourself on how to take better pictures or even video. Here is a FREE course that is full of good information. I've taken it myself and it really improved my video techniques.

Hang in there. It can always be tough to get started.

The rental market is slowing down everywhere.. In my area, houses that used to rent $5500 are now sitting for weeks at $5000....easily a 10% to 15% drop from 6 months ago...

I am not familar with your market, but maybe it is slowing down too just like where I am...

I'm a real estate agent out of Denver. I INSIST that all all my sellers get professional pictures taken. I find deals by looking at properties that have been on the market way too long. Most of these properties have crappy iPhone pictures with bad lighting. I would personally spend the money to hire a professional photographer "even a starving college student with photo skills" to create some great photos. You can use these same photos over and over each time you rent the place, provided it hasn't really changed.

Professional pictures can make a HUGE difference. Also, cleaning up the yard, etc will be a major help. We are all subject to making decisions on first impressions. Pro pictures should cost under 100. I got several taken on a listing and got lots of compliments on "my" photography. We got one showing...got a contract for near full price. 

Originally posted by @Dustin Frank :

I'm a real estate agent out of Denver. I INSIST that all all my sellers get professional pictures taken. I find deals by looking at properties that have been on the market way too long. Most of these properties have crappy iPhone pictures with bad lighting. I would personally spend the money to hire a professional photographer "even a starving college student with photo skills" to create some great photos. You can use these same photos over and over each time you rent the place, provided it hasn't really changed.

 Completely agree.  I didn't realize how much pictures mattered until I was selling a house by owner.

For $100 I saved myself time and aggravation-  oh and listing agent commissions of $8000.  

You mentioned the trailer park across the street, but not the fact this is essentially an industrial area.  Tire store, granite dealer, car parts, car wash, and a laundromat are the neighbors.   What's with the property next door that has just to garage doors facing the street?  There's another of these on the other side, three properties down.  On rentometer the other rentals that show up are in residential areas.  I think the neighborhood is going to hurt this house.  In a case like this, I think your best bet is to put a sign in the yard.  Anyone who calls has seen the area and knows what they're getting into.  The pictures may not be the best, but I think its the neighborhood that's the real problem.

I’m still in the learning phase of investing so I looked at this as a renter and my issues would be:
1) it looks like there is no grass in the front yard so it’s going to be mud everywhere every time I go outside.
2) there’s almost no counter space in the kitchen to prep a meal
3) there’s not much room to maneuver around at the front door because of the white posting to the left. Am I going to get my furniture in the front?
4) it’s really dark in the house based on the pictures.

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman :

You mentioned the trailer park across the street, but not the fact this is essentially an industrial area.  Tire store, granite dealer, car parts, car wash, and a laundromat are the neighbors.   What's with the property next door that has just to garage doors facing the street?  There's another of these on the other side, three properties down.  On rentometer the other rentals that show up are in residential areas.  I think the neighborhood is going to hurt this house.  In a case like this, I think your best bet is to put a sign in the yard.  Anyone who calls has seen the area and knows what they're getting into.  The pictures may not be the best, but I think its the neighborhood that's the real problem.

It is a small town pretty much every B- and below is within a couple of blocks of business district. There's a tire store next to city hall.  I didn't expect having a few businesses the next street away to have much of an effect. Especially since this is the only 3 BR house available in town for less than 1k.

Originally posted by @Leanne J. :

I’m still in the learning phase of investing so I looked at this as a renter and my issues would be:
1) it looks like there is no grass in the front yard so it’s going to be mud everywhere every time I go outside.
2) there’s almost no counter space in the kitchen to prep a meal
3) there’s not much room to maneuver around at the front door because of the white posting to the left. Am I going to get my furniture in the front?
4) it’s really dark in the house based on the pictures.

 This is the Mojave Desert. We get less than 5" of rainfall per year.

If Trulia is your only post, then the only applicants you'll get are from those who use Trulia. Perhaps bump up you marketing to a whole new level. Put ads up where ever you can. Sign in the yard, the newspaper, Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Craigslist(delete and repost often to keep your post new and at the top), etc. Reach back out to all those leads you already got, things change and a No last week may turn into a Yes today!

I think the general consensus is photography and curb appeal. I would go with drought resistant shrubs, pebbles, cactii, etc. Then no worries about watering issues.

Familar with your market and the area; I believe the street your property is located on is not the most desirable. It lacks curb appeal and most importantly it doesn't have the 2nd bathroom it heavily needs.

Most tenants in that area will pay extra for a 2nd bathroom  unless they aren't getting a killer deal. 

To your success!

Originally posted by @Rachel N. :

I think the general consensus is photography and curb appeal. I would go with drought resistant shrubs, pebbles, cactii, etc. Then no worries about watering issues.

I agree. I went shopping today I purchased a sign for the yard and priced some plants for the yard. I chose a shade tree and few flowering shrubs. I will add a small palm tree which I have been growing in a pot for a couple of years and some blue agave that I have been wanting to move. I will also look into having new pictures taken professionally. 

The fridge thing is weird and just one more point of friction when a tenant is choosing what property to pursue. 

I recommend re-writing your listing. The wording isn't very inspirational. Try something like:

"High end living at a fraction of the cost. This charming 3 bed/ 1 bath is newly remodeled with all new appliances, energy efficient windows, and granite countertops. The large fenced in yard is perfect for BBQs with friends or for fetch with Fido. Keep your car cool in the garage. Make laundry a breeze by taking advantage of the washer & dryer hookups or the laundry mat on the block. Rent includes garbage services. Pets subject to approval and additional pet deposit."

Include descriptions of nearby attractions or if it's a 5-minute commute to downtown, etc.

Join these groups on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365232820298651/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/821787297888135/

And post on FB and Craigslist. The majority of tenants are not looking on Zillow or Trulia for affordable rentals.

We used to live in Bakersfield. I've been to Ridgecrest.  I totally get the landscaping issue.  Its only marginally wetter here in Denver.

Looking on zillow I do see you're on the lower end.  OTOH, there is a 3/2 that's almost 50% bigger for $1025 a few blocks away, and a few other 3/2 at about that same price.  2/1's are more like $650-750.

Originally posted by @Casey Shultz :

The fridge thing is weird and just one more point of friction when a tenant is choosing what property to pursue. 

I recommend re-writing your listing. The wording isn't very inspirational. Try something like:

"High end living at a fraction of the cost. This charming 3 bed/ 1 bath is newly remodeled with all new appliances, energy efficient windows, and granite countertops. The large fenced in yard is perfect for BBQs with friends or for fetch with Fido. Keep your car cool in the garage. Make laundry a breeze by taking advantage of the washer & dryer hookups or the laundry mat on the block. Rent includes garbage services. Pets subject to approval and additional pet deposit."

Include descriptions of nearby attractions or if it's a 5-minute commute to downtown, etc.

Join these groups on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/365232820298651/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/821787297888135/

And post on FB and Craigslist. The majority of tenants are not looking on Zillow or Trulia for affordable rentals.

 That's great I've always been bad at writing stuff like this. Its wired because I am an artist and engineer. I can make something real that has never existed but I have a hard time describing something that is real.

Looked on Zillow.  When it said comparable rentals, it listed average price as $750.  Yet your price is $950.  That looks bad for your listing.  Is the trailer park bringing your rental price down?  Trulia will only let me see 1 picture unless I register for a showing. The picture is a grey room with 2 small windows.

Also, the front yard looks like it would blow dust in the house and make it a nightmare to keep clean.  Don't they rock the yards to keep it low maintenance in your area.  A dirt yard screams low end property.

Originally posted by @Mary Ann Aulbur :

Looked on Zillow.  When it said comparable rentals, it listed average price as $750.  Yet your price is $950.  That looks bad for your listing.  Is the trailer park bringing your rental price down?  Trulia will only let me see 1 picture unless I register for a showing. The picture is a grey room with 2 small windows.

Also, the front yard looks like it would blow dust in the house and make it a nightmare to keep clean.  Don't they rock the yards to keep it low maintenance in your area.  A dirt yard screams low end property.

 That comparable rental is a 2 bedroom apartment with no yard and not listed sq footage. Zillow is horrible about things like that. 

Also none of the houses I grew up in  in this community had more than a few trees in the front yard. Dust storms in the desert are relatively common it doesn't matter what kind of yard you have there is going to be dust.

What’s with the no criminal history thing? A little harsh if you ask me. Anyone care to answer?

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