Tips on getting a condo rented in North Capitol Hill, Denver

11 Replies

Hey Everyone!

I'm looking for tips on getting a renter into my condo which is located near 17th Ave. and N Pearl Street in North Capitol Hill.  Although I managed to find someone to rent out my second room in this condo while I was (still am) living there over the past year, this is my first time ever marketing for actual tenants to fill a property in which I will not be living.

Based on the research I've done, it seems like North Cap Hill generally demands pretty high rent, especially compared to the average in the 80203 zip code, so I've listed it accordingly.  Unfortunately I haven't gotten much interest so far.  My condo is a 2 bed 2 bath, with 1,197 square feet and is within walking distance to downtown, tons of bars, light rail stations, etc.  It's in a great location and is a very nice condo so it seems to me that if I'm not getting interest then the problem is with me and my marketing, not with the condo.  I'm curious if that's the case.

I started the listing at $2,400/Mo. and when that got over 100 views with zero inquiries over the span of a week I dropped it to $2,175 last Friday.  I have it listed through Padmappers (which gets it on Zillow, Zumper, and Trulia as well), Hotpads, and Craigslist.  It is available starting January 1st.  I'd love to hear from experienced property managers what their take is on my approach so far.  Is it just a matter of timing?  Do I need to decrease the rent more to reach the appropriate set of potential tenants?  Is there something I could do better with my listing?  I'd appreciate any advice or thoughts!

Here is a link to my listing on Hotpads for reference:

Thanks for the help!

We're in a bit of a seasonal slump right now.  In Denver, my rentals usually languish through November and December with interest building again at the first of January.

If you're desperate to get it rented, you may have to lower the price to get interest, but if you can hang on til mid January, you may have a better shot at getting your price.

This is just my experience.  I hate when vacancies happen between November and February as it seems like nobody wants to move during or right after the holidays.  I try to time my leases so that they renew in spring or summer, sometimes doing 9 or 14 month leases.  

Also try the facebook groups for advertising.  There's one in Denver called "Rental Market" where I get some pretty decent hits as well as the Denver Buy Sell Free Group and stuff like that.

No one likes to hear this...

...but if you are getting views, then people are seeing your listing.  And if they are seeing your listing and not calling about it/applying, then the issue is almost always price.

I don't see anything egregiously wrong with the condo.  The kitchen is a little dated-looking, but basically fine.  Your listing language is fine, and you aren't doing any of the stupid things many landlords do, like use very prescriptive language or listing lots of rules.  You're allowing pets with a very reasonable deposit.  The photos are good, though I might re-take the city skyline view shot in such a way as to cut off the AC units on the neighboring roof.

So I really don't think you are doing anything wrong, which to me reinforces my belief that the issue is probably price.

In my area, this is a dead-slow time to be trying to rent.  To the extent that I go way out of my way to be sure I am NOT trying to rent now.  If I were you, I would try to sign someone to either a 6 month or 18 month lease, so next time you are renting, it is in the Spring, not late Fall.

Good luck.

I agree with @Linda Weygant on this. It's tougher to find tenants in Denver during the winter months. And, while this is speculation, I suspect that this higher-end condo is likely going to suffer even harder than properties like mine that are lower end. I suspect that folks are always looking for a low-cost rental, but that folks that might want a higher end listing are more likely to be looking at the traditional times in the Spring/Summer. 

Your ad is beautiful, and aside from some of the very minor tweaks that @Richard C. mentions, I think that your problem is probably price and seasonality. Maybe you get this rent, maybe not, but your odds are better in the Spring/summer. To avoid facing this problem again, consider a 7-8 month lease, or alternatively a 19-20 month lease that expires in the peak of rental season. 

Lastly, have you considered selling? Again, I'm speculating, but I see listings for properties that look similar to this for $350,000+. While this may not be the best time to sell either, it's something to consider with a property like this, especially if you've lived there for a few years and maybe qualify for a tax-free capital gain-- talk to an accountant first. You may be able to redeploy the equity into investments that have more cash flow potential and that are more traditional income-producing properties. 

Have you tried mentioning it on Next Door or in a community Facebook group?  I've seen people looking for places to stay on both (West Wash Park area mostly).

Hi Evan, 

In my personal opinion, the photos angles appear to make the rooms look smaller. It may be best to redo some of your photos and have some better lighting. Another problem may be the rent price. You should take advantage of rent estimate reports to see what others with a 2 bed and 2 bathrooms are pricing their condos at in your area. I would do this before dropping your price any lower! One more problem could just be timing. It is a hard time of the year to rent compared to summer months and it is still a few months away from move in. I'm sure closer to January you'll start to see more inquiries.

Good luck! I hope this helps! 

Those pics are terrible compared to what you can get if you hire a pro. Spend $150 and goto get walkthrough dot com. I use them for my listings. I don't think you need the matterport, but it's a bonus. 

I'd drop the price. Waiting til Jan means you lose a months rent, unless you really think you'll get $2400. 

I agree with Matt, if you want to command the most rent then take good pictures. Virtuance also does a great job with pictures and 10 hd pics is like 99 dollars. 

If you are thinking about selling, let me know and I can pull some comps and see how fast the sales churn is in the neighborhood.

Thanks for the replies everyone!  I really appreciate the direct feedback.

@Scott Trench and @Kevin Grinstead , I bought this condo in December 2016 so the equity isn't there to make selling a good option.  The reason I'm listing it for rent is in order to purchase my next property and the new one is a lot more oriented toward cash flow and less focused on an amazing location.

On that note, I won't be able to move out of my condo until the end of December in order to fulfill my one-year owner occupied obligation so that's why I can't make it available until January 1st.  I guess these aren't the most ideal conditions in which to start in on renting, but I am just trying to keep moving as quickly as I can.  Hopefully the timing won't end up being a deal breaker.

@Linda Weygant and @Ed E. thanks for the recommendations!  I'll definitely have to post it on those sites.

Thanks again for the tips everyone!  

@Evan Miller as others have said, price is typically the driving force. I did a quick Zillow search for the zip code and there are lots of available units. I don't know enough about the area to compare the higher priced ones with yours but there are quite a few below the $2k mark. In addition, there are many studios around the $1k. Generally speaking most 2 bd units go to roommates and my thinking is if people can get a studio for the same price or less than a roommate situation, they will take the studio. 

That said, looking for someone two months out is not likely to happen. Most tenants look for their new place between 40 and 25 days before the end of their current lease. Starting sooner means lots of looky-loos but few takers unless it's a real bargain. It's true that some folks are looking on-line now and gauging the market but they are not ready to pull the trigger. After a few weeks people will see it as a stale listing and will assume there is something wrong or it would have rented. Once you hit that point, the only way you attract folks is by lowering the price. My advise is to take down the ad and wait until after Thanksgiving. In the mean time, watch rents. See what units rent when compared to those that sit on the market. Remember big complexes always have available units so their ads stay up perpetually. Also, take some tours and see what the competition is in the various price points. If you are competitively priced then make sure your ad highlights the key items.

@Bill S. Thanks for that advise.  Very helpful.  I did notice that there are a lot of units in the area.  The wide variety made it difficult to tell exactly what my unit should rent for, although I did think $2,200-$4,200 is likely a pretty good range.

You recommended taking the post down and waiting until after Thanksgiving.  Would it have the same effect to keep it up until then just in case someone's really planning ahead, and then just repost it after Thanksgiving?  Or is there no way to make the post appear fresh after it's been listed for a few weeks?

Thanks again for the feedback, that's really good information. 

This time of year is hard and I agree about the pictures. If you don't want to spend $100, consider running the current pictures through I have done it in the past in a pinch and they came out decent (better than the photos I took). 

Have you considered traveling nurses? A co worker of mine has done that in the past. He reached out to the nearby hospitals and they would place traveling nurses there for a number of months. Just a thought. 

Not that this helps but I recently read this article. It basically validates what you are saying are your issues. High(er) end apartments are harder to rent currently with so many new complexes going up. 

Good luck! 

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