How long does it usually take to Rent a unit?

18 Replies

Hey guys, I just purchased a duplex and I'm trying to rent out the bottom, bigger unit. I have had it listed for about a week and I've done about 5 showings. The first few days I received about 70 messages from people inquiring, but very few meet my criteria. I didn't initially want pets, but it seems everyone has at least 1 dog. Now I'm only getting 3-10 Messages per day. Sometimes people get there and don't like that it's a duplex and they have to share laundry, some don't like that it doesn't have central Air, and some just don't make enough money to qualify or have bad credit. My question is... How long does it usually take you to get a unit rented out after purchasing? I am a new landlord and have the income for the upstairs unit, but it looks like I'm going to have to fork up some $$ for the first month's mortgage. Am I being impatient or does it usually take A month or so to get a qualified tenant in there? Coming up to the winter months I'm nervous it'll only become harder to find someone! Not sure if I should drop the price or hold out a bit longer.

I use property management companies to rent out all of my units and it takes 1-2 weeks to find a tenant. Then 1-2 weeks after that for them to move in.

@Matthew John

As you can imagine, it is highly dependent, market, property and the rent you are demanding.  I invest in rural areas of North Florida and I'll have maybe 5 showings per week and have the property rented in two weeks.  Some places, people are waiting in line for a rental.  

I'd focus on getting feedback.  If the unit lingers on the market, you can think about possible improvements to market to the type of renter you are seeking.  You could also try target marketing, where you run ads in selected publications or locations to go for a specific market (like retired people, military, etc).  

Sounds like you aren't having trouble getting traffic, though.  Just a matter of hitting the tenant you want.  

@Joe Hines that's not a bad idea, but there's some more upfront costs to marketing. What websites do you post on? I've posted a couple times on Facebook Marketplace and there's where I've gotten 70 messages in total, but everyone either no shows the showing or doesn't meet criteria. I am on Trulia and Zillow and getting 1-3 messages per day from there, but no luck with a for sure tenant. Is there any big website I am missing?
@Antoine Martel This is my first rental duplex so a PM wouldn't make sense right now since it's completely manageable and I want the experience. As far as numbers, I'm trying to rent the bottom unit for $1000 (water & internet included) and the top is $600 (water and internet included). I paid 105k and my mortgage is $864. I can do the PM on there eventually, but I'm still kind of a noob looking to gain experience before scaling.

Getting it into the MLS is the key. I was thinking about local publications. Also, I've offered bonuses to RE agents, especially those that seem to get a lot of relocations. That's been a great source of leads for me. In fact, I think I'm running about 30% of my 15 units rented by people who have relocated.

@Joe Hines Without being a REA, can I post my property for rent on the MLS?
@Matthew John try posting on Zillow rental manager. It is free and will post the unit to hot pads and trulia automatically. I found this a MUCH better source of decenf quality tenants than Facebook marketplace or Craigslist.
@Matthew John I’ll add that detroit metro/Michigan is a tough market for good tenants, prices are still low enough that most people with good credit buy rather than rent. You may need to have some flexibility on your credit requirements...if they have solid income, good rental history, no evictions/convictions - grab them before the weather gets cold. You need to fill the spot before the end of October or the odds of finding someone solid will go down significantly. Lastly, double check that your unit isn’t overpriced...might be worth it to price it a bit under what the competition is charging just to get folks in the door before winter hits and increase interest? Good luck with it!

it could be priced too high for what it is.  if the place is nice, you can get more, if not you'll get less.  simple logic.

@Ericka Grant Thank you! I have it posted on Zillow Rental Manager and have gotten a decent amount of leads from Trulia and Zillow, none from Hot Pads. 

At first I was saying no pets, but it turns out pretty much everyone has a dog so I'm trying to be flexible. I lowered rent to $975 on FB and it's $1000 everywhere else, I'm getting roughly equal leads. 

I added Internet to the rent as an extra incentive over the competitors, but yes winter is quickly approaching and I'm getting anxious. I have roughly 15 appointments this week so far, not all of them show/most want to reschedule. 

Is it smarter to do a 6 month lease to get off winter cycles and then renew 1 year+ starting from spring? Is it normal for you to wait 1+ weeks to get a unit rented? I feel like it's not that long but also feel like I'm not getting a lot of luck with quality people.

@Matthew John

Just a recommendation, stop doing appointments. Do showings instead this will reduce the time you are spending. Plus side is you schedule time for showing if say 5 out of 10 don't show up you still have 5 that do. Also this creates more interested in the the rental as people don't like to lose out to another tenant.

Originally posted by @Matthew John :

@Ericka Grant Thank you! I have it posted on Zillow Rental Manager and have gotten a decent amount of leads from Trulia and Zillow, none from Hot Pads. 

At first I was saying no pets, but it turns out pretty much everyone has a dog so I'm trying to be flexible. I lowered rent to $975 on FB and it's $1000 everywhere else, I'm getting roughly equal leads. 

I added Internet to the rent as an extra incentive over the competitors, but yes winter is quickly approaching and I'm getting anxious. I have roughly 15 appointments this week so far, not all of them show/most want to reschedule. 

Is it smarter to do a 6 month lease to get off winter cycles and then renew 1 year+ starting from spring? Is it normal for you to wait 1+ weeks to get a unit rented? I feel like it's not that long but also feel like I'm not getting a lot of luck with quality people.

You are coming into a tougher rental period but i think your mindset on triggers to stay competitive will help. Remember concessions are sometimes key.

Are you using property management? Would you be willing to use PM to at least help fill the unit?

@Matthew John - You can rent just fine without hiring an agent for mls. If you aren’t motivated to do showings and market your property though, I recommend hiring a pm or agent. I try to minimize vacancy for my customers just like it was my own investment property.

Post OPEN HOUSE for your rental on Zillow. It’ll bump it up to the top of the app searches. Make your pictures bright and attractive. Make your descriptions abundantly clear. Also post Facebook marketplace, craigslist, Facebook yard sale, community websites, Nextdoor

Write up a canned reply to zillow / email leads and save it on your phone and computer. I have two - one for texts and Facebook messages. Another for Zillow emails. My Facebook one says - Thank you for your interest in 123 Main St! Our next open house to tour is Sat 2-4pm. 2 bedrooms 1 bath $795/mo rent. $1000 security deposit. Income of $2500/mo and 600+ credit score required. No smoking. Animals negotiable.

My longer email reply includes a link to an online application and background check (something like cozy works) and a link to a quick 2 minute tell me more about you google form (because I’m an agent and happy to tour them other properties if this one isn’t a fit.)

I always clearly detail my (or the owners) minimum rental requirements so people who won’t qualify do not waste time. No, we can’t prorate the security deposit over 6 months for you...

@Clifford Paul This was my first thought. Ironically, it back fired. I had 5 interested people and told them I was going to do an open house. Turned out, none of them showed. I've gotten about a 50% success rate with people showing to their appointment. I have had 3 applications. 1 had too much debt. 1 called shortly after applying saying they don't think they want it because it has a window AC unit and not central air. The other had 3 dogs and thinks there will be an issue with them barking and disturbing the upstairs tenant, they backed out about 2 hours after submitting an application. So far I'm still looking. I've done about 10 showings with people showing up and probably scheduled 25 appointments total.
@Bjorik Mutize I just do not see a point in wasting $1000+ just to get them to rent it when I can do the same thing myself & I gain experience by meeting potential tenants and doing all the paperwork.
@Natalie Schanne I'm super motivated to get it rented & do showings, I just get a little bit down when people put in an application and call a few hours later second guessing it & wanting their money back. I'm on all of the above websites with good pics & descriptions. (I think) Here is my listing, would you mind giving me honest feedback - https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7319-Wiegand-Center-Line-MI-48015/83476201_zpid/ I prescreen every message to make sure they qualify on paper, the problem is getting them inside and then converting that to a successful application. I've done roughly 10 showings. I've scheduled roughly 20-25 appointments. I've gotten 3 applications. 1 didn't qualify after the check, 2 decided not to move forward shortly after doing the application because it doesn't have Central Air & the other has 3 dogs and thinks they'll be too loud for the other tenant upstairs. Originally I wanted no pets, but almost everyone has a pet so I opened it to dogs, no cats still. The house beats every other one on the market near it & people have loved the house. I've gotten some hesitation that it's a duplex, no central air, and shared washer/dryer & basement. Everyone that messages me, I talk to and pre screen. Every Zillow lead, I call & do not email. Any suggestions? Thank you

Check this link.MACOMB RENT

It appears your area has 325 properties for rent.  I would price it 10% lower to get it rented quickly. 

It takes one to occupy the place but if it does not work out it will take a long time to disengage a bad tenant.

@Sam Shueh https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7319-Wiegand-Center-Line-MI-48015/83476201_zpid/ I have posted the property on Zillow & ive gotten about 20 leads from there this week. The problem is not all show for the appointment and some have cats or don't meet other qualifications.

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