Tips on getting my Rental home rented!

17 Replies

Hey guys, 

I am new to rental property investing! We are almost ready with our rental home unit and I am looking for tenants. For some reason, I am only getting tenants that don't really meet my minimum qualifications. I have had it listed for less than 10 days. We will be able to show the home starting this weekend officially. (Master bathroom update rehab) Could you guys review my rental and tell me if there is something I can do attract tenants? The price is pretty typical in Denver. 3 Bedroom apartments are going in this area for $2400+Pet Fees+Garage Fees. We are charging $2619+$30 per pet + $35 Utility Fee for Solar Panels, Rain barrels as the home has very low utility bills. 

Thanks in advance for any ideas or tips! 

Originally posted by @John Underwood :

Also list it on FB marketplace. This has been the best site by a long shot for me for the last year or so.\

I have listed it there as well. I am not too happy with the feedback there. Most people there don't seem to have credit and that's a definite NO for me. 

Have you looked at comps in the area?

Look at other ads and see what amenities they are offering compared to your own.  Also, take an objective look at the condition of your unit compared to others listed.

Also, are your fees congruent with local custom?  Perhaps people are shying away because of that.

If you are getting too many "non target" applicants, perhaps list your qualifications in the ad.

I like very simple qualifications and simple fees -- you've already got three listed there and who knows how many others.


The rent is the rent, charge it to cover what you need to. If someone asks about pets, you can get it into those fees at that point, just say you're pet friendly.

Might be something small/silly, but have THE PRICE and let that be it. Also you might be above the average rental so smart buyers aren't going to go for you...the ones who can't afford it are the ones who seem to be the only bites at this point. Consider lowering your rent in line with the market.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

Have you looked at comps in the area?

Look at other ads and see what amenities they are offering compared to your own.  Also, take an objective look at the condition of your unit compared to others listed.

Also, are your fees congruent with local custom?  Perhaps people are shying away because of that.

If you are getting too many "non target" applicants, perhaps list your qualifications in the ad.

Hey Wesley. I have looked at the comps in the area. We have better amenities and a way bigger yard than all comps. The house is in immaculate condition. We have smaller square footage compared to some of the comps. Our fees are actually cheaper and more practical than other places. And yes, the qualifications are listed. Check here.

Originally posted by @Preeti Sampath :
Originally posted by @John Underwood:

Also list it on FB marketplace. This has been the best site by a long shot for me for the last year or so.\

I have listed it there as well. I am not too happy with the feedback there. Most people there don't seem to have credit and that's a definite NO for me. 

 I get a lot of volume and yes many of them don't qualify, but it only takes one good one to sign a lease with. So I deal with the abundance of people as this has been where I have found my last several tenants.

Originally posted by @Joe P. :

I like very simple qualifications and simple fees -- you've already got three listed there and who knows how many others.


The rent is the rent, charge it to cover what you need to. If someone asks about pets, you can get it into those fees at that point, just say you're pet friendly.

Might be something small/silly, but have THE PRICE and let that be it. Also you might be above the average rental so smart buyers aren't going to go for you...the ones who can't afford it are the ones who seem to be the only bites at this point. Consider lowering your rent in line with the market.

The rent is definitely in line with the market. I am of course flexible to bring it down if an awesome tenant comes along but to cover all my expenses as Denver is an expensive ownership market, we need to be closer to $2600. 

Originally posted by @John Underwood :
Originally posted by @Preeti Sampath:
Originally posted by @John Underwood:

Also list it on FB marketplace. This has been the best site by a long shot for me for the last year or so.\

I have listed it there as well. I am not too happy with the feedback there. Most people there don't seem to have credit and that's a definite NO for me. 

 I get a lot of volume and yes many of them don't qualify, but it only takes one good one to sign a lease with. So I deal with the abundance of people as this has been where I have found my last several tenants.

That's great to hear. Overall what is quality of the tenants? Like what are some of your qualifications that they absolutely have to meet.

Originally posted by @Preeti Sampath :
Originally posted by @John Underwood:
Originally posted by @Preeti Sampath:
Originally posted by @John Underwood:

Also list it on FB marketplace. This has been the best site by a long shot for me for the last year or so.\

I have listed it there as well. I am not too happy with the feedback there. Most people there don't seem to have credit and that's a definite NO for me. 

 I get a lot of volume and yes many of them don't qualify, but it only takes one good one to sign a lease with. So I deal with the abundance of people as this has been where I have found my last several tenants.

That's great to hear. Overall what is quality of the tenants? Like what are some of your qualifications that they absolutely have to meet.

 I like to see: Credit Score 600 or better, 2 years or more in current job, income 3x rent. I might make an exception if there is a a good explanation or if they have guaranteed income (section 8 etc), no evictions for last seven years. Criminal activity you have to be careful on as some low level stuff is a protected class now.

I started renting out units about 8 years ago.  First, I only used Craig's List because that was all I needed.  Now, I still post there, but it's almost nil.  Though I do check out the "Housing Wanted" section of CL and occasionally reach out to people on there, if my rental sounds like something they're looking for and I'm not seeing red flags.  Most of the time, those are ads looking for roommates.  Or ridiculous stuff like "online begging for money (insert sob story)" or "want to trade work for rent".  But I've also found gems in there and have rented units out to two different sets of tenants I found there, both of whom turned out to be great.

The next "hot" service was Trulia and whatever other sites my ad automatically got posted on, through them.  Still post there, but I don't get nearly the traffic I used to.  Plus, it always seemed like they had the worst % of "tenant never replying back from my reply to their initial inquiry."  And that % has also gotten worse, coupled with the fewer initial inquiries.

Like @John Underwood mentioned, FB Marketplace seems to be the next big thing.  I tried it for the first time with a vacancy I had earlier this year.  Wow!  What a difference.  That's where about 80% of my showings came from.

I think I've also listed on Apartments and Rent.com before.  But I've never gotten even one response from those.  Might be a regional thing.

Why are you charging for solar? Just make them pay the utilities. The bed/bath count seems low for that price. I'm guessing you'll end up around $2200-$2400 all in to rent it. Quite frankly, I don't think it's a good rental. The numbers don't make sense. 

Have get a walkthrough dot com do a photoshoot and matterport for the home. They will also do a website. Make sure you tell them it's a rental. It's under $200. 

My personal strategy is keeping the rent a little under market so you attract a large rental pool. Then collect 1st, last, and SD. Then pick the cream of the crop. 

@Preeti Sampath do you include your minimum qualifications in your marketing? I have found that including it often deters SOME of the unqualified tenants. Where are you listing it? So many rental homes in the area have energy saving additions such as the solar panels? I’d definitely use that as a selling point to potential tenants as well. I hope this helps and wish you much luck!

@Preeti Sampath  The reason you're not getting quality applicants is most likely due to the location and the tenant base in that area. It's a bit of a tough market to fill a premium rental in because the demographics are working against you. The best strategy for that area would be lower end rentals, doing a minimum amount of upgrading to keep costs low as price is the main motivating factor for living there. Rentometer shows average rent for a 3/2 in that neighborhood at $1,995. Your house is nicer than average, but that doesn't really help you because for what you're asking someone could rent in a better location. Hopefully you will find a good tenant at your asking price, it's certainly possible as it's a nice house and demand is very high in the whole metro area, even spilling over into previously undesirable areas, however I think you're a bit overpriced for that immediate area at this time. I agree with Matt: $2,200-2,400 is what I would expect. Your listing agrees with us too as Zillow says $2,315 is the "Rent Zestimate".

We've filled 6 units in Denver this spring/summer (by listing on Zillow which of course also lists on Zillow Group sites like Hot Pads, Trulia, etc). That's all we've done and qualified tenants are applying in droves within minutes (we've had as many as 50 applicants within just a few days). If you're not having a similar response, price is too high for location. 

The listing itself looks great, no problems there: good photos and the house is very nice (maybe too nice IMO). If it was in Denver you could easily get what you're asking (or a lot more depending on the part of town) but it's pretty far out in a different rental market. Average salary there is $40k/yr. and median household income is $60k/yr., while you're asking rent is over $32k/yr. That alone tells us you've priced yourself out of the market a bit. Ideally you'd want tenants making $80-$100k/yr., but folks at that income level are more likely to be looking to rent in Denver, a more desirable suburb, or purchasing a similar home in Thornton themselves as a starter home. 

I normally wouldn't recommend renting to family and friends but if you're not getting any good applicants from your ad then marketing this to your personal network could be the best way to deliver the value proposition of why it is worth more than surrounding rentals. It will likely take some in-person saleswomanship and target-marketing to get this rented. I don't think it's impossible, as it is a nice place and the whole Denver area continues to surprise me with high rents, it's just a matter of reaching the right tenant. You might go old-school and post ads on message boards around some of the higher-paying companies in the area such as the hospital, the aerospace/tech/oil and gas company's lobbies, coffee shops near those high-paying companies, etc. Or target somebody moving in from out of state who is unfamiliar with the area. You will have high turnover this way though; the premium price point will likely continue to be a challenge for you until more yoga studios and Whole Foods pop up nearby, which does seem to be the trend. 

On the positive side, if it doesn't make sense as a rental, you're in a great market for selling. Or another strategy might be to look into a lease option. Short term rentals are not allowed in Thornton (except rooms within your primary) but you might be able to get your premium by renting as a furnished rental to traveling nurses (as long as the lease term is over 30 days as per Thornton STR regulations) or some other similar "outside the box" strategy. If you can find a way to hold on to it, I think the I-25 corridor all the way from Denver to Fort Collins will have good appreciation over the next 5-10 as the nice parts of Denver get even less affordable spilling over into surrounding areas. I think more tech companies are planning to set up shop in that zone too.

People are generally drawn to Thornton for the lower price point compared to Denver, so they are more interested in the rent amount than they are nice amenities or condition of the unit at this time but that will change slowly as it gets nicer. Good luck!  

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