when to list property?

6 Replies

First time landlord here. Would it be ok to list my home for rent before moving out with an occupancy date of after we have moved out? Is it realistic to show my home while we still live here and get a lease in place before we move out? 

I could ask a mmillionquestiins right now but ill start with just these two. 

Thank you in advance!


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Follow up question(s). We close on the house we're moving into on November 14th. Half of me wants to wait until our personal move is complete before juggling the tennant screening and selection duties. The other half of me want to dive in head first.

I'm considering listing the home for rent on Craigslist today with photos of the home with our furniture in it. If I do that, my ad will indicate the property is currently occupied and will be available between Dec 1 and Dec 15th (I know... the worst time ever to fill a vacancy). I'm hoping that by having 30-45 days between now and the time I'd hand over the keys I will allow myself a larger candidate pool to screen and select a tenant from. Is that realistic? Logical? Stupid?

Assuming I gain interest in the property, I would "show" it for hour long blocks of time so my wife and kids can be out and I can knock out several showings at once. Am I being too optimistic to thing I will have more than 1 willing prospect/applicant?

As far as pricing goes, my home is in the 1200 - 1500/month rent market range. Since the home is paid off, I dont' have a "minimum" rent to obtain positive cash-flow. I want to obtain maximum rent but don't want to overprice the unit and miss potentially excellent candidates. Any thoughts on pricing strategies from a very broad overview standpoint?

I am off work today and have dedicated today as my "get my act together and get this house listed" day. I appreciate in advance all of your inputs.

-- Jason

That is exactly what I did many years ago; of course, back then I used a printed ad in a newspaper - but advertised ahead of time to get things going. It will help you determine if your asking rent is too high, because the level of interest might not be much if the price isn't right. 

Your real challenge might come immediately after you have moved, and find yourself with lots of extra work to do in taking care of two places. You will have to get the old place rent ready (clean it and paint it maybe as a minimum) and you will have showings and screening of tenants and then the lease paperwork, plus your wife will want things put into place in your new home. Just speaking from experience :)

I would go ahead and place the craigslist ad with an anticipated available date of mid-Dec.  Congrats on having a paid-for house @Jason Krawitz  ! That allows you to have a key ingredient to finding a quality renter - patience!  A couple things.  Pre-screen your craigslist inquiries via anonymous e-mail. Ask them to tell you how many folks in their household, if they have pets, etc in your ad.  People that don't follow basic instructions in their initial e-mail and answer the ?s are red flags.  Get to know them and their situation a bit thru e-mail and later phone calls then schedule a specific showing time.  Do a couple more in 15 or 30 minute increments if you like.  I don't do open house showings.  You never know who will walk through and it can be a massive time-waster.  Thing 2 is, I don't think you can accept applications and place them in a big pile waiting for the best one to come along.  Normal practice is to accept the first applicant who meets our minimum qual criteria.  Goes back to pre-qualifying before the showing.  If all else fails, you do your move, get through the holidays and worry about it in January.  You have patience, remember?! Good luck and pls keep us posted!

@Jason Krawitz   you have lots of ranges that make it very hard to nail things down. My experience in my area is this. Most tenants are looking to move around the 1st so advertising for Dec 15 move-in will likely pickup someone with a lease ending at the end of Dec or 1st of Jan.

Since it's common to give 30 days notice, most people don't actually look at property more than about 40 days out. Most cruise on-line a couple of weeks ahead of time to get an idea of availability and price. After you are less than 3 weeks away from you target move-in date the tenant quality goes down significantly but urgency rises exponentially. IMO This is the last weekend to get a good tenant for a Dec 1 move. It's also a bit early for your Dec 15 date because people haven't started looking for Jan 1. When you get closer to Dec 15 then you will get some people that won't want to start paying rent until Jan 1. Think about how you will handle them.

Your prescreening should make sure their target move-in date works with your availability date. Do some searching on the forums for showings, pre-screening and screening. There are many options and you need to figure out what you are comfortable with.

Finally and most critically. Your rent rate. You really need to narrow that down to a number ($1,200-$1,500 is a huge range-it represents about a 20% swing). Ideally you want to watch Craig's List for a few weeks so you know what the going rate is for your area and amenities. Pricing is the most critical component. If you price it too high you won't get very many calls and your listing becomes stale (remember people window shop before they buy so they know your place has lingered on the market for the last 3 weeks). If you price too low you obviously leave money on the table but believe it or not your tenant quality will go down as well. People see a low price and assume something is wrong with it so they don't call. Most of the people that do call when the price is too low will be those with "issues" and a story to tell.

Also you will likely get more replies if you post in the landlord section of the forum