trouble filling rental unit

18 Replies

Hello every one. I am located near the shoreline in South East Connecticut. I am having difficulty filling one of my units in a up/down duplex on the nice side of town. The unit is completely remodeled and new appliances. I have had numerous showings, lowered the price, listed with my agent on MLS, craigslist, zillow ect. The only applicants that filled out an application do not fit the requirements. The market here has been slower over the winter months but I am going on 3 months now without being able to fill it. I do not wish to stage the unit but does any one have any suggestions that would help? Thank you.


Welcome to BP!

Unless the layout of the unit is rather awkward or you decorated à la Ralph Furley, the main reason for poor uptake (IMHO) is the value proposition  - the cost does not align with the amenities for the area.

I am asking $1,000 for the unit 3bd/1ba. My other duplex which is a 2bd1/ba for $ 975 filled in two weeks. 

Originally posted by @Michael J Callinan :

I am asking $1,000 for the unit 3bd/1ba. My other duplex which is a 2bd1/ba for $ 975 filled in two weeks. 

We have properties in areas where $1000 for a 3/1 would be considered a bargain and in others where  it may not fill it at that price with utilities included.   We monitor listings in the vicinity of our properties (even been known to send folks to look as interested tenants) to track the "value" of our offering in the context of our competition and market demands.

If both units are in the same location (or even building), perhaps the 2-bedroom is a better fit for the neighbourhood and clientele or has more appealing decor or layout.

If one of the bedrooms in the 3 is small, you could try advertising it as a 2-bed plus office and see if you can get $975   (better than sitting empty).

Its the time of the year , I have 2 units sitting empty , all that have applied dont even come close to qualifying .

@Roy N. I actually did do that for a month because I was figuring the 3 bedroom was "scaring" people way for some reason.  I agree with better to let it sit than let a non qualified tenant move in, considering allowing section 8 but screening them very closely. 

hang in there, its that time of the year, holiday and family gatherings/traveling/new years all play a major factor, especially in my area...

you could try to market on Facebook marketplace or re-listing with new pictures and a different description on craigslist. (re-fresh the add works too).

I might also try to hold on open house, one during the week one on a Saturday/Sunday morning....You may not generate any potential tenants but the feedback from people in the neighborhood might be valuable

Just my 2 cents

@Michael J Callinan   What we do at this time of year if we have a unit become available is offer a short term lease until June/July or rent it out on AirBNB because of the lack of quality tenants.  We find most tenants at this time of year that are looking are either out of towners moving or evicted tenants.  This is assuming your place is priced accordingly.  Come July we evict the tenants and find better tenants on a 12 month lease so we only lease June/July the best months of the year to find tenants.  If you would like to learn more about this strategy my husband discusses it in Episode 96 of The RPOA Podcast.  He was also guest 178 on Bigger Pockets.

Originally posted by @Michael J Callinan :

@Roy N. I actually did do that for a month because I was figuring the 3 bedroom was "scaring" people way for some reason.  I agree with better to let it sit than let a non qualified tenant move in, considering allowing section 8 but screening them very closely. 

 Never lower your screening bar, but lowering your ask by $50 - $100/month to get a qualified tenant is better than another 3-months empty.

@Ryan Jopson My realtor actually just did the marketplace for mine and another one of his clients. Said he has been getting 15 calls/emails a day from it, went to do a small open house and 2 people showed up. Sometimes I feel like its just me but people are very flaky and never do what they say or at least show up.

With multiple showings you should have feedback.  If the price is right , it should rent.  

I wouldnt completely count out section-8. You still screen the same way tennet wise, just the rent is guaranteed by the govt.

There is typically an extra inspection and additional paperwork.

@Michael J Callinan   You would so if this is only a one time thing for you it would not make sense, but we buy lightly used furniture from a furniture rental and staging company so normally we are staging regardless so our units our lightly furnished.  Once they become occupied we are rent the furniture to the tenants or sell to people purchasing home or we sell on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace.  We actually will make a couple of hundred bucks selling the furniture in addition to the AirBNB income, so altogether I would say it's a least several thousand versus having it sit vacant.

Where are you advertising the unit? I know your area probably isn't as populated as San Antonio but we have no problem filling units using zillow and craigslist. The key is to take good pictures and update the listings every week. The tenant has to see value in what you are offering, so I would look up other listings on the market and see what they offer and how long that listing has been up. You have the right mindset on waiting patiently for the right tenant and I commend you for that, because most people panic and just rent it out to anyone. Don't stress out about it too much because worrying doesn't help anything. Just trust your gut and do what you think is  right. Good luck!

@Michael J Callinan my experience is November-January is a dead zone. Assuming the price is competitive and nothing is wrong with the unit, you should see activity start to pick up. Nice weather helps too. Facebook is better these days for me, but you need to relist or it drops down. Last vacancy I had, I paid for ads on Facebook to drive interest. Ultimately I rented it off Craigslist, but the paid adds cost $10 and drove clicks. 

I would not lower price because the smaller unit is rented at $975. The other tenant will either want to move-up or will get mad you are overcharging them.

This is a bad time of year in our area for larger units. You could do short term furnished. There is a furniture rental company in your area i believe. Dropping the price or changing terms may work. You have to do the calculations. Any companies in the area that bring in short term employees?

Why would someone move when it is 0 degrees?

It will rent. Start working on your next property.

All good advice and suggestions everyone, thank you! I will hold out longer and keep re-listing the unit. 

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