Marketing Your Investment Property to Renters
So, you did it. You decided to become a landlord. You found just the right property, you fixed it up to get it ready for renters, and now you’re waiting by the phone. These days, everyone looks to the web for...well, everything.
You’ll want to make sure your property is available online, but you shouldn’t miss out on other opportunities. We’ve made a list to get you started.
Marketing your vacation home online
Before you put your property out there, do some digging. Is your investment property a short-term rental, like a place near a ski resort or the beach, or are you looking to find a permanent tenant, with a lease of six months or longer? Vacation properties are often marketed, for varying fees, on sites like HomeAway.com, which also owns VRBO.com, FlipKey.com (a subsidiary of Trip Advisor), Airbnb, Onefinestay.com, and others. Dig around those sites and see if there are properties similar to yours. That may seem like competition, but it’s a good thing because it means potential renters are more likely to come to the site looking for a place like yours. Some of those services offer insurance for landlords. Before you rent to anyone, make sure you have the proper insurance. If your vacation home is primarily a rental, you probably already have insurance and may not need to buy more. Some services like Zillow offer free rental listings.
Is your investment property in a place with a chamber of commerce, local tourist bureau, or local rental service for homeowners? Find out how to get your property included in their listings. In Augusta, Georgia, for example, Corporate Quarters helps homeowners find tenants during the Masters golf tournament each year. Because that’s their specialty, they have event-specific recommendations and can even do things like help you find a catering service or cleaners for your guests. Ask nearby homeowners who they recommend locally.
This one can work for vacation rentals, as well as long-term rentals. Craigslist may not be glamorous, but many landlords have found it to be a great place to market their properties, especially in college towns, where the renters tend to be younger. Another bonus? It’s free. Because you won’t have to pay to list your property, why not?
Let’s say you own a duplex. You live in half of it, and would like to rent the other side to a tenant to offset the cost of your mortgage. If you like living there, someone who shops where you shop or exercises at the same gym might find it as charming as you do. Putting up flyers on community billboards in local grocery stores or your favorite yoga studio may even help you find a tenant who becomes a friend. You can also put a box of flyers beside your “For Rent” sign in the yard, so passersby can get details immediately.
Word of mouth
Don’t forget to tell everyone you know that your place is for rent. And if your investment property is a vacation home, ask your happy renters to recommend it to their friends. You may even offer a discount or finder’s fee to people who help you find renters. If your rental home is located in a neighborhood with an active Facebook group, and such postings are encouraged, post it there, too. People often ask their friends in desirable neighborhoods to keep an eye out for available places.
Whether you’re marketing your property online, by word of mouth, or with a flyer, make sure you have high-quality pictures that show off your property before you start. The pictures should look good, but also be a realistic depiction of your property because you don’t want renters to be disappointed once they see it. Even if you’re marketing through word of mouth, you’ll want to be prepared for an email request for pictures.
If you find that your attempts aren’t as successful as you’d hoped, you may consider hiring a property management company or an agent to help you market your place. Though that may cost you some money, it won’t cost as much as having your place vacant for months on end!