According to MPF Research, the apartment rental market is showing signs of improvement, as the vacancy rate declined from 8.2% to 6.6% in the first half of 2010.
That’s good news for landlords. Perhaps you’re already seeing an increase in the number of prospective tenants viewing your rental properties. If you’d like to fill your vacancies fast, this might be a good time to review our tips for selling a good prospect on your rental unit. Don’t let a good tenant go just because you failed to close the deal and get a signed lease!
Remember, there is more to renting an apartment than the unit itself. People want to feel good about where they live. Highlight the following:
- Good communication with owners or management: let the prospect know how well you handle interaction with tenants. Examples of great communication include 24/7 emergency availability in case of emergency, a stellar call response policy, and active listening—which starts the minute you meet the prospect.
- Demonstrated level of professionalism: when you’re on time, your documents are in order, the unit is clean and ready, the grounds are professionally maintained, and you have the statistics to back up why your property is the best, who wouldn’t feel good about living there?
- Location: make it your mission to know every business and attraction within a 5-mile radius. Letting the prospective tenant know there is a dry cleaner, grocery store, library, park, and coffee shop close by could seal the deal.
- Amenities: even if you don’t have a first-class gym or on-site laundry, list the amenities you do offer. Things like water-saving fixtures, low-VOC paint, professional landscaping and free parking are good news to many good tenants.
When the prospective tenant shows signs of interest, be proactive and close the deal. People sometimes have a hard time making a final decision, so it’s up to you to help them:
- Have a lease application ready. Never show a unit to a prospect without one.
- Get a commitment: ask them to complete the lease application.
- Let them know you only want the best tenants, so there will be an application fee to cover paperwork and required tenant screening.
- Your goal should be to collect a signed application, first month’s rent, and security deposit at the same time. Let the prospective tenant know if they do not qualify, the rent and deposit will be returned.
- Remind the prospect that you are showing the rental unit to additional prospects and you cannot hold it without a deposit.
You don’t have to be pushy. If you have a good prospective tenant who needs a great apartment, it’s just a matter of putting the two together. As the rental property owner, it’s your job to make this win/win situation happen!