It may be the return of warm weather or the greater freedom allowed by the end of the school year that makes this the time of year when rental properties are in the highest demand. If you've been in property management for even a little while, you know turnover season is here.
According to Real Property Management, the average cost of a rental property turnover is equal to three months’ rent. Streamlining your turnover process can make a huge difference in losses or gains during this busy time of the year. Consider these four tips for making the process less painful:
1. Conduct market research
As soon as your current tenant gives notice, you should be researching. This is essential if the tenant has occupied the property for an extended amount of time. On some occasions, you may find yourself in the best possible scenario where the neighborhood has become more desirable over time, perhaps experiencing economic development or a resurgence of some kind. On the other side of the spectrum, if market rents have declined, consider a decrease in rent a small price to pay to have your property not sit vacant in turnover season.
2. Do a walk-through
When your tenant has vacated the unit, do an immediate walk-through scrutinizing the property. It's easy to spot the big problems. Are the walls damaged? Is anything broken? Has the carpet been cleaned? How are the appliances functioning? Once you know what needs to be done, get people in there and on task as quickly as possible. Anything from serious repairs and replacement to the cosmetic stuff such as painting should be done now. Promptly after, the cleaning crew should come in and go over the unit. Any mess from repairs to window cleaning should be a priority. The home should sparkle when they're done.
Don't forget to change the locks! Many technologies allow you to re-key the locks yourself, without having to call a locksmith. An investment like this can save you tons of money in the long run.
3. Research the competition
Now that your unit is sparkling clean and looking its absolute best, you may be tempted to list right away, but acting too hastily at this point can be a mistake. You should take a little time and do some research into the comparable listings in the area. What do the pictures look like? What information is highlighted?
4. Market your properties
When you're sure that everything is the best it can be, it's time to take pictures. More often than not, a newer smart phone will do a good job taking quality listing photos. Don't forget the video! In this era of digital photo retouching, younger renters may find video more appealing and more honest than photos alone. Plus, it can help people visualize the layout of the space. If you can, it is always a nice touch to include a floor plan in your ad.
If you've done everything right, at this point you should be thinking lease agreements, credit checks and rent payments. Hopefully you have an amazing tenant in mind and you won't have to think about turnover season for at least another year.