No qualified renters?  A landlord shared a comment I often hear: “Jeffrey, my weakest link here seems to be that there are no qualified renters who currently need a new place to live.
I’d love to have a solution to that one. I’m getting very few inquiries. About half are people currently going through a bankruptcy. The other half have sold their house, escrow is about to close, and they need a place for a month or two while they buy something else.”

If landlords REALLY want to get their places rented and not have their property sit empty for months at a time, you may need to consider new and different approaches and markets to fill your vacancies.

My response: Here’s what I have noticed with most landlords (not necessarily you). The problem is NOT that there are no qualified renters. The problem is that many landlords simply hope that qualified renters will find them from their limited or non-effective advertising channels.

In any area, there are almost always numerous segments of the population who are qualified renters. While they may not be in abundance, there are always some. The problems I discover when talking with landlords about this are usually two-fold:

  1.  Landlords have not taken the extra effort to identify different renter niches who would be interested in renting your property. Without any clear target niche markets in mind, the average landlord instead often just starts doing the least effective, shotgun type of advertising (craigslist for example) hoping to hit anyone. And when no qualified renters apply, they mistakenly deduce that there are not any qualified renters to be found.
  2.  Landlords do not target various, different niches of potential renters by reaching out to them with their advertising (marketing to where they work, shop, socialize – online AND off, or where they get support or associate).

I have found when taking the time to have a long discussion with landlords or brainstorming at my training events, almost without fail, we can identify at least a dozen potential niches of qualified renters that you could proactively reach out to. And often the different niches are being under-served by other landlords in the area. I guess my point is that it is very rarely the case that there are no qualified renters.

This may not be what you were looking to hear, but my BIG suggestion to you (and to all landlords) is this: Never word a landlording problem in a way that is simply blaming exterior circumstances as you have done by saying there are no qualified renters.

Instead, put the challenge squarely on yourself. “What can YOU do to better identify and  market to the qualified renters who are out there?”  And yes, that does take extra mental effort, perhaps even thinking outside the box. However, once you do so, it is well worth the effort, because you will most likely be able to be far more effective filling your vacancies moving forward. Making this type of effort is what I continually encourage landlords to do. It is how you work ON your business, instead of IN your business.

By the way, I was intrigued by your own words partly describing the situation: “The other half have sold their house, escrow is about to close, and they need a place for a month or two while they buy something else.”

If that is truly the case, how about thinking outside the box and start with that? Why not market directly to that niche and rent “short-term” to those sellers needing a place for a couple of months? You can probably rent to them for at least two times the normal market rent. And if you get good at specializing in renting to that market niche you may have a continual flow of prospective residents that is not being served by others. And yes, this would require extra effort in various ways on your part that you may not want to do. My bigger point however, is that there are all kinds of potential niches of prospective renters with a need that you can fill. If landlords REALLY want to get their places rented, and not have their property sit empty for months at a time, you may need to consider new and different approaches and markets to fill your vacancies. My name is Jeffrey and I’m your friend. 🙂

The tips in this column are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, Founder@Mrlandlord.com. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.