This article was posted on Saturday, Mar 01, 2014

Nine ideas that may help you compete with other market rentals and get your vacancy filled faster. 

  • Have you thought of ways to offer what your competition isn’t offering?
  • Is there any way that you can improve your property inexpensively? Sometimes little things like well-lighted closets, under-the-cabinet lighting in the kitchen, a new coat of paint with modern colors, upscale showerheads, attractive bathroom cabinets, etc., can attract residents.
  • Size up the outside of the rentals. Could they use shutters, flowers, a fountain, etc. to make them more attractive?  Make the property so inviting that the prospective resident will choose to live in your rental instead of the competition’s.
  • If your competition allows pets, play up the fact that you don’t. Many people will not want to live in rentals filled with pets. Advertise your properties as “Pet free! Enjoy good living without having to put up with barking dogs, or crying cats in the night!”
  • If you can’t compete on price find the place in the market where you don’t go head to head on price. Offer something they can’t or don’t offer.
  • Determine where your current or previous residents came from. How did they find out about you?
  • What about marketing to a NICHE market? For example, seniors don’t want a pool and don’t want the noise (kids crying and loud parties) that often comes from big complexes. Figure out ways to market to them. Do some internet research about what your target resident wants.
  • Look at other businesses that market to the same niche of customers you want and team up with them in your marketing campaign.
  • Truly figure out what the customers you seek want (again your niche market) and offer it. People will pay more to get what they want.

Always Highlight (Include) a WOW Factor

When prospective residents do call and come to view your rental, most often one of two things will come to mind when they see your place. Either they’ll think “WOW!” or “Whoa!” Obviously, you want them to think, “WOW!”

A landlord recently confided with me that her rentals were nice, but there was not really anything impressive about them. She said it was common for her places to remain vacant for a couple of months before she is able to rent them. I believe that there may be a correlation. Your rental needs something to SPARK the attention of prospective residents in a positive way. If it’s something that also separates you from your competition, even better!

If prospects are coming to view your property and no one (or very few) is filling out an application, then that’s a sure sign that you need to add a WOW factor.  WOW factors don’t have to be elaborate amenities.  WOW factors can be something as simple as squeaky clean windows that glisten from a distance as the prospect walks up to the home. Or a WOW can be a thoroughly clean rental. I’m amazed at how many prospects tell me other rentals they’ve looked at are dirty. I pay someone specifically to do cleaning detail as the final preparation step on my rentals so that they will be in showcase condition. WOW factors can be a beautiful but inexpensive ceiling fan, swirl pattern design added to the living room or dining room ceiling, two-tone color scheme. WOW factors can be amenities that I take the time to highlight and make a BIG deal about during the showing of the property, like a HUGE walk-in closet, dishwasher or the washer and dryer.

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WOW factors could even be a large “Move-In” basket, with lots of goodies, sitting on the kitchen counter that the prospect sees when they enter the kitchen. Or the pretty bath towels that were added to the bathroom along with the pretty matching rug.

A WOW factor can even be a bonus “service” that you include for free as part of the “Custom Rental Package”  For example, WOW services can include free Renter’s Insurance, free maid service (once or twice a month — who says it has to be daily) or free lawn care. You can work out a low-cost arrangement with a company that offers such services and then provide it for the residents.  In each example, you’re still talking LESS than a month’s rent, far better than having a place sit empty for two months. These types of WOW factors definitely separate you from the competition, plus they greatly encourage your residents to stay in your properties longer.

On top of all that, these WOW service factors benefit not only the resident, but you as the landlord as well. The maid or lawn service helps to keep your homes well maintained. Renter’s insurance adds to your liability protection.

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


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