What to Do When the Rental Cupboard Is Bare

The rental market is a volatile one, and is often dictated by the overall economy. If home prices are high and it’s a seller’s market, people with the choice of rent or buy are more likely to rent. If home prices are low and there are attractive rates, those same folks are more likely to buy.

When potential renters are choosing to become first-time homebuyers, it can make it tough for rental properties. Units can sit vacant for months and money can get tight in a hurry, especially in areas where renters have a multitude of choices when it comes to places to live.

So what can you do to fill up those empty units when all of your usual marketing efforts fail to bring people to your door? As it turns out, plenty. Though almost all of it comes at a cost.

One method is to think like a hotel does. When a hotel is in a competitive market, they offer all sorts of deals and perks to entice customers in. Offering free rent for a certain period, fresh coffee in the morning, or free wi-fi can make your property stand out from the others.

If you’ve got the capital, consider an upgrade to the property’s exterior. A professional paint job or landscaping can improve that all-important first impression. Adding a pool or a gym can make a huge difference too, although it’s important to consider how disruptive that much construction can be to current residents.

With the Boomer generation aging, some properties are adding subtle touches to draw them in. Small features like plenty of hand holds, extra handicapped restrooms, easy-open doors and drawers, and non-slip surfaces can really catch older folks’ attention without being obtrusive.

The bottom line is that while riding out the ebb and flow of the rental market can be a challenge, there are still plenty of things you can do to stay in the game.

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