While the latest property data reveals that the national vacancy rate remained steady at 2.3% in July 2019, the total number of vacancies Australia-wide is up considerably from 12 months ago and Sydney continues to have the highest vacancy rate in the country at 3.5%. Learn how some property management companies are bucking the trend in a slow market.
As at July 31 there were 76,346 rental property vacancies national, with 24,869 of those in Sydney. Click here for the latest SQM Research report. According to SQM Research Managing Director, Louis Christopher, “Going forward the expectation remains that Sydney and Melbourne will record higher rental vacancy rates in the second half of the year driven by ongoing high levels of dwelling completions from the tail of the last property boom”. This isn’t great news for investors in the areas where vacancy rates are at their highest, not only because there are more properties available to rent but also because it means rents are likely to continue to fall in these areas.
However there are property management agencies that are bucking the trend by following best practice. Below are 5 tips to lease property faster in a slow market.
1. Keep existing great tenants happy
It’s far better and cheaper to retain existing tenants than it is to find new ones. So we’ve listed this tip first because if your landlord has great tenants in their property who look after it well and always pay on time, they are worth their weight in gold. Naturally we know that most tenants will move on at some point (perhaps to buy a property) but while they are there, it definitely pays to look after them well. This will also encourage them to speak highly of your agency to others (word of mouth is still the most valuable form of marketing).
2. Address the number one pain point of tenants
The number one complaint made by tenants (and fear of potential tenants because of what they hear from others and read in reviews) is not having repairs and maintenance attended to in a timely manner. Many complain that their requests are not listened to, meaning issues in their home remain unresolved.
Our advice is to flip this common complaint on it’s head by letting prospective tenants know that you are on the ball with maintenance and repairs and ensuring you are true to your word. Property management agencies that do this particularly well use Maintenance Manager to help them stay on top of maintenance and repairs because every job is logged and tracked. The tenant can use their portal/app to view the status of an existing job and lodge new ones. Property managers use this benefit to attract tenants by talking about their maintenance process. Some have reported success with letterbox dropped flyers and HTML campaigns headed something like, ‘We do maintenance differently’.
3. Consider home staging/styling
Homes that attract the attention of the greatest number of potential tenants are those that appeal to their emotions. It’s difficult to do that when presenting an empty property, devoid of warmth and character. Commonly used in sales, home staging is the practice of furnishing and styling an empty property to enhance its appeal to the target market. Home staging showcases a property in the best possible light, so much so that it reduces time on market and can even increase its perceived value.
4. Showcase a rental property’s best features with great marketing
It’s never more important than in a slow market to pay close attention to how you market a rental property. The more vacant properties there are, the harder it is for each property to stand out. So it pays to invest in professional real estate photography to create visual interest and write compelling copy that specifically addresses the target market for each property. For instance, if the target market is families, focus on things like the level fully fenced backyard, the quiet neighbourhood and the two living zones. If it’s aimed at young professionals and singles, focus on things like the low maintenance ease, the restaurants and cafes down the road and the high speed Internet connectivity.
It may also be worth your while increasing your spend on Google, Facebook and/or Instagram ads to broaden your reach and better target the right people.
5. Create a great open house experience
Don’t make your open house experience like everyone else’s. Plan it well ahead of time to ensure it makes a great first impression. Once again, consider the target market for the property when planning the open house. Things to consider are holding a competition, partnering with a local café to provide refreshments on the day, greeting prospects at the door with a flyer about your agency’s exceptional maintenance and repair procedures (see Tip #2) and having plenty of open house signs around the neighbourhood.Contact us for an obligation free demonstration of Maintenance Manager today.