By Christopher Gomez
No property owner likes the idea of having to pay for a vacant property that has the earning potential to bring in thousands of dollars in revenue. Every day your property sits, you are losing money — it is vital that you reduce the time between qualified, paying tenants. Vacant properties are a financial burden that forces you to withdraw from your savings to cover the rental expenses.
Like an itch, a vacant property can seem like a small nuisance but at times lead to a far worse issue that can potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Many rental owners overlook the many risks that come with leaving a property vacant for far too long.
1. Theft and Vandalism
Vacant properties are ideal for thieves or malicious individuals. You may be wondering, what can they possibly take? Surprisingly, copper and appliances tend to be stolen — causing a significant amount of damage. Let's not forget that certain individuals create chaos for joy and will find great pleasure in destroying your property for fun.
It is best to install a home security system that will allow you to monitor your property remotely. Adding motion lights and timed lights will give the impression that somebody is occupying the space.
Empty properties are incredibly attractive to squatters — they assume because nobody has moved in, they should be the ones to do so. A squatter will take it upon themselves to fill up your vacancy for you, and the only problem is that they are not ideal tenants.
Reminder: Upon certain circumstances, if they stay long enough, they can develop landlord-tenant rights as holdover tenants.
Your best option is to install a home security system that will help you catch them right away. The earlier you find an unauthorized tenant, the better your odds are of getting them out.
(3) Water Damage
A big problem with properties in cold weather is the chance that pipes will freeze and burst. Water heaters can also potentially leak or rupture flooding your property. If you do not check on your property regularly, this can be going on for a while.
During winter, it would be best to drain your pipes and shut off your heating system to prevent damage. If these are not options, controlling the temperature during winter and summer is your next best solutions. Setting your thermostat to not go lower than 55 degrees during winter is ideal to prevent pipes from freezing. Hot and humid environments are perfect for mold to grow, keep your air condition unit no higher than 85 degrees to keep the property fresh.
(4) Fire Damage
A common problem with vacant properties is arson. Heating systems that don't receive regular check-ups can potentially create a fire. Due to the lack of electricity, squatters may accidentally start a fire when lightning candles or when leaving them on overnight.
Monitor your security system as much as possible
Many property owners undermine the many risks of leaving a property vacant for far too long. An experienced property manager can ease the burden of having to deal with vacant properties and filling them up promptly. Take a look at the services we at Aspire Property Management offer and contact us to see if we can help you relieve some of these burdens. If a property manager is out of your budget, there are many ways to fill up vacant properties immediately.
Let's be real, turnovers are bound to happen, and it is best to be prepared for them beforehand rather than waiting until the very last minute. Ideally, a current tenant will let you know beforehand that they are vacating your property (Typically around 30 days), it is best to start the marketing process immediately to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.
RentPrep posted on their blog to: “Remind the tenant of your state laws that allow you as the landlord to do this as long as you provide proper notice. Most states only require that landlords deliver a 24 or 48-hour written notice to the current tenant before showing the property.”
Steps you can take to fill up your property immediately are:
Modify your Ads
Determine what ads are the most efficient and double down on those ads. Figure out what works and what didn't work. Invest in what works for your particular case. Are your headlines attention grabbing? Are you using the right words to describe your property best? Are you highlighting the best amenities to attract your ideal tenant?
Analyze competitor rental rates
Compare your rental rates to those of the same rental properties around your neighborhood. You do not want to be scaring prospective tenants with an absurd price tag. Set your rent at a fair price that will both be attractive to prospecting tenants and profitable for you.
Upgrade the unit
Does the unit need a new makeover or specific upgrades? It is better to invest in upgrades that will pay off in the long run. Certain modifications and makeovers are good investments. Dish out the cash now to get tenants to become more intrigued.
Take on tenants with pets
If filling up your vacancy has been an issue, consider renting to tenants with four-legged friends. Many tenants with pets have trouble finding apartments that will accommodate their specific situation. If property damage concerns you, change the lease agreement to include a pet fee.
Referrals tend to be an option that often goes overlooked when marketing a property. Many tenants have friends who have similar taste and offering a referral bonus does not hurt.
Avoid lowering your standards.
A big mistake rental owners or landlords make, is to carelessly screen tenants to fill up the vacancy. Every tenant should be rigorously screened no matter the situation. It is better to wait than to take on a tenant who will make business difficult. Having to deal with constant late payments, noise complaints, destruction of property or eviction is far worse than paying out of your pocket to cover the rental expenses.
The bottom line
You should be well prepared to deal with the risk that comes with having a vacant property. Not only will you dodge the financial cost, but you will avoid the hassle of having to deal with the problems in the first place. You should expect to encounter tenants who move out and evictions, so take the necessary measures to fill that potentially vacant property as quickly as possible. As we mentioned before, an experienced property manager can help you manage all these situations. Contact us or give us a call at (213) 805-5506, let us handle your properties for you.