The biggest drain on your pocket as a landlord is having your rental property sit vacant. The longer your rental property sits vacant, the more money you lose out on. Not only is it frustrating to have a vacancy, the process of advertising and screening potential tenants can be tedious and time consuming, especially if you do not market efficiently. The following are some effective marketing tactics Patrize Properties employs that will help you create a strong online presence and attract quality tenants quickly.
Market Your San Diego Rental Property Everywhere
You want to market your San Diego rental property across several platforms to get the word out and create a “feeding frenzy” among qualified tenants who are searching for rentals. Marketing across different platforms creates a sense of urgency in potential tenants because they see your listings everywhere they search.
Types of Listing Resources
Resources can be categorized into three different types: old, new, and social. A combination of one or more of these based on the type of property you own will help fill your property faster.
Old Ways of Marketing
The tried and true, or “old,” ways to get renters are often discounted but can be just as effective as new resources in attracting renters. However, when relying on “old” resources, it is important to understand the demographic you are trying to reach. For instance, if you have a single-family home in nice area like Rancho Santa Fe, it is more likely that an older demographic will want to live there.
The following are “old” ways to find tenants that still work well today:
- Yard signs: Yard signs work well to locate tenants, especially when it comes to single family homes. You want to not only place a For Rent sign in the front of your property but also offer a property flyer providing all the home details.
- Referrals from Tenants: If you have a good relationship with your tenants, offer them some sort of incentive to refer people to you. The small amount of money you might spend on rewards will be worth it to reduce vacancy time.
- Referrals from Friends: Always let your friends know what type of properties you have and where they are located. Then email your friends and colleagues as soon as you know a property is going to be vacant so they can spread the word among their friends and colleagues who might be in the market for a rental.
- Referrals from Other Landlords and Investors: As a property owner you are probably friends with other landlords or investors in your area. Keep them apprised of any upcoming vacancies since they may get inquiries into their own properties that are already occupied. As long as you return the favor, your landlord colleagues will gladly pass potential tenants onto you.
New Age Marketing
According to The National Association of Realtors, 99% of millennials and 89% of Boomers start their search online. Do an online search for a rental in San Diego and you’ll likely see a page that looks like this:
Notice that the majority of the first page listings are occupied by major sites like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and Hotpads. These websites are great for attracting millions of visitors each month, most looking for a place to rent or buy. Many of these listing sites also provide a paid ad service to get you additional exposure by placing you at the top of the page for searches in your area if you do not mind spending a little money. However, these paid ad services are not always worth it because there is no guarantee they will get you leads.
Listing on these sites is easy, simply go to each site and create a free profile. Once you have created a profile, upload your photos, compose a description of your property, and your rental will be viewable by hundreds of people in a matter of minutes.
The following are the top sites to list your rentals.
- Postlets: Postlets allows you to save your company profile and information from your other properties so you don’t have to re-enter it for each property. It also populates Zillow, Hotpads and Trulia, saving you even more time.
- Craigslist: Believe it or not, Craigslist really can help you rent out your property. Remember, you want to include pictures for best results.
- Zillow: Zillow being the top dog when it comes to listing your property online, provide a summary of each lead allowing you to pre-screen.
- Hotpads: Similar to Zillow but not as user-friendly.
- Trulia: Similar to Zillow but not as many leads.
- Rent.com: Initially designed for large apartment complexes however Rent.com is supposed to be available to smaller property owners soon so keep it on your radar.
- ApartmentGuide.com: Great if you own an apartment complex.
- Realtor.com: If you need to get your property rented ASAP it might be worth the money to use a realtor to help.
- PadMapper: At this point in time not many tenants use this site but it is up and coming and free so why not list on it as well.
Here is a list of websites we currently post our rentals on:
Social Resources – Facebook
The easiest way to utilize social media to locate potential renters is to ask your followers and friends if they know anyone looking for a rental. In addition to that, frequent postings and key hashtags can draw in potential tenants.
Facebook has over 1 billion users and collects a ton of information from them. As a result, it has a great targeted ad platform. There are many ways you can use Facebook’s platform to market rental properties, some of which are listed below.
Facebook Boosted Posts
A boosted post is a post from your page that, for a fee, can appear higher up on your audience’s news feeds. To do a boosted post, create a post that includes some quality images of your property, a detailed description, and a link to the individual listing page. Once the post is live click the “Boost Post” button at the bottom right corner of the page. You next choose the audience you want to reach – “targeting” is the best way for listings. You can target groups based on things such as age and interests, but at a minimum, you want to target by location. Once you select your audience, set your budget. Your budget is determined by the amount of time you want your post to boost and does not need to be huge to get results. It is not uncommon to run ads over the course of one weekend for $10-15 that generate over 200 referral visits. That amounts to a cost-per-click of around $.05, which is very inexpensive.
Retargeting is a way to convert customers merely browsing a site into paying customers (or potential tenants). People rarely convert the first time they see an ad or an offer for a product – it usually takes about seven times seeing it before a consumer will convert. Similarly, a prospective tenant will likely shop around after viewing your listing, looking for a better deal in the same area. In order to convert them to your property, you need to stay in front of them to get them back to your listing. The best way to do that is by retargeting, or showing ads to people who have already visited your page before.
To create a targeted audience based on website visitors, you must have a Facebook Custom Audience in place. When a person visits a page with a Custom Audience code on it they are added to that audience list in the Facebook Ads Manager. This list builds over time and can be used to create a target audience for your listings.
So, once someone visits your page you can remarket to them on Facebook by showing them new listings over the next couple of weeks. This method is inexpensive, simple and definitely worth trying.
Set a Competitive Rent
How is your rent rate relevant to marketing? Well, setting and advertising a competitive rent is key to finding good tenants and covering your expenses as a landlord. No matter how well you market your San Diego rental property, if you set your rent too high you will not get many applicants whereas if you set your rent too low you will attract too many applicants, many of which are not a good fit. In order to set a competitive rent for your property, check around to see what comparable properties are renting for in your area.
Data source from Sandicor. These properties are rented by various brokers. Patrize Properties does not represent, nor warrant, the accuracy of this data.
High Quality Photos
None of your smart marketing tactics will pay off if you post low-quality or too few photos. Although cell phone cameras are getting better and better, it is still worth going to the trouble to use a high quality camera or to pay for a photoshoot of your property. High quality photos are crucial to marketing your property as many prospective tenants ignore listings that do not contain photos. Keep in mind, any money you spend on photos will not be recurring since you can reuse the photos every time your unit becomes vacant unless a significant cosmetic change happens on your property