As a landlord with properties in areas with high seasonal turnover, it’s important to take steps to ensure you remain profitable throughout the year. There are different strategies you can employ that are related to turnover, and which one you choose depends on the area you live in and how you plan to generate your rental income during the off-season.
Seasonal Rent Variation Strategies
There are countless areas around the country that experience seasonal downturn of tenants. Like many hotels that adjust their prices due to seasonal factors, it may be appropriate to build in some variation to the rental price based on the season. This can apply not only to short-term vacationers, but also long-term leaseholders. If you find yourself with apartments with high vacancy rates, it’s an option worth exploring. Another option is offering a free month of rent for tenants who sign a one- or two-year lease to help lock tenants in for a longer period of time.
A Proper Booking System
There might be situations, such as vacation rentals, in which you actually want a certain amount of turnover on a seasonal property within reason. Unfortunately, guests often want to spend only a couple of days at your property. The turnover can quickly become a headache that costs money.
A reliable booking agency or property manager can help manage bookings for you. Offer small discounts for tenants who plan to spend at least a week, or simply don't allow tenants to stay less than a week during seasonal peaks. In certain hot spots like New England in the summer, it’s a sellers market, and you’ll be able to dictate these types of terms while keeping your rental space full during key times. Once the off-season comes, you might want to return to being more flexible with your booking schedule.
Build Long-Term Relationships With Short-Term Clients
Many seasonal tenants will be return customers in subsequent years. These aren’t year-round tenants, but they are valuable. They are often paying a premium price to stay at your property, you know they are good tenants from past experience, and they represent steady income through the years.
Build mailing lists and offer select tenants booking dates before new tenants. Be sure to cater to their needs and try to accommodate to any individual requests. If you have a loyal return tenant, think about offering discounts that will keep them coming back.
If you want to keep tenants year-round, you need to make your property stand out. Some seasonal areas come off as a ghost town when tourists and workers stream out of the area. That’s where you can have a big impact. Learn to create a friendly and personalized experience to help create a warmer environment for tenants.
Building Your Own Community
For long-term tenants in seasonal areas, it’s important to add some features that make your tenants feel like their rental space is a community. That means adding a lounge area with games or a large communal kitchen, a pool for residents to use or a small playground or park where residents can gather.
Pay Attention to Overall Market Trends
Seasonality can be a factor some years and not such a large factor in other years. For example, 2014 featured the biggest single-family rental shortage since 2001, and analysts indicate this might have to do with the fact that fewer people moved in the winter and fall months. Staying informed about rental trends can help you formulate your leasing strategy and raise or lower rental prices appropriately.
Ultimately, these strategies will help you reduce turnover and keep your rental property filled with the type of reliable tenants every landlord desires.
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