Summer may be the time to take it easy in most professions, but for landlords it can mean a lot of extra work. Maintaining lawns and gardens can require a lot of time and money; air conditioners that have been out of commission all winter often need maintenance, and you may need to take advantage of the good weather to complete some overdue exterior renovations. When you have to also find new tenants, the workload becomes even bigger.
In most rental markets, there is extensive turnover in the summer months. Whether for school, work, or personal reasons, many move in the summer months. This means there are a lot of applicants looking for places to live, but it also means there are a lot of housing options on the market. With these tips, however, you can get your property occupied, keep it in good shape and still enjoy some time in the sun.

Get creative with social media
In the busy summer months, you are competing with many other landlords for the best applicants. That means you have to step up your game with your rental marketing. Sites like Craigslist are often the best bet. They are free to post in, easy to use, and you can use as many words and photographs as you need. Photographs are the best way to make sure your posting stands out from the crowd: make sure they are clear, inviting, and provide enough information to attract applicants. Social media websites are a great way to share those advertisements. Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are all easy, free ways to share your ads with the widest possible audience.

Embrace traditional marketing
Consider other traditional marketing sources as well. If your neighborhood has a lot of rental properties, you should post a sign at the property and put fliers nearby. As applicants explore other options, they are likely to notice yours. This is an effective way to do word-of-mouth marketing as well. Friends and family are usually aware when someone they know is on the hunt for new housing. If they notice a sign in their neighborhood, they are likely to share it with the prospective tenant. Nothing will help you stand out from the crowd more than a personal recommendation from a family member or friend who already lives in the neighborhood.

Prepare to screen
With an onslaught of applicants, you need to be ready to efficiently, effectively, and legally screen them. If you plan ahead, you can make your screening process as efficient as possible. That will also help you avoid any unnecessary legal headaches by asking the wrong questions. Write up your list of questions for tenants and stick to them. Prepare an email in advance that you can immediately send to tenants to explain your credit check process. Finally, make sure your lease documents are ready to go.

Improve your time management
You will need to be focused on getting your property occupied by the best possible applicant, so do what you can to reduce the demands on your time in other areas. This could include investing in accounting software, using work order management software, or other business process improvements. Consider outsourcing discrete tasks, even if just for the summer. Hiring someone to mow lawns or do outdoor maintenance may cost money upfront, but if it means you have a great tenant instead of a problem, it will be worth it.

POSTED June 18 2015 9:56 AM

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