The holiday season is full of cheer and merriment and best wishes for the coming New Year. But it can also fill a landlord’s heart with worry about filling empty units. In general, people don’t like to move between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, so getting a lease signed during the month of December is tricky. Here are some tips for attracting tenants during the holiday season.
Word of Mouth
If your current tenants think of you as a responsible and respectable landlord, give them an incentive to spread the word and refer new tenants to you. Offer a finder’s fee or a discount on a month’s rent. Chances are, the incentive you offer to your tenant for sending a responsible new renter your way will pay for itself in money you don’t have to spend on advertising.
Show a Finished, Decorated Apartment
If you do have prospective tenants coming to view an apartment, show them a fully furnished apartment that’s been decorated for the holidays. Allow them to picture themselves at home for the holidays in your unit. Plan for any renovations to be done before Thanksgiving. Tenants who are actually considering moving during the holiday season will simply look elsewhere if they see the apartment in any state of disrepair.
More than ever before, people shop online for everything from groceries to cars, and apartment hunting is no exception. During this busy time of year, attract prospective tenants by advertising online. Mention any incentives you’re offering for signing a lease during the month of December, and be sure to include lots of pictures of the apartment fully furnished and decorated for the holidays. Also, advertise any amenities you offer and your proximity to local attractions.
Check Out Your Competition
Find out what other landlords are offering and make sure you’re competitive. Especially at this time of year, you want to be sure that the rent you’re charging is in line with other comparable units in the neighborhood. Otherwise, potential renters who are already budget conscious because of the upcoming holidays may look elsewhere.
Good customer service is important any time of the year. But it becomes even more essential over the holidays. People are already stressed out about finances and social commitments during this busy time of year, and this is only compounded for those looking for a new place to live. Show prospective tenants that you’re considerate of their time restraints by returning phone calls promptly and making yourself as flexible as possible to show units. Also, remember that in addition to judging the condition of the apartment, tenants scrutinize your appearance and demeanor to assess if you’re going to be a professional, reliable and helpful landlord.
Hold an Open House
During this busy time of year, it’s challenging to schedule showings because of everyone’s busy schedule. Circumvent this problems by hosting an open house. Anyone who’s really interested in renting will come. An open house gives you the opportunity to show your property to multiple people at once, and this creates competition and a sense of urgency in potential renters to sign before someone else snaps the unit up. Have your property fully cleaned ahead of time, and stock the bathroom and kitchen with paper products and soap. Decorate for the holidays, and have scented candles, potpourri, holiday music playing in the background and cookies baking in the oven. Allow visitors to picture themselves in this home for the holidays. Make sure everyone leaves with your contact information and a little gift, and you’re sure to be hearing from some of them again soon.
With a little planning ahead, it is possible to attract new tenants during the busy holiday season. Understanding what potential tenants are looking for and meeting their needs attracts renters any time of year, but even more so during this stressful, expensive time of year.
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