Property Management 101- Keeping Investment Property Occupied

One of the most important jobs of a property manager is to keep the rental property occupied. Anything short of an aggressive approach to tenant turnover will cost you thousands of dollars over time. Don’t wait unit the tenant leaves to make a plan of action, start as soon as the tenant gives notice.

The first decision to make when a tenancy is going to end is deciding if you need time to make repairs or upgrades to your rental property while it is vacant. It is much easier to do repairs when you don’t have to work around a tenants schedule; however, it does cost you. Do you give up some rental income to avoid inconveniencing a tenant, or do you ask your tenant for their patience and keep your income stream flowing?

Next, consider the current rental environment. Is it over a holiday period? Is there an abundance of rentals already on the market? If the market is slow, be creative. A small amount of money spent on 1st month rent discounts or other incentives will more than offset the cost of lost rent for a month or two.

At what point do you show your unit- when a current tenant is still in the unit, as soon as they leave, after you have had a chance to do maintenance? This depends on the current tenant. If you have a good relationship and you know they have taken good care of the property, then start showing the property before they leave. If not, it may come back to the current market conditions. In a tight rental market, you can afford to take some risk and show a property before it is in top condition. In a soft rental market, you want to put your best foot forward, so you may want to hold off on showing it until it is empty and clean.

Task List

  • Walk through the property to understand the condition it is in
  • Schedule vendors to do necessary repairs
  • Ask the current tenants if they know any potential tenants
  • Schedule your advertising
  • Begin screening potential tenants
  • Make appointments to show the property
  • Make sure you have updated paperwork for a new tenant- rental application, credit check forms, lease, etc

As a property manager, you will be more profitable when you take an aggressive stance to keeping your properties occupied. My goal is always to check a new tenant in the day after my current tenant leaves – not always attainable but not unrealistic either.