Seven tips for leasing rental properties in the winter.

Real estate generally slows down during the winter months. With lots of holidays on tap, most people aren't eager to pack up and move until at least the New Year. Even then, it can be hard to find great tenants.

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Leasing during the off-season isn't easy, but there are certain tricks we've learned over time that can fill vacancies faster - even in the dead of winter.

1. Create a comprehensive online listing

Don’t make someone track down the information they need to decide if they want to see your place. Include as much detail as possible in your listing. Are utilities included? Is there on-site parking? Is it on-street or off-street? The more detail, the better.

 

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2. Host an open house - or two

Most people think open houses are only used when selling a home, but in our experience, renters like the convenience of open houses too. People are busy. If you want to lease an apartment quickly, give people an opportunity to tour the unit without having to set up individual appointments.

 

3. Make a few easy upgrades

Your kitchen has traditional oak cabinets with outdated hardware. A coat of paint and new hardware would give the kitchen a more modern, fresh look. Swap out some old light fixtures for something new and modern. There are lots of little things you can do to make the unit stand out from others online.

 

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4. Consider concessions

It’s not always ideal to offer a discount, but if you want to move the unit quickly, this could help. For example, you could offer free rent in December to someone who signs a lease before January 1. Getting someone in the door with a temporary discount is better than not having anyone at all.

 

5. Focus on customer service

When the phone rings, answer it. When someone emails you, respond quickly. If someone has questions about the property, respond as quickly as possible. It increases the chances that they'll choose your rental over another. And remember, IKOS can handle this for you!

 

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6. Mix up the lease length

Some property owners are stuck on the standard 12-month lease. That said, a six, nine, or 18 month lease might work better for some people. If you’re going to be flexible on length, just make sure it expires during peak leasing season (May through August). This will help you to avoid off-season leasing next time around.

 

7. Sweeten the deal

Big apartment complexes sometimes throw in incentives to sweeten the deal for renters. Just because you’re an independent landlord doesn’t mean you can’t do the same thing! Free cable, a $250 gift certificate to a local grocery store, or three months of free cleaning service can make your property the right choice for someone who's comparing your apartment with others in the area.

 

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Interested in working with IKOS to lease your rentals this winter?

 

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