One of the most crucial things in managing your rental business is having a high-quality renter. But how easy or difficult is it to find one in the light of looming post-moratorium evictions and a job market that’s slow to grow?
If you have the time and know-how to self-manage your rental property, doing tenant placement by yourself would be a practical choice. However, if you don’t have the time, experience, and patience to do this tedious process, finding a professional to do the job for you will give your rental business a better chance of success.
If you’re on the fence about using a tenant placement service, here’s what it’s like finding and qualifying a renter on your own without expert help.
Be Wary of Listing Pitfalls
While you can opt to use traditional marketing channels for your rental, such as print ads and ‘’For Rent’’ signs, exploring digital channels gives you an edge. A study by Apartments.com and Google revealed that 72% of renters use the Internet to search for a rental. Sixty-six percent of their respondents also found their apartments online.
To attract as many applicants to your property as possible, you will have to place it on multiple listing sites. However, listing your property entails more work than you may know. First, you need to find out which listing sites renters normally flock to and which can give you a good number of tenant leads. Then you have to create your actual listing and come up with a catchy title to capture the attention of prospects.
When creating your listing’s property description, be careful that it does not contain anything discriminatory, and there is no misrepresentation in your property information. Otherwise, you might be violating Fair Housing laws.
You will also need high-quality photos to draw more attention to your listing. It’s tempting to use your smartphone to take pictures, but make sure you know what you’re doing. When in doubt, hire a professional photographer and see if you need a home staging for the photoshoot. Failing to give attention to these details can yield less than desirable results, putting your listing efforts to waste.
If you find there are too many listing pitfalls to avoid, a reliable property manager can take the burden off your shoulders. They have the listing expertise and experience to know what works and what doesn’t. That includes creating info-rich and law-compliant descriptions, taking high-quality marketing photos, and listing on the top sites.
Marketing and Inquiries Can Be Exhausting
There are countless listings on the Internet; just a quick search at Facebook Marketplace will give you an endless scroll. How can you put more eyes on your listing amidst all the competition out there?
You’ll need to advertise and market your listings through multiple channels. This would mean writing your own advertisement and running the marketing campaigns yourself. And when queries come in, you should be able to respond to them quickly so prospects won’t lose interest or get frustrated and leave.
The challenge then is attending to each query as you’ll want to accommodate every qualified prospect. But you can easily get overwhelmed by inquiries when they all come at once, especially if you have to juggle work, a business or project, and your personal life.
Property managers already have their marketing systems in place, giving you an edge in promoting your listing through social media advertising. The ones that adopt innovation can have an AI chatbot that attends to inquiries and even assists in bookings for home tours. You can let them do all the work and free yourself from the stress associated with marketing and prospect inquiries.
Showings Can Curtail Your Personal Time
For DIY owners, booking a home tour with prospects and making yourself available for every showing can be challenging. You need to set aside time for the lengthy back-and-forth in scheduling home tours, especially if you and the prospect are both struggling to find a common time. If you can’t be on call any time of the day and any day of the week for this, your vacancy could last longer than you want.
Virtual Tour is now a standard and convenient option for potential renters, especially during this pandemic era. It lets prospects virtually interact with your property, giving them a better look and feel of the home without both of you needing to be on-site. It will also allow renters from out-of-town to view your home at their convenience.
Multiple prospects can make virtual tours at any time. That means more eyes on your rental, a faster way to fill in your vacancy, and reduced vacancy costs for you. However, creating a virtual tour for your home can be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive.
Property managers who understand the value of digital marketing tools usually have virtual tours and digital floor plans to offer prospects a complete home viewing experience. These will not only highlight your listing but also set it apart from competition.
Tenant Screening Mistakes Can Get You in Trouble
Your goal is to find high-quality renters—those that will pay on time and take care of your property as their home. Doing tenant screening yourself, however, is easier said than done. Checking credit scores, employment information, rental history, and other parts of tenant screening require a careful eye and a lot of time and energy.
Any mistake you might make when screening applicants can land you a bad renter—they may turn out to be habitual late payers (or may not pay rent at all) or can cause damage to your property. That would mean loss of rental income and cost for any maintenance or repair if your property were damaged. Worse, you may end up spending thousands of dollars if you need to evict your tenant later on.
It’s critical to follow laws such as the Fair Housing Act. When qualifying renters on your own, you must avoid any form of discrimination against renters based on their color, race, nationality, gender, religion, disability, and familial status. The Fair Housing Act covers only the minimum protection, so you will need to find out if there are other protected classes in local and state laws.
Your lease also needs to be Fair Housing-compliant. If you choose to DIY your rental lease preparation, you must understand Fair Housing laws in your area. It would be in your best interest to consult a legal expert to check your lease for any violation or non-compliance with the law to avoid stiff penalties.
Take note that civil penalties for violating the Fair Housing Act can reach up to $16,000 for the first violation and $37,500 for the preceding five-year period, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Apart from the Fair Housing Act, there are other laws concerning credit reports, criminal background checks, maximum occupancy, among many other things. You must find out what they are and familiarize yourself with their rules and regulations. You will also need to learn the local, state, and federal laws to ensure you are fully compliant.
Property managers make it their business to know rental laws. Their tenant placement process will abide by state guidelines and federal housing laws, from listing to screening to lease preparation. You’re assured your lease complies with local standards and the latest rental laws and regulations.
Be worry-free with tech-enabled placement services
If you’re willing to take on all the challenges of tenant placement, take the key points mentioned above as a guide for you. If you want a successful rental business but don’t want to deal with all the work, getting the help of a professional property manager will be your best option.
Property managers have vast experience and deep insights into the rental market, so you can rely on them for a complete tenant placement service to fill in your vacancy quickly. Those who leverage the power of technology like Poplar Homes can give you a better experience using innovative tech and automation with contactless rentals.
Poplar Homes can fast-track tenant placement with chatbot-assisted on-demand bookings, online renter applications, and quick but thorough screening, including background check, credit check, eviction history, employment, income verification, and landlord references.
Doing your own tenant placement can give you a sense of control. If you can swing all the busywork it requires to land you a high-quality renter successfully, this could be a practical option for you. But if you’re doing all the work involved but miss out on something or inadvertently make a mistake, you won’t achieve the results you want, and it may even cost you.
Property management professionals have the deep knowledge and experience that you need to take the burden off your shoulders. With Poplar Homes, you get full-stack, tech-enabled management of your property from leasing to tenancy, using data and expert knowledge and insights to maximize your rental profit and set you up for success.