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Renting out your property can sound like a breeze.

All a landlord needs to do is clean up the home, take some photos for Zillow, open a door, and hand over keys, right? This is not necessarily the case.

Filling a vacancy involves understanding the rental market in your area and being strategic with the listing and pricing.

Here are a few reasons why your rental property is still vacant

Your rental property pricing is off

A common mistake many homeowners make when they rent their property is they think their property is the best home in their neighborhood. Homeowners get attached easily to their property and therefore list their home above the market price. This obviously leads to longer vacancy times and reduced the number of showings on the property.

Our CMO, Chuck Hattemer, wrote a guide on “How Much Can I Rent My Property For”. In it, he explains how there are costs of ownership in rental homes that are unavoidable. These are mortgage payments, property taxes, and utilities.

After setting this basis of how much you would need to set your rent to break even, you can see how it compares to other rentals in your area. Detach yourself from the emotional value of the home and approach it from a pure financial point of view.

Poplar Homes uses historical pricing data to analyze rental trends when setting a target rent price. What we recommend you doing is first calculate your fixed costs, your mortgage, taxes, and utilities.

Next, perform a comparable rent analysis in your area by finding similar properties around yours and seeing how much their prices are. Find the average between these prices. This is your baseline of where your property should be priced.

This whole process takes time. That’s why most homeowners avoid it. Use Poplar Homes’ “Get A FREE Rent Estimate” tool to find out how much your rental home is worth at no charge.

Your property marketing photos are dreadful

The iPhone is the world’s most popular and accessible camera but doesn’t always produce the best photos. Most property marketing photos are poorly lit, have awful angles, and is filled with clutter.

We recommend the following:

  • Upgrade to a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens if possible
  • Take photos at a lower angle, not from an eye level.
  • Turn on all lights and open all blinds to add in light. Most property marketing photos are poorly lit because the photographer forgets this step.
  • Remove all clutter from the home. A messy home leads to messy photos.
  • Shoot rooms from the corner to capture more in the shot

rental property marketing guide dos donts

The listing advertisements are not being seen

A common reason why a property is vacant long term is because views on the advertisement listing are low. Most homeowners and independent landlords only list their property on the big three rental sites: Craigslist, Zillow, and Trulia.

While these are the top sites where a renter may go, what we recommend is listing on more sites such as HotPads,, Facebook, and even directly within companies.

onerent rental listings product

The formula is simple. The more sites you list your rental on, the more people will view the listing, generating more showings, more applications, and less time spent on the market.

Your showings need improvement

Take a look at how your showings are setup. Do you text the prospect 1 hour or 30 minutes before the showing as a reminder to reduce no-shows? Do you set a calendar invite for the prospects to book it in their calendar? Do you follow up with every prospect after the showing to answer any questions they might have? Do you host private showings instead of lumping every prospect in for an open house?

If you do not, you need to do these as soon as possible.

Showing your home is tricky. Poplar Homes found that they were able to decrease vacancy times by introducing on-demand private showings that a prospect can schedule online, rather than the traditional open house model. We recommend hosting private showings for all prospects.


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If you do not have enough time to host private showings, another option would be to hire a property manager. With rental management services that cover listing and marketing your property for you, you’d be sure to rent out your home much faster.

The money you would save on vacancy costs would cancel out the management fees.

It is off-season

If you’ve tried all these tips and your home is still sitting on the market, then the issue might be the time of year.

In some areas, rental homes are very seasonal. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, East Bay, families usually reside here. Rentals tend to stay longer on the market during the winter times because families are not looking to move during the holidays. On the other hand, rental homes in San Francisco tend to move quickly all year round.

You need to factor the time of the year into your rental property marketing by possibly offering rent discounts and specials. Another option would be to avoid putting the property on the market during slow times.

Need help renting out your property? Have Poplar Homes do it for you at an incredibly competitive rate.

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