As every landlord knows, a vacant rental unit is the last thing you want to have. It’s hard to find a situation more dreaded than a prolonged investment property vacancy.
Without cash flow from the rent, these vacancies can quickly amount to steep costs for property owners, such as mortgage payments or maintenance fees that build without rental income. Unsurprisingly, a quick and easy property turnover is the goal when your previous tenant moves out.
However, as tempting as it may be to fill your vacancy fast, it’s not as simple as signing off on the first applicant that comes your way. Property turnovers can be incredibly time-consuming, from the time the previous tenant leaves to when the new lease is signed.
Property turnovers can be divided into two main stages: getting the property rent-ready and placing a new tenant. But how exactly are these steps done? Don’t worry, one of the top experts in San Diego property management, North County Property Group, has compiled tips on how to have an easy turnover for your San Diego rental property!
Making Your Property Rent-Ready
Before putting your property on the market, it needs to be rent-ready. To sum it up, a rent-ready property is one that will show well and is putting its best foot forward. You want your rental to be at the top of its game to attract the best prospective tenants.
You may be interested in getting a head start and listing your rental as “Coming Soon” before it’s rent-ready. We aren’t a fan of this approach, though. You risk having your listing get stale if there’s a lot to fix or improve on after your previous tenant has moved out. Trying to get ahead when your property isn’t ready may, unfortunately, make tenant turnover a much longer process than if you had spent the time to prepare your property before listing it.
The following are a couple of examples of what you can do after a tenancy ends so your San Diego property will be ready-to-rent:
1. General Maintenance
General maintenance encompasses a wide range of tasks. As we all know, normal wear and tear is inevitable, and it’s best to fix or replace what’s been worn down with time. You can do things like check that all appliances work, replace rusted fixtures, apply a new coat of paint, inspect the doors and doorbells, fix leaky faucets, and replace the flooring.
2. Property Improvements
Swapping old appliances with brand new ones can greatly enhance the appeal of your rental property, speeding up the property turnover process. You can also do aesthetic improvements such as boosting your curb appeal with professional landscaping. Additionally, you can make use of the ever-rising popularity of incorporating smart devices into your rental home!
As a landlord, it’s important to have access to various trades, from plumbing to gardening. North County Property Group has our own maintenance company, MaintenanceSync, which is a licensed general contractor. Hiring a property management company like us can make your property turnover much easier. We’ll coordinate all your repairs so that your San Diego rental property will hit the ground running and find a great tenant fast!
Placing a Tenant
The tenant placement stage is one of the most important parts of successful rental property ownership. Once again, it’s not as simple as posting your rental online and scheduling a showing for the first call that comes through! Taking your time with tenant placement can help you with things like receiving consistent rent payments and avoiding conflicts down the line.
The following are some of the factors that go into successfully placing a new tenant in your San Diego rental property:
1. An Efficient Listing Process
Having an efficient listing process is key to an easy property turnover. You want your property to be seen by as many prospective tenants as possible and with your property’s best features highlighted. This includes posting your rental on top listing sites, taking high-quality photos, and writing an attention-grabbing description on the property.
Here at North County Property Group, we get paid only when the first rent payment is processed and your rental unit is officially occupied. You can count on us to have your back every step of the way, and our listing process is no different! We offer our clients a proven and reliable process for quality tenant placement, starting with effective marketing. For more information on our marketing process, you can watch our video explanation here.
After listing your property, the pre-qualification stage will save you time when it comes to showing your property. Showing your property with no hope of following through with placement does no favors to anyone.
However, when speaking with prospective tenants, to stay in compliance with Fair Housing laws, there are certain things you can and can’t say. California also has different counties and cities that have their own ordinances relating to Section 8 of the Housing Act. It can be easy to make a mistake while questioning a prospective tenant and find yourself in legal trouble. It’s also important to be aware of laws pertaining to service animals. That’s why it’s best to hire a property management company.
North County Property Group responds to inquiries over the phone from your listing, discusses the information about the property with prospective tenants, and pre-qualifies them over the phone with our fine-tuned questioning process. Our company goes through fair housing guidelines training multiple times a year to ensure all our questions are legally compliant.
3. Property Showings
As we discussed in Episode 24 of our Property Management Brainstorm podcast, there are many factors to consider when showing your rental property. Traditionally, a leasing agent or the landlord themselves shows the rental property. These traditional showings can be scheduled in a couple of ways.
One way is the open house format, though it’s not a term we like to use as it encourages just about anyone to walk into your property. Instead, we use hosted showings, where we’ll have our agent at the rental property between a certain period of time one day. When potential applicants come to see the property, they may discover many people there at once and are encouraged to act quickly.
The other way is through private appointments. We have an agent from our company give a general availability during the week, and prospective tenants pick the best time for them. This method is most commonly used in the rental industry. However, this can have its pitfalls as there are multiple schedules to accommodate: the schedules of current occupants, leasing agents, and prospective tenants. It can make the property turnover process tricky sometimes.
A more innovative approach is through self-showings. Self-showings use electronic lockboxes. Everyone who is approved gets a unique code that works for a specific window of time and day where they can view the property. Self-showing is very efficient as it opens a rental to be viewed before and after business hours or on weekends. While this may seem like a risk, it’s in fact very secure, and a faster way to turnover your property!
At North County Property Group, most of our rental properties will get a lockbox, though we always ask property owners whether or not they’d like to opt in or out of this option. Your comfort is our priority. Our agents are given a general code, and make the rounds at the end of the day to make sure all properties are locked up. If anything is amiss, this electronic system logs all visitations with both entry and exit times, so nothing goes unnoticed.
Ultimately, by following all the above steps, your property will soon generate applicants. This finalizes the property turnover with the best pick from the tenant screening process. North County Property Group even offers applications for each of our properties through our website!
Property turnovers are not a small thing to do, and a rental that’s vacant for a few days can spiral into a few months without proper management. But remember, there are ways to make this process quick and easy. Consider hiring North County Property Group. We can take the weight of property turnovers off your shoulders so you can sit back while watching your property succeed!