The demand for rental properties keeps fluctuating depending on the season. Peak rental season is when most people are looking for houses to rent. As a property manager, this is the best time to list a rental property.
When Is Peak Rental Season?
Peak rental season varies from country to country. In the US housing market, it occurs between the summer months of May and August. There are several reasons why the peak rental season happens during these months:
- Parents prefer to move during the summer to avoid interrupting their children’s school year
- Moving during winter is difficult
- Students renting accommodation for school are likely to sign a lease during summer
- Graduates usually move into rental properties after finishing school in summer
Special holidays and events could also lead to high rental demand, especially for vacation rentals. Major events to look out for include St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, SXSW festival, Coachella festival, and various sports events. Be sure to mark the dates in advance so you can take advantage of the increased demand.
Why Is It Important to Prepare for Peak Rental Season?
Here are some of the benefits of preparing for the peak rental season:
- You can be selective – If you list your rental property during this season, more prospective tenants will see your listing. The more leads you have, the higher the chances of finding a good tenant. When you have many tenant leads, you can afford to be more selective when looking for a lead to lease.
- Avoid rental vacancies – Listing your client’s rental property when demand is high will minimize the chances of having vacant units.
- Higher rental rate – When demand is high, rental prices also tend to increase. This means achieving a better return on investment for your client and possibly more money for you, the property manager.
Being a property manager is about making the most of every opportunity. To take advantage of the peak leasing season, preparation is very important.
How a Property Manager Can Prepare
Here is how to prepare for peak rental season in 2020:
1. Train your employees
Whether you have new employees or a team that you’ve worked with for years, training is very essential while preparing for the peak season. Refresh them of company policies for managing rental properties, as well as federal, state, and local laws. Communication skills, marketing techniques, and teamwork should also be covered during the training. If you are using property management software, make sure all employees are proficient with it.
Review the results from the previous season and acknowledge the best performers. You could even give them a reward or bonus for their efforts. This will create a sense of competition among your employees as you head into the peak rental season.
2. Invest in technology
Technology will automate your processes and make it easier to get things done. Some of the most popular property management software in the market includes Buildium, Appfolio, Planon, Rentec Direct, and Propertyware. Such tools could come in handy for rental property marketing, rent collection, lease tracking, tenant screening, tenant communications, or portfolio management. You can also use property management apps to give potential tenants a virtual tour of your rental property.
3. Renovate the rental property
Before conducting home showings in peak rental season, make sure the investment property is in good condition. You might need to conduct a rental inspection first to know what needs to be fixed. Renovation could involve adding an extra bedroom, upgrading the bathroom and kitchen, replacing outdated electrical fixtures, giving walls a fresh coat of paint, and replacing the flooring. You should also ensure that the heating and cooling systems, as well as carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, are in good working order. Depending on your property management agreement, be sure to discuss any needed changes with the rental property owner and only bring to the table necessary renovations to take advantage of the peak renting season.
Related: Renovating a Rental Property: How to Save Money
4. Do a deep cleaning
Deep cleaning is another way to prepare rental properties for leasing season. If you don’t work with one already, you might want to hire a professional cleaning service to do a thorough job of cleaning the hard to reach areas of your rental property. This includes vent covers, ceiling fans, carpets, faucets, couches, blinds, and sinks. If the rental property has appliances, the oven, microwave, toaster, stovetop, refrigerator, and dishwasher should also be cleaned from the inside out. Don’t forget to clean your outside spaces as well.
5. Update your rental listings
Having an attractive listing will increase your chances of generating tenant leads during the peak season. Here are some things you will need to work on:
- Rental listing headline – When tenants are looking for a rental property, they are thinking about the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, location, and price range. All these details should be captured in your headline. For example, $1,200 – 2 Bath/3 Bed Single Family Home in Manhattan Suburbs.
- Rental listing description – Mention features that stand out most such as large windows, high ceilings, gardens, city skyline view, walk-in closet, hardwood floors, and balcony. Use adjectives like warm, intimate, cozy, private, spacious, and tasteful to describe the rental property. Don’t forget to include information about the neighborhood such as walk score, crime rate, and what is nearby (parks, schools, nightlife, train stations, malls).
- Rental listing photos – You need to have a photo for each living space, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. In addition, you should have photos of special features such as the garden, pool, outdoor spaces, and newly renovated areas. If you have the budget, you can hire a professional photographer to capture the best shots.
To make your description even more compelling, you could throw in a few testimonials from previous tenants. Approach a few and ask them to write a few paragraphs about what they enjoyed most about your property (and even your management!).
Be sure to review where you have been listing the properties for rent as well. It may be the time to try out new sites (in addition to what has been working in the past) and review sites that haven’t been working. Get started by checking out this list of the best real estate listing websites for long-term rental properties.
Related: What Are the Best Ways to Market Your Rental Listings?
6. Review your contracts and leasing agreements
Before the peak season, you must ensure that your leasing agreements and contracts are up to date. The lease agreement should include clauses on the use of premises, subletting, lease renewal, severability, and liability. It should also mention what exactly is included with the rent. As a traditional or Airbnb property manager, you must ensure that the lease protects your and your client’s best interests. In addition, the document should be compliant with state, local, and federal housing laws.
Related: 9 Things Every Tenancy Agreement Should Include
Finding tenants during peak rental season is not automatic. However, making the preparations outlined above and having a good marketing strategy will maximize your occupancy rate.
Want to get the most out of the peak rental season? A unique way of preparing for peak leasing season is by helping your property management clients find more investment properties to rent out. Mashboard is one of the best property management tools. It will help you match clients to the perfect rental property for them (with 90% accuracy). You can then share a full real estate analysis report with your client through the platform which will include key property data like listing price, estimated value, traditional and Airbnb cash on cash return, cap rate, rental income, cash flow, and more.
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