How to Market Vacant units for Rent

Many times, rental property owners skirt around this crucial step of the process. Or are caught unawares when a tenant unexpectedly declares their intention to move.

The obvious issue with this is that the rental unit can’t be marketed because it isn’t empty yet. It is still occupied, so how can you forecast when it will actually be vacated, refurbished and spruced up in preparation for a new tenant? is it not possible, so don’t try it. Trying to coordinate showings, move outs/move ins, repainting,  cleaning, signing lease agreements and deposit refunds becomes a tight rope to walk if everything goes hassle-free.

First steps for vacant rental properties

Once a property becomes vacant, it is refurbished (or at least repainted) and cleaned/prepared for a new tenant. You can now start trying to attract the best prospective tenant. Currently, most Kenyan tenants look for rental properties online through listing sites such as Olx or other classified sites. The key to efficient rental property marketing is honesty. When potential tenants come to view a vacant unit you are renting out in person, they want it to correspond with the expectations you provided ahead; most probably online. If it doesn’t, you will have just wasted their time and yours!

Show the house as accurately as you can in your ads and photos, because they promote honesty and will provide you prospective tenants that are the best match for your rental home. A good rule of thumb is to share between 6-12 photos for a property. Take photos of all of the rooms, storage areas, parking, laundry, common areas and exterior. This will give the prospective tenant a clear idea of what they should expect to find. If you only show one or two photos, you are leaving a huge void in the mind of the prospective tenant. The more details you provide, the more successful you will be. It will you and the tenant a lot of time because it prepares them well in advance with what you have to offer.

Save time with video to market vacant property units

After you have taken enough photos, the next way to create an complete vacancy listing is to perform a virtual walk through with a three to five minute video. With nothing more than your smartphone and good knowledge about the property, take a stroll around the rental home and provide a narrative. Make sure the rooms are well lit in order to capture good video. Explain the dimensions of the rooms, features offered and any restrictions (For example, “Please note the master bedroom is on the far side of the house”).

Details like this will engage your audience and bring you closer to a qualified, high-quality potential tenant whose needs are close to what you are offering. A short video will not give the prospective tenant a full picture, and a video that is too long will probably lose their attention span. You can share the video on messaging apps like Whatsapp or telegram, You can also share on video repositories like YouTube or Vimeo.

[The new kodisher vacant unit search page allows you to share your vacant units on most social media platforms at the touch of a button. ]

Stick to the facts and your rental advert

When you post a vacant rental unit listing online, include as many details as possible. Avoid subjective words that are up for interpretation. For example, instead of describing a property as: “Beautiful, Charming, Sunny 1 Bedroom in nice route!” try a title with explanatory terms, such as “1 Bed, tiled floors, Granite kitchen tops, Cabro Parking, extra Laundry area, Pets OK.” Factual titles provide clear information to prospective tenants. Consider also that prospective tenant may need to share property details with their spouses so have crisp information is critical to get their interest.

Many property managers will also want to place “For Rent” signs outside the vacant property unit or hanging on the sides on the building. This will certainly attract phone calls, but the phone calls may be low quality prospects. Prospective tenants you reach this way won’t have any information on the rental home, other than the area it is located in (and whatever you can squeeze on the sign with a marker). Have a telephone line they can call to get the full details on the rental property.

With these simple steps, you will find that your prospective tenant list is of much higher quality, and your time spent is boiled down to the minimum . In a world full of inefficient property managers, you can jump ahead of the pack by light years using simple technology and clear communications —making you more savvy, respected and profitable!

As an extra note Kodisher is in the process of integrating the property management with a public vacant properties search where prospective tenants would be able to search from listed vacant units. property managers will be able to set unit to become automatically searchable anytime there is a vacancy. [This is LIVE as of December 2019].

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