Four Tips to Deal With a Vacant Rental Property
What's your biggest fear as a landlord? If you said anything other than "not having tenants" or "months without rent," you might not have had to experience this stressor as a landlord.
Many landlords fear a month or two—or more—without rent-paying tenants. If you're a new landlord or you have a property you never wanted, the idea of not having a tenant and losing money can make you want to sell your Metro Detroit property and move on.
Every landlord experiences a slow season or a period of time without a tenant. It's a scary situation, but let's examine those fears and learn how to handle downtime without a tenant.
1. Plan for It!
While it should be rare, an empty rental property happens sometimes.
Plan your rental property business to absorb a month without rent money coming in. You should never live "rent check to rent check" as a landlord—a month or two without rent shouldn't ruin your business.
Follow a couple of landlord basics to make sure you have enough cash flow to offset a rough month for your Metro Detroit property if you need it!
Make Sure the Price Is Right
Your rental price should cover all expenses plus provide a nice monthly profit. If your monthly rent is too low, you might barely break even—or lose money. Give yourself a little padding when planning how much you'll charge tenants for monthly rent. If you need to raise the rent, do it slowly to avoid losing tenants with a significant rent increase. If you set the best rental price, you'll have some reserves to get you through a lean month.
Make Smart Choices Before Your First Tenants
Set the property up to succeed and reduce the potential of losing tenants you can't replace. Make sure your property is what quality tenants want. Screen your tenants to find the best people for your property. Don't overspend on unnecessary upgrades, amenities, or contractors to get the home ready for renters.
Proper planning makes it easier to thrive through the ups and downs of being a landlord.
2. Cut Your Costs
When a tenant leaves, if you don't have a new one ready to move in, cut your routine expenses. Performing a survey of these expenses using a property expense audit can put you ahead of the curve while waiting for your next tenant.
The Property Expense Audit
Save money while your property awaits new tenants by reviewing your expenses. Are you paying too much for any services, like contractors or lawn services? You'll also have to cover the utilities while your property sits vacant. Are the lights off? Is a faucet running? Is the air conditioner on a "maintenance" setting?
Without tenants in your property, it's an excellent time to go through your outgoing expenses and make sure they add value to your property without hurting your income.
3. Make Property Upgrades
It might seem silly to spend money when you don't have rent money coming in. However, an empty property is also a perfect time to make necessary updates and repairs.
Are you losing tenants because your property isn't what renters want? Making thoughtful upgrades can help you attract a better tenant who renews their lease next time. The right upgrades can also boost your rental income!
- Are your appliances out of date? Appliances are an excellent investment to improve the appeal of your rental property. Plus, you can save on your taxes for your rental property.
- Are there energy-saving upgrades you can make? It might not be worth it to add solar panels, but swapping old lightbulbs for new LED bulbs, sealing around windows, and making sure the air-conditioner isn't too old can reduce energy costs and appeal to a tenant.
- Does the front door need an update? Painting or replacing the front door helps improve the curb appeal of your property. This simple change can catch the eye of your new tenant.
If your property sits empty for more than a few months, it's time to take a hard look at your Metro Detroit property and invest in some worthy upgrades.
4. Guarantee Your Rent
You can avoid experiencing your biggest fears of losing money on your rental property. When you hire an expert property manager, you minimize the risk of months without a tenant in your property. Your property manager knows how to set the right rental price and help you budget for unexpected expenses. They help you make the right upgrades to your property, plus they screen and manage tenants for better tenant retention!
JMZ Property Management goes a step beyond when setting you up for success as a landlord. With our Guaranteed Rent Program, we find the right tenants for your property within thirty days, or we manage your property—for free—for three months.
An empty property doesn't make money for you. We are confident that our tools and expertise will bring you the income you need, or we serve you for free. It's that simple! Get in touch with JMZ today, and see how we can put our Guaranteed Rent Program to work for you!