I bet you hate vacancies as much as I do! But do you have a plan to eliminate them?
I’m embarrassed to admit that I had grown to accept vacancies as something I had to live with. That’s a completely useless attitude for an innovative entrepreneur. I’m officially changing my ways.
Focusing on Zero Vacancies as a Means to Reduce Your Vacancy Rate
Plan A is to keep your tenants happy so they never move.
Plan B is to find a replacement tenant before your departing tenant moves out.
Plan C is to fill your empty rental unit as fast as possible.
Let’s take a closer look at Plan B. Since I’m insisting in creating a vacancies-free business, I need to beef up my Plan B skills.
The 8 Step Zero Vacancy Plan (Plan B)
Here’s an outline of the plan I’m going to implement and I welcome your suggestions. It goes like this:
Step 1. Set Your Intentions. You already know that goal setting is a powerful tool to improve your performance. Let’s use it to reduce your vacancy rate. This plan hinges on the fact that the time it takes to complete a task will expand or contract to the time allowed. Since you can pick whatever you what as an acceptable down time why not pick ZERO?
Step 2. Enlist Departing Tenant Onto Your Team. Even though your lease terms may give you this right, offer departing tenant $10 to clean their place before showings and a $100 if replacement tenant signs lease before they move out. This financial incentive should put you and your departing tenant on the same side of wanting zero vacancies and that’s a great place to be!
Step 3. Create a Detailed Scope of Work. Spend some time detailing what needs to be done to make the unit market ready. You may need to collect measurements to replace flooring, window coverings, and evaluate walls. Collect all this information and get a head start on planning the turnaround.
Step 4. Fire Up Your Procurement Plan:
* Buy home improvement store coupons off eBay and shop wisely for the things you’ll need to buy. You will surely need to spend some money turning around your unit.
* Buy some discounted gift cards to Home Depot or Lowes. This tactic takes the sting out of spending money and easily reduces your expenses by 30 percent.
* Shop wisely for good deals. This is a great way to spend a little time to get a big savings.
Step 5. Fire Up Your Marketing Machine. I’ve found that by creating three slightly different Craigslist ads and refreshing one each day, I can stay on top of listings. I get significantly more calls that way. Some prospects simply don’t scroll down too far or use the search features.
* Post a Craigslist ad. Check out the Landlordology Blog’s guide for creating the perfect Craigslist ad. Lucas offers some great tips.
* Email your previous and current tenants. Offer them $100 if they refer someone to you that gets approved and actually signs a lease.
* Tell your Facebook friends. If you have a Facebook group of friends then you should certainly tell them that your rental will be available. You won’t be the first person surprised by the power of this social network.
Step 6. Start Showing “Staged” Rental. You may want to set up showings three days a week so the departing tenant has a schedule. I’ve also heard of having the departing tenant actually do the showing for you. How sweet would that be! When you bring them onto your team, all sorts of benefits may result.
Step 7. Line Up Your “Pit Crew.” If you really want to reduce your vacancy rate, you need to blitz the turnaround just like a NASCAR racer. Schedule so everyone is lined up ahead of time. Keep the sense of urgency and bring on other that will assist you get your rental back on the market quickly.
Step 8. Quantify Everything. You get what you measure! Track how many people respond to your ads, how much you spend on turnaround, and how may days your rental stays off the market. Post these metrics on the wall; allow them to inspire you. I currently post my monthly income goal and I see it everyday. Join me in posting a zero vacancy goal. Try this (for free) and see if making a proclamation works for you as well.
That’s my plan to reduce my vacancy rate. I’ll document how well it goes when I get another 30-day move out notice. My friends on BiggerPockets say they have great success showing units during this period and I’m hoping for the same results.
Set move out dates to land on Sundays and not on the last day of the month. This sets stage for workers to start turn over frist thing on Monday. – Jerry Davis
Please leave a comment or suggestion in the section below. Tell me how you plan to reduce your vacancy rate. Thanks!
You may also enjoy reading: How to Reduce Vacancies: Motivate Tenants to Extend Lease
Al, you nailed it man! The main trick I use to prevent vacancies completely is to show the unit before the previous lease has ended. I usually start showing a unit 4-6 weeks prior to lease end. By that time, I have a strong enough relationship with the current tenant that they actually want to clean the into when ask them too. I’m going on 8 years, 22 tenants, zero vacancies. One day, my luck will change but until them I’m enjoying the blessing.
Lucas, you’re my hero. I going to follow your example and stop being so polite/dumb.
hi Al Williamson,
awesome step by step guidance that how can we reduce vacancy rates…
you can also checkout latest post of shartigram on vacancy rate..
Thanks for the bonus tip! Sunday moves are great if it works for your tenants. Some places don’t allow move ins on weekends so it might not work for everyone.
I’ll add one more – hang a for rent sign in the yard as soon as possible. Don’t underestimate the amount of traffic that you can get drive by a simple yard sign.