When most people think about fall leasing, the knee-jerk reaction is to think student rentals.
If your property is in a college town then, yes, you will naturally be interacting with student renters — and all their unique proclivities.
But the challenges and opportunities of attracting quality tenants to your units in August and September has less to do with students, and more to do with understanding the realities and mindset that all of your prospective fall renters are faced with.
For example, one very unique and hungry demographic of future tenants in the market for a quality rental right now are families and executives that are relocating. As August rolls around and September looms right around the corner, excitement over a new job prospect is displaced by the nagging reality that the kids start school in a few weeks, and the family still does not have a place to live.
Your future tenants may have been looking for the perfect place to buy, but now they are faced with the stark reality that it may not happen in the allotted time-frame. They will have to opt for “Plan B”.
Your rental may be the perfect Plan B. You benefit from the crazy housing market by snagging the perfect tenants for a one or two year lease.
How do you land these attractive tenants? By getting inside their heads.
This exercise can apply to any type of tenant profile, but let’s assume for the sake of discussion that you have a great family home for rent and you’re looking for the perfect tenants. Ask yourself what is important to them? In this example (family tenants) they are likely to be concerned about neighborhood schools. If you can relay that information to them, it saves a lot of groundwork and overcomes objections that could otherwise stall the lease negotiations. What about daily necessities for a burgeoning family, such as proximity to grocery stores, shopping malls, soccer fields, recreational centers, and public transportation?
Also, if the pressure is on and tenants are scrambling to find the perfect rental, the efficiency of your application process can be a deciding factor. Let them know how efficient your application process is, and assure them that you can access tenant screening reports quickly, while they check into the schools and recreational facilities. If your property fits like a glove, it can lead to a smooth transition for your future tenants and a quality landlord-tenant relationship, which is worth its weight in gold.
This ‘fall leasing’ scenario is not limited to relocating families. Another example would be catering to the needs of graduate students. While they are still technically students, they are a completely different demographic than undergrads. Gone are the beer bongs and all night parties. Now, the pressure is on. Their focus is, well, focus. They have two years to hit the books hard so they can make this college career pay off. Take away the home-hunting stresses, and this can be an ideal tenancy.
Keep in mind that school teachers also work on an academic calendar. So do retirees who spend the summers traveling. Unlike the traditional student renter, these fall tenants are focusing on a serene environment, something you may be happy to provide. In addition to proximity to campus, these renters also need amenities like local libraries, bike trails and public transportation. In-house laundry would be a great plus for this crowd. Perhaps including a bus pass with their rent could be a incentive that could draw just the right tenant to your rental.
Each rental has its own unique characteristics, but the underlying theme of renting in August and September is one of pressure. While landlords feel pressed to lease before the winter slow-down, tenants are feeling the pressure of looming deadlines as well. But that’s so reason to settle. With a little empathy, and a commitment to streamlining your tenant screening and application process, the perfect tenancy can be just around the corner.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.