What Landlords Can Do While Property Is Vacant?

If you’re a landlord, buying real estate to rent out to tenants, then you’re going to face times when these properties are sitting vacant.

A vacant property is simply an empty property. No rental income coming in and nobody living in the property.

It’s bad for your bottom line and return on your investment, but there are things you can do to make positive out of the situation.

#1: Give the Property a Paint Job

When tenants move out it’s a good time to go in and repaint the place with fresh paint to make it feel new and renovated again.

Walls get scuffed up, kids draw on walls with crayons, or perhaps the previous tenant did some painting of their own and chose colors you hate.

Choosing light colors (white, tan, light grey) is a good option to keep the rooms lit from natural light. They also contrast nicely with flooring or trim work around doors and windows.

#2: New Flooring

Flooring is another part of the house / apartment unit that gets damaged, worn down, etc. from tenants living in the property.

Hardwood floors can get scratched up looking. Carpet can get torn or filled with stains.

Putting in new flooring can do wonders for making the place look fresh and new again. It can also help you command higher rents if you’re raising rent while the property is vacant.

#3: Upgrade the Kitchen

Speaking of raising rents, if you want to make the perceived value of the rental property go up then renovating the kitchen area can achieve this outcome.

Prospective tenants moving into the rental property will care most about the kitchen and bathrooms.

Consider upgrading appliances (stove, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher) to help justify charging higher rents or make your property stand out compared to other rentals nearby.

#4: Upgrade the Bathroom

Bathrooms are made up of flooring (wood, tile or laminate usually), a vanity and sink, toilet, and shower. Sometimes some shelving or storage space as well as mirrors and lighting.

Consider those items and if any need repaired, replaced, or upgraded to make the bathroom more appealing.

#5: Adjust Your Rental Contract

Most of the tips above for landlords dealing with vacant property had to do with renovations and repairs. But this tip is about your rental agreement contract.

While the property sits vacant, it’s an opportunity to redesign your lease based on past experience now to change things you didn’t like before.

For example, imposing stricter late fee penalties if tenants don’t pay rent on time. Or restructuring who pays for certain utilities. Pet fees. Larger security deposits.

You can make this new contract more bullet proof so you hopefully avoid headaches caused from the last tenant.

#6: Hire a Property Manager

Maybe it’s time to outsource managing the rental property this time around. Find a property manager who is experienced at getting the property leased with a new, quality tenant.

Collecting rents, paying bills, handling maintenance work are all things that would be nice to have outsourced so you can focus on other things in life and let the rental income roll in passively.

#7: Take New Photos

Taking new photos is important to keep your listing fresh.

Photos from 5 years ago when camera quality sucked and the walls were a different shade of white can make the place look dated and feel less high end. Tenants sense that in photos and know when something looks old.

This also leads them to think “negotiate lower rent”. Why pay higher rent for old and outdated.

#8: List Online in Many Different Places

A vacant property is a loss of money so consider getting it listed online for rent as soon as possible. There are tons of websites you can get your property listed on to reach a larger pool of potential tenants.

Popular sites include:

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • Craigslist
  • HotPads
  • Zumper
  • Rent.com
  • HomeAway
  • AirBnb

Overall, try these 8 tips for keeping busy and making use of time while a property is sitting vacant. There could be repairs to be made, contracts to be adjusted and updated, systems to be re-created so managing becomes easier, and other fixes you can make to your business.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out resources below.

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