Landlord’s guide: Marketing strategies to help reduce rental property vacancy

By Zarah Mae Torrazo 21 April 2022 | 1 minute read

An unoccupied rental property can be a nightmare for landlords. Here are our top rental marketing strategies to help reduce rental vacancy. 

rental property

The word “vacancy” is the nemesis of every landlord, as a rental property is only successful if a paying tenant occupies it consistently. 

This is because the longer you have vacancies in your rental property, the more your bottom line suffers. Every vacant day means losing profits, and potential costs can add up quickly in the long run. 

Therefore, effective rental property marketing strategies (along with thorough tenant screening) should be a leaf in every landlord’s playbook. 

Continue reading below as we discuss rental property marketing strategies that can help reduce vacancy rates. 

Why does rental marketing matter? 

For many first-time landlords, rental property marketing is something they have never had to do before. For some, it may not have even crossed their minds that it will be an important part of being a rental property owner. 

However, it’s important to understand that even experienced landlords might still be searching for how to advertise an investment property for rent successfully.

As mentioned, a good marketing strategy will play an important role in boosting your return on investment (ROI). When you have a vacant rental property, it costs you money every day that it sits unoccupied, chipping away at your profit. So it’s important to reduce that time between qualified, paying tenants to the bare minimum.

This is the main reason why you should focus on planning ahead and creating a solid rental property marketing strategy in the early development stages of your business.

While filling properties with good tenants can be a daunting undertaking, you want to make sure that you have a system in place to make this as efficient as possible.

Your marketing strategy should also not focus on just filling the vacancy as soon as possible. While finding good tenants isn’t always on top of your mind when trying to fill a rental property quickly, it is still a very important aspect of the marketing process. 

By having a solid marketing strategy that is far-reaching and positioned for your target market, you will have more qualified rental applications to go through. Ideally, the more applicants you have for a property, the more chances of finding a good tenant that is a good fit for your property. 

Good tenants also tend to be those that stay for longer periods of time, which will reduce your vacancy rates in the long term. 

When should I start marketing my rental property? 

Before we move on to what marketing strategies you can employ to fill the vacancy in your rental real estate, we must first discuss when is the best time to start advertising. 

For example, jumping into listing sites to put up an ad as soon as a property is vacant isn’t always the right choice, as this could lead to leaving a bad impression or attracting underqualified tenants.

Generally, prospective tenants look for properties about a month before they intend to move in. If you advertise too early, you may get a large number of inquiries within the first two weeks, but tenants may not be willing to wait if your property is only available too far down the track.

Advertising too late can also have its drawbacks. If you advertise too late, you may find tenants before the property is available, but by the time the tenants actually move in, it could be weeks, meaning you lose weeks of rental income.

Most experts recommend that the right time to market your rental property is typically four to six weeks before it is scheduled to become vacant. By doing so, you’ll gain the interest of potential renters who are neither too eager nor too nonchalant about moving into your property.

However, remember that the legislation varies from state to state on when you can start looking for a new tenant. For example, in the NSW, you can only hold viewings two weeks before the tenancy agreement ends, with reasonable notice. The type of lease agreements (periodic or fixed) may also impact the length of your campaign. 

In some states, tenants are also allowed to break their lease early, depending on special circumstances. With this, make sure to check your state or territory’s tenancy laws before rolling out your marketing campaign. 

Marketing strategies to help reduce rental property vacancy

When marketing a vacant rental property, it’s always a good idea to maximise different marketing avenues and not limit yourself to a single method. 

By diversifying the strategies you use while marketing, you will be able to achieve more in the same amount of time. 

Here are some marketing ideas that will fill rental vacancies quickly:

  • Use word of mouth

Word of mouth, while old-school, can be a tremendously rewarding marketing technique. 

Harness its power by encouraging a positive buzz about your property. Sometimes, other tenants can be your best free resource when it comes to finding potential tenants. 

Let your other tenants know that you have a vacancy available, and let them spread the word among family, friends, and co-workers. You can even offer your existing tenants rewards or bonuses (e.g. rent discount, gift card) for referring their friends and ask them to post positive reviews and recommendations on your online platforms. 

Most importantly, treat them respectfully and kindly so that they’ll be more likely to recommend your property to their acquaintances. Here are some ways to keep tenants happy and comfortable in their space: 

  • Stay on top of maintenance and repairs
  • Be responsive to tenant concerns, issues, inquiries
  • Upgrade your property with modern and practical features/amenities 
  • Respect their privacy 
  • Be proactive with lease renewals

Actions, after all, are louder than words. Additionally, being a responsible and proactive landlord will not only be beneficial to your tenants (both current and future) but to your property as well. 

  • Maximise the use of your social media platforms 

According to recent data, the average person spends around three hours a day on social media. With that said, social media rental marketing strategies are a quick way to reach your target market of potential tenants. 

Use your social marketing accounts such as Facebook and Instagram to spread the word about the vacancy. Most likely, your business page already has a network of people connected to you on these platforms.

You can also take advantage of the advertising features that social media websites offer (e.g. sponsored posts on Facebook, Twitter ad campaign plans, etc.) to boost your visibility on these platforms. 

If you are not yet on any social media platforms, take time to create a profile for your business that can help to establish your online presence. 

Additionally, continue updating your profile by providing quality content that will reel in tenants that are hunting for a new place to live in. 

  • Create and maintain a website

Research shows that four out of five renters search for their next home via online resources. In other words, if landlords are not maximising online presence, they could miss out on over 80 per cent of the tenant prospect pool.

In addition to social media accounts, landlords are advised to set up a website that provides a professional image and allows owners to leverage other digital platforms like social media to drive traffic to their listings.

Additionally, websites can allow for easy application submission, tenant screening, rent collection, and maintenance request submission. So, go check out some of the top website builders on the market for user-friendly platforms in various customisable designs. 

  • Support local merchants in exchange for free advertising

Another smart marketing move is to set up a bartering system with local businesses and merchants in your neighbourhood. 

Include information about local merchants such as bakeries, shops, laundromats, grocery stores, coffee shops etc. in your welcome package for new tenants and offer them complimentary advertising on your online platforms in exchange for free advertising in their business locations. 

It will be like hitting two birds with one stone, as you’ll reach a broader audience without spending a penny.

  •  Signage 

Don’t knock on old-fashioned advertising methods till you try them. While adding a “For Rent sign on your vacancy property feels blasé, this traditional marketing trick is not lacking in terms of value in marketing. Properties with heavy vehicles or foot traffic nearby can benefit from a traditional yard or window sign. 

So what do you put on a “For Rent” sign? This is often a point of confusion for landlords, especially those who have not tried preparing one before. 

At first, it sounds like a good idea to put a lot of details on the sign so that people know what to expect. However, it’s still important to make a sign that will be legible even at a distance — and a sign that’s cramped with words won’t allow that. 

So how can you balance these two things? Most designers advise keeping simple facts on the sign in large, bold letters that will be visible at whatever distance at which the sign will be most commonly viewed. 

For example, if potential clients will view your property from the roadside, you will want signs that will be viewed from the road to have a larger font rather than a sign that will be hanging on a door that people walk right up to.

In these instances, just including the words “FOR RENT” as well as your contact information can be sufficient, especially when the signs will be viewed from a distance. 

Another benefit of keeping the information simple is that you can reuse them for multiple rental properties, or in case another vacancy looms.

Of course, it can be beneficial to also make up some signs that have more detailed information when possible. When making a sign that will be hung up close to its viewers, add the following in list form:

  • Property address
  • Rental price
  • Application information
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Amenities
  • Other notable features
  • Use online listing portals 

In Australia, it’s common practice among landlords to get their property listed on online listing portals, typically on Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au. This is because both websites are considered to be the superstars of property websites as they both get millions of monthly site visits.

These websites have also built-in tenant vetting features such as background checks, giving you access to high-quality applications. 

The only catch is that you need to be a licensed real estate agent to advertise on these sites.

For landlords who want to DIY their listing, they can turn to Rent.com.au. Just like Realestate.com.au and Domain, this website has features that verify information about prospective tenants and filter out low-quality applicants, all while getting high traffic on their site.

You can also always hop onto Flatmates.com.au and Flatmatefinders.com.au, which allows you to view profiles of prospective tenants. These websites provide basic information about prospective tenants, such as how old they are, where they want to live, how much they want to spend, how long they want to stay, and their employment status. 

But just a heads up: unlike Domain and Realestate.com, these sites don’t conduct background checks. This means you may be in for some lower-quality applicants, and you may want to add steps in your own screening process. 

However, don’t be limited to these popular options. Look around for local or regional sites that include apartment and rental property listings, too.

All in all, getting your property on these listing websites there will net you higher quality tenants faster and will greatly contribute to lowering vacancy rates.

  • Spruce up your listing!

When creating your listing online among other rental property listings, it can be hard to stand out. After all, it can be hard to compete with properties that are managed by a property management company with the latest camera gear and marketing know-how. 

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t help your listing be viewed in a positive light by just making a few small changes. 

Here are some ways to make sure that your property listing can make a strong impression on potential tenants:

  • Invest in good photos 

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”  We have all heard it, and with property advertising, it is absolutely true. 

Strong, beautiful images can make your rental listing stand out, in turn getting you more interested people to consider your property as their next home. If a property’s photos are dark, cluttered, or of poor quality, the tenant is likely to not give it a second glance (or thought). 

Aside from getting high-quality photos that put your property’s best face forward, it’s also advised to take photos when the premises are vacant. This allows the prospective renter to appreciate the space and imagine their own belongings in the space. 

That said, if occupied photos are your only option, make sure to talk to the tenant and give plenty of notice to declutter and clean up before taking photos of the property. Make sure to showcase each area of the space and highlight its best features. 

  • Write an enticing description

In addition to high-quality photos, a good listing must have an accurate yet dynamic description. Your description should: 

Give prospective tenants basic specifications – This includes the number of bedrooms and baths, the location of the property, as well as the price, deposit, standard qualifications, and contact information. 

Call attention to desirable features – This will help set your property listing apart from the competition. Features tenants may be interested in include onsite parking, a well-kept curbside, pet-friendly accommodations, onsite laundry, proximity to transport links, etc. 

Make tenants look forward to viewing your property – In rental ads, landlords have a relatively small space to write a description that can make a strong first impression. Therefore, how you say something is just as important as what you say. Use descriptive adjectives to make the description more interesting, but don’t exaggerate or lie about the features of your property. On top of that, always check for spelling and grammar before posting publicly.

  • Ensure that the rental price is competitive 

Your property has it all — good pictures, an eye-catching description, and all the vital information. But why is it not getting traction?

If your listing does not generate a lot of interest, the price could be a factor. After all, most tenants prioritise the rental price more than any other factor when choosing a rental property. 

This may require you to re-evaluate if your rental price is competitive. Remember, it’s all about striking a balance between maximising your rental return and minimising your vacancy rates. 

To help gauge the proper listing price, compare your weekly rate to other similar properties that are for rent in your local market. This will help give you an idea of what your rental price range should be. 

For more information, head on over to Smart Property Investment’s Suburb Search page to get insights on vital market info, including growth rates, rental yields, vacancy rates, median house prices, time on market and other key demographic data.

  • Choose the right property manager 

If you choose to outsource the management of your rental property to a property management company or an independent property manager, make sure you choose the right one for the job.

A good property manager can be an invaluable asset for your investment property strategy. Aside from taking care of day-to-day tasks associated with managing a property, they can help you advertise your rental property and find good tenants.  

That being said, some property managers are a cut above the rest, so you need to make sure you find the right one. Make sure to use our guide for finding a good property manager before you sign up with anyone. 

Disclaimer: The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent investment or financial advice, which we strongly recommend.  

Smart Property Investment provides Australian property investors with must-have insight, strategies and real-life experiences to help guide successful buying and selling decisions in the Australian property market.

Tune in to our podcasts covering a variety of topics related to the real estate market. You can also follow Smart Property Investment on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

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Investment property

An investment property refers to a land, condo unit or building purchased to earn profit through rentals or capital appreciation.

Investment property

An investment property refers to a land, condo unit, or building purchased to earn profit through rentals or capital appreciation.

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A property manager is an individual or company hired to handle the day-to-day operations, maintenance and administration of a residential, commercial or industrial property on behalf of its owners.

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A property manager is an individual or company hired to handle the day-to-day operations, maintenance, and administration of a residential, commercial, or industrial property on behalf of its owners.

Real estate

Real estate is a type of real property that refers to any land and its permanent improvement or structures that come with it, whether natural or man-made.

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Landlord’s guide: Marketing strategies to help reduce rental property vacancy
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