It seems new investors and first-time home buyers have two big concerns about their first duplex: vacancies and the toilet
Vacancies are a concern of any landlord. The longer a unit sits empty, the more significant the loss in revenue, and the more it costs you, the landlord.
So, how do you reduce vacancies?
While it may seem obvious, your first strategy is to buy a property in an area where people want to live. Think of the amenities you might want for yourself in a home. Do you like woodwork? Do you need a dishwasher? Access to laundry? Do you need easy access to public transportation?
Also consider the types of tenants a property might attract. For example, more bedrooms may be attractive to families; or, if near a university, a group of students. One bedroom units, on the other hand, will appeal to single people or young couples.
A fresh coat of paint and a clean, well-maintained property will always rent more quickly than those that are not. Try to make your vacant unit shine when compared to those of the competition. This doesn’t mean you need granite counter tops- just well-kept, clean, and reasonably updated.
While all of these are useful and important strategies, there is one more; the most effective of all. Lower the rent.
This is a common new landlord mistake; one I’ve made myself. It’s easy to look at competitor’s ads on Craigslist
and decide your unit is superior, or to base the amount you charge for the unit on the cash you “need”.
But, but… yeah, I know. You really have to have $1000 a month for that two bedroom unit with hardwood floors. So, instead of renting it at $900, you hold out for your price. It doesn’t rent. Two months later, you lower the rent to $900 and it fills. So, while you held out, you lost two months of revenue at $900, for a total of $1800; all in the name of getting $2000. In the name of getting a whopping $200 more, you lost $1800.
Yeah, I know. It seemed logical to me at the time too.