With interest rates at record lows and the banks easing their restrictions on lending we are seeing more new investors coming to us for advice every day. One of the biggest stressors for all landlords (seasoned and new) is vacancy periods. Here at Goulburn First National Real Estate our Property Management Team consistently maintains a low vacancy rate! Here’s our top 5 ways to minimise your vacancy rate for your investment property in Goulburn
1. First impressions count!
You’ve found the perfect home online, its need and tidy and advertised at a great price, so you bundle the kids into the car and go to do a drive by the house before booking an inspection. As you reach the street and the spot where the house is meant to be you see a derelict house with grass as high as the letterbox, paint peeling from the front and poking out of the mess is a real estate agents sign. The photos of the home were from 10 years ago when the property last sold. In this day and age appearances count for everything, so if your investment property is looking tired and unloved, chances are it’s going to be on the market for longer. A thorough clean, a coat of paint, replacing soft furnishings like carpets and curtains and some light gardening (mowing, pruning and re-mulching) can all breathe life into a property. Ensuring your photos are up to date and accurate is important too. These changes will also help you attract a higher quality tenant who is more likely to look after and respect your property.
2. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
Just like your car goes in for an annual service, your investment property needs check-ups and spot maintenance too. If a property is poorly maintained your tenants are more likely to turn over in a shorter period of time. By doing regular maintenance it ensures you keep your property in good repair and aids in preventing major issues from arising.
3. Inclusions count
In Goulburn we experience all of the glorious things mother nature can throw at us, from snow in September to a last minute heat wave in May. It’s important to ensure your property is comfortable for tenants, installing a split system air-air conditioner or a gas heater can increase the rent ability of a property.
4. Research local rent prices
Your agent should help you with this, you’ll be surprised even a change of $5-$10 to your weekly rent can make a huge difference in the number of prospective tenants to your property. Sometime these small adjustments will wind up costing you less that having your property vacant for weeks on end. The best way to do this is to check online at what similar properties in your area are renting for. Finding out what your competitors are charging means you can offer tenants a better deal or make changes to make your property more enticing. Talk to your property manager if you think your rental price is contributing to a high vacancy rate.
5. Choose a quality Property Management team
Your property manager is an expert at what they do and you’re paying them for a reason. It’s their job to liaise between owner and tenant, and therefore good communication skills are critical. A good property manager will keep you informed and updated on any issues regarding the tenant or property, and do so without delay. Of all the reasons to have an empty investment property, a lousy property manager should not be one of them. Often the cheapest is not the best. Making sure you have a professional and effective agent could be a wallet-saver when it comes to lowering your vacancy rate.