Marketing is an effort and an expense that nearly every business must budget for and put resources behind.
That fact is no different for your rental properties.
Remember, owning and renting properties is a bottom-line business, whether you are the property owner, property manager, listing agent, or even a prospective tenant. The rental property is the product, and the prospective renters are the clients – period.
So, in essence, all fundamental marketing principles should apply, right?
The well-regarded four Ps of marketing are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Knowing that, if you boil it down, then yes, those core marketing elements certainly apply to rental properties.
Of course, the four Ps are broad brush strokes, and in a world where the use of metadata and demographics targets marketing, there are marketing nuances unique to rental properties.
Here are some key points of importance to consider when marketing your rental property or properties.
About two decades ago, the world of rental property marketing went online via a hodgepodge of real estate websites, online classified listings, and sites specifically aimed at connecting prospective roommates. Fast forward to the most recent five years, and that hodgepodge of sites has, as all business segments tend to do, streamlined itself into a group of core entities.
The major player for prospective tenants looking for properties in this more-consolidated space is social media – primarily Facebook. While many reputable companies' ads may be posted on the Facebook Marketplace, this is also a place where many scammers lie. However, this isn't to say you shouldn't ever advertise on social media. If you would like to advertise on social media – and you probably should – list your properties on your social media accounts. That way, prospects can see that the ads are legitimate and have come directly from your company.
So, when marketing your rental property – be social. Make sure you have social media sites for your property or properties and your core business. So much of social media is free, and the reach of the platforms is undeniable.
TARGETED MARKETING AND THE FHA
Knowing your audience and where and how to reach them is fundamental to marketing your rental properties. For example, if you own a property near a college campus, you probably want to allow students with guarantors, right?
But be careful here. Targeting specific groups can lead to violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) if you aren't careful. Things like "great property for families" may indicate that the home isn't available for single people. If you advertise "condo close to Ocean Baptist Church," it could be perceived as the home isn't available for people of other faiths. While those are just some examples, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of unintentional ways you can violate the FHA – and yes, violating the FHA comes with consequences. However, professional property management companies are well-versed in these laws and can produce ads that don't risk violating them.
People want to live in communities that fit their lives and lifestyles as much as the dwelling itself. For some, that will be near the city center and its shopping, dining, and entertainment options. For others, it will involve proximity to their children's schools and family-friendly amenities like playgrounds, parks, and swimming pools.
In short – market the community as much as you do the home itself. People care as much or more about the area where their home is located than what is inside the structure's walls.
The present-day housing market has vacancy rates at or near all-time lows, but you must not forget that there will come a time when the tenancy of your property or properties will turn over. To minimize or eliminate downtime between tenants, start advertising as soon as your tenant gives notice. Though they may not be moving out for a few months, that date could perfectly coincide with someone else's desired move-in date. Having a property pre-leased greatly minimizes your vacancy period and, in some instances, your turnover time, thereby allowing you to keep earning on your investment without interruption.
Creating this ongoing interest in your properties can be accomplished in many ways. For example, you can create a newsletter promoting the lifestyle in a townhome community where you own or manage multiple homes or post regularly to social media about events around town. Doing these things will help to lead prospective tenants to seek you out when it comes time for them to find a new place to live.
As a leading property management firm in the Cape Fear region, Sweyer Property Management certainly recommends that property owners strongly consider working with a trusted and experienced property management company. Additionally, we want to make sure property owners and investors understand the relationship they are entering into when choosing to work with a property management firm.
If you have investment properties and do not use a professional management company, we hope you consider doing so. The experts at Sweyer Property Management will be happy to provide you with a free rental analysis or, if you prefer, give us a call at 910-239-1338.
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