10 Ways to Reduce the Vacancy Rate of Your Rental Property
Renting out a property in Jamaica? You’re not the only one. Real estate is responsible for the success of a lot of prominent Jamaicans. However, making money from property investing like most other things isn’t straightforward but you can triumph if you do it right. Consider adopting one or more of the following tips to reduce vacancy rates so that you can maximise your rental yields.
- Make rental prices competitive
Research the prices of spots similar to yours in and around the location of your real estate. It’s simple. Use Nohuts.com, websites of recognised real estate dealers in Jamaica, and the local newspapers such as the Jamaica Observer, the Jamaica Gleaner and the Western Mirror. Next, set a fair price to prevent prospective renters from seeking better deals.
- Include utilities in the rental price
Include either light, water, cable, internet, phone bills or a combination of those in the rent fee. Doing this will allow your tenants to focus only on paying their rents which also adds to their comfort. However, bear in mind that you’ll need to set guidelines for handling cases where your tenant goes over the expected average. Otherwise, your tenants will have no incentive to conserve. In Jamaica, the ones I’d definitely try to include are cable and internet which are typically set rates each month, and water and electricity if the rental unit isn’t separately metered.
- Add or upgrade amenities
Create value by adding features that bring charm and appeal to the property. There’s loads to choose from like air conditioning, ceiling fans, new toilet seats, decorative doorknobs and cabinet pulls, washing machines, stainless steel refrigerators, dryers, revamping the yard’s landscape, lights with motion detectors, solar heating, well-kept garden and flowers, you name it. Thereafter it’ll be easy to find justification for raising the rent.
- Improve the security
Secure the premises with solid doors and locks and whatever else you can afford such as deadbolts, burglar bars, cameras, alarms, proper fencing, outdoor lighting, remote control gates, panic buttons, garage doors, and mobile security. You simply can’t be serious about renting out anywhere in Jamaica without taking into consideration the crime situation where everyone feels vulnerable. It may not be possible to put in place everything you want, but a few security features will ease the worries and concerns of persons looking for somewhere to rent. Plus, you’re likely to command higher rents if whatever you’ve put in place (e.g., security guards) allows your tenants to feel highly protected against intruders.
- Brighten up the outside
Make sure the outside of the house is kept nicely painted and the yard is maintained neatly. Do whatever you can to spruce up the exterior, especially if it’s now looking tired and old with peeling paint, rust spots, water marks, flower beds filled with weeds or other problems that reek of neglect. When an interested renter makes a visit, curb appeal is the first thing that’s assessed. They may not get through the front door if they hate the outside.
- Clean up
Make sure to get the place tidy and sparkling clean before showing it to persons who want to rent. Remember, most Jamaicans, educated or non-educated, take this very seriously and will not consider even stepping into someone’s home if they don’t think it sufficiently spotless. Plus, it shows that you care.
- Care and maintain
Address all the problems that you find in-between tenants or reported by any occupants you may have as quickly as possible, with skilled workers who can provide a high quality finish. Fix plumbing leaks, repair leaky windows, correct faulty electrical problems, replace defective fixtures and appliances, remove moldy grout, freshen-up the paint with neutral colors. Your tenants will be happy with the prompt service.
- Build a relationship with tenants
Get to know your tenants. Be friendly and helpful, especially if they are new to the area. It’s what we Jamaican’s are known for so don’t shy away from it. With a closer relationship, communication becomes way easier with trust built-in, and when your current occupants are ready to move on, they’ll refer your property for rent onto others.
- Increase rental prices only when necessary
Don’t increase the rent frequently. Generally the rule is “only when inflation has increased”. However, that’ll be hard to do in Jamaica if you set your rent in Jamaican dollars. We all know how the dollar devaluates every time we breathe. Okay, I agree it’s not that bad. If reducing the inflation risk is important to you, you might be better off quoting your rent in US dollars. Otherwise, try not to raise the rent every year, because although most landlords want to increase their earnings from their properties, raising prices regularly can ward off a good tenant. It all depends on what’s important to you…more money in the short term, or better tenants and more money in the long run.
- Find replacement tenants before the current one move out
Start advertising for new tenants a month or two before the current tenant moves out. Some persons will let you know when they will vacate the property, but others will not. And, do remember to use Nohuts.com.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.