October 30, 2021
September 1st has come and gone, and as an agent, this signals the official end of rental’s “busy season”. It also means that, for those of you who count rentals as a significant part of your yearly commission, the next 5-7 months will be a quiet place for your phone and inbox. The fall and winter can be a time to take a much-needed vacation, or catch up on all the chores and projects you’ve meant to do but couldn’t even consider during the spring and summer when you were out showing your prospective renters place listing after listing. But if you’re an agent who’s hungry to always be closing, the fall and winter provide huge opportunities -- to both add exclusive rental listings to your portfolio and to convert rentals into sales. So if you're looking to make money year-round and take your game to the next level, consider these proven tactics to eliminate the notion of a "quiet season”.
Now that all the exclusive listings you have are rented and you’ve run out of properties to show, the obvious solution is to get more listings to rent. While that’s easier said than done, there are several avenues to connect with new landlords and rent their vacant listings. Oftentimes landlords want to handle renting out their listings without the help of a real estate agent. When their rental is still occupied, it can be hard to convince them otherwise. However, once their listing goes vacant and they lose money every month that the place sits empty, they’ll be much more open to getting help
Start by searching websites that allow listings to be posted “By owner,” including: · Craigslist · Facebook marketplace · Zillow The low hanging fruit are the listings that are more than 30 days vacant. These landlords are in need of help and you have the opportunity to swoop in and be their hero.
When reaching out to new landlords, make sure you schedule time to see the property in person as soon as possible to take fresh photos. New photos (even if the listing is empty) can make all the difference in getting a new set of eyes interested in the listing. Invest in making your photos look as professional as possible. Your cellphone might be sufficient to take good photos but to make your listing stand out, you’ll need to make them look great! Download a free photo editing program and in 5-10 minutes you’ll be able to make your listings standout
A little math can go a long way helping you close a deal. If a listing is vacant, renters can smell blood in the water and will want to get a “deal” on any offer they make. This might mean the landlord contributes to the broker fee or takes a lower rent. It's never easy to ask the landlord to take less when they’re already losing money by being vacant, but if you can explain it to them the right way, taking less can often mean more money over the life of the lease than if they hold their ground on their pricing. Let’s take, for example, a $2,000 rental that is vacant. If you’re already a week or two into the month, and you’re able to get a lead willing to start the lease that month but they want some concession on the price, a simple math equation should help you get the deal done.
Typically, renters look to rent a minimum of a month out from the current month, but if you’re lucky enough to have a lead willing to start the lease on the 1st of the upcoming month, there are ways to encourage your lead to put in an offer for your new listing. If they are on the fence about the price or the broker fee, propose putting an offer for a bit less or see if the landlord would be willing to split the fee. Oftentimes, this can be in the landlord’s best interest. In the case of my example above, if the new offer is $1,900, that means you are now comparing $1,900 for 12 months vs $2,000 for 11 months (or $22,800 vs $22,000 for the lease). The $1,900 actually nets the landlord almost $800 more over the life of the lease.
By owning even one rental property, landlords are real estate investors. If you did a good job renting their property, there’s a possibility they’d be open to wanting additional passive income properties. After the busy season ends, it’s always good to reach out to all your landlords a month after their tenants have moved in as a “courtesy call” to see how they like their new tenants. I used to always ask my landlord clients: “If I hear of any investors interested in a property like yours, would you be open to selling your place?” More often than not, the answer was no and, in that case, I would then flip the question to ask: “If I hear of any off-market listings, would you like me to let you know?” If this perked their interest, I would follow up with questions asking what type of listings they’re looking for, in terms of location, price, etc. Take note of any landlords that don’t immediately say “no” and be sure to follow up with them throughout the year. Building up your landlord relationships is the key to growth. While the off-season can feel like a lull, keep the momentum going by using this optimal time to build the foundation for future deals.
NoaamBlum is the co-founder & CEO of RentBase. Noaam served as a real estate agent in the Boston market for over a decade, leasing nearly 1000 apartments and closing more than $25M in sales transactions. Throughout his career, Noaam has trained and managed new agents at both small boutique offices and major brokerages like Keller Williams Realty. He holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA in International Business from Tel Aviv University.