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2010-05-25 21:28:06

Marketing Your Rental Property

Marketing your investment rental property requires only a few decisions.  How much rent to ask, where to advertise, the length of your lease, improvements to be made and do you need to stage the property?  The answers to these questions also depend on the current market environment. 
Determining the asking rent is the most important piece.  Most tenants base their search for a new space on the rent they can afford. The easiest way to see what similar properties are renting for is to peruse your local paper.  Much of your research can also be done online.  Many towns have their own real estate sections on their websites with links to local agencies listing rental prices and properties.  These same places are where you would advertise your own property. 
Second, for how long are you willing to lease your property?  You might think the longer the term the better.  That way you always have a stream of income on your investment property.  But, remember, rents are usually going up and you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to increase them because you are stuck in a long term lease.   
While twelve months is typical for residential properties, sometimes shorter or longer terms can be desirable for the landlord or the tenant.  A prospective tenant may need a temporary space, while building their house perhaps.  Short-term rentals can be advantageous to a landlord because they fill the space quickly, often with little or no improvement to the property and at a higher rent.  Additionally, the investor will now have more time to market the space to a long-term tenant while still receiving rent.  Not a bad deal for the investor.   
What improvements do you need to have done prior to marketing your rental property?  Showing an apartment in the middle of August in a hot climate without a properly working air conditioning unit may indicate to the prospective tenant that the landlord will not handle necessary repairs during their lease term.  However, purchasing all new SubZero kitchen appliances may be overkill for your market.   
Additionally, in a slow market, staging your property may help prospective tenants see how terrific the space looks once they have moved in.  You may want to consider a fresh coat of paint, some basic furniture and perhaps a wall hanging or two. Some potted plants on the front stoop and a nice bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter can go a long way to making the rental look welcoming.  Knowing your market is key.  
If this seems overwhelming, then remember, it is always a good idea to hire a real estate agent.  For a small fee, you can have an expert on your side, looking to rent your property for the highest rent with as little cost to you as possible.  Often, an agent can rent your investment rental property faster than you would on your own and for more money, easily outweighing their fee.  
Jay began his real estate investing career at the beginning of 2005.  He has been a full time investor since 2007. His business focus and specialized knowledge is in rehabs, lease options, rentals, fix and flips, discounted turnkey cash-flowing properties for passive investors, wholesale properties, self-directed IRA investing and basic asset protection. In addition, he is a managing member in two commercial projects.  His expertise has been sought out as a consultant by independent clients throughout the Midwest as well as California and New York. Find out more by visiting

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