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10 Effective Marketing Strategies to Fill Vacant Units Fast

Maximizing occupancy and reducing days spent with vacant units is critical to the success and profitability of any rental property investment. Effective marketing and faster leasing velocity can increase potential returns, minimize holding costs, and avoid opportunity costs from being unable to purchase additional deals. There are several proven strategies you can employ to speed leasing and boost return on investment in your real estate portfolio.

Optimize online listings. Ensure high-quality, compelling photos and extensive descriptions highlighting key benefits and features of units and properties are posted on top rental websites like Zillow, Trulia, HotPads and StreetEasy. Search engine optimization techniques should be used to rank higher in natural search results. Professional photography and creative copywriting are excellent investments if needed.

Build a strong online reputation. Encourage all current and past tenants to leave reviews of their leasing experience on major rental websites as well as your individual property websites and social media profiles. Much like Yelp reviews, positive online reputations and dozens of recent reviews attract high-quality applicants and command higher rents. Respond to all reviews, whether positive or constructive, to build trust.

Improve curb appeal and aesthetic. An unappealing, unprofessional appearance deters potential tenants and signals a poorly-maintained property. Invest in landscaping, signage, paint, lighting, parking lot repainting or repairs, and any other visible improvements to boost visual appeal, appeal to tenants, and command higher asking rents. First impressions truly matter.

Provide amenities and value-added services. amenities like swimming pools, gyms, playgrounds, clubhouses, pet spas, etc. can attract tenants willing to pay a premium. Value-added services like on-site property management, concierges, parcel lockers, package acceptance, etc. also provide additional benefits and justification for higher rents. Do research to determine unmet needs you can fill profitably in the local market.

Optimize search placement. Pay for premium placement in local search results on websites frequently used by renters like Google, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Oodle. Engage high-converting rental agencies and brokers to represent and market your listings as well. Guest posting relevant content on authority websites in your local market can improve search rankings and expose properties to new audiences.

Build a strong referral program. Provide incentives for current and past tenants to refer new tenants in exchange for compensation like one week’s free rent, a gift card, or deposit. Promote your referral program on all listings, correspondence, websites, emails and in person at every opportunity. 20-40% of new tenants coming from referrals is common in an effective program.

Offer discounts, specials and incentives. New tenant discounts, rental guarantees if signed by a deadline, first month free on a 12 month lease, pet rent waivers for the first year, etc. can attract applicants quickly and get them signed before they have a chance to consider other options. But be careful not to discount rents too deeply or for too long, impacting potential future increases.

Improve the leasing experience. Provide exceptional service, communicate proactively and professionally at every step of the leasing process. Use documents and tools that are easy to understand and interactive. Give applicants opportunities to ask questions and voice any concerns. The overall experience influences future referrals and reviews as much as the final terms of the lease.

Build strategic partnerships. Partner with local businesses, non-profits, places of worship, schools, sports leagues, clubs, event organizers and any other groups with potential to refer customers or promote listings to their networks. Referral partnerships are “win-win” relationships that benefit all partners when built and maintained genuinely over long periods of time.

Advertise with local influencers. Pay social media influencers, campus living influencers, family influencers, placemaking influencers or any other influencers with engaged followers in your local market to promote rental listings and targeted campaigns. This exposes properties to entirely new potential audiences interested in locations, amenities, pricing and lease terms. Costs tend to be quite reasonable for the increased impressions and applicates gained.

Implementing multiple internet and offline strategies to improve attention, attract high-quality applicants, provide an exceptional experience and boost referrals will fill vacant units substantially faster and at higher prices than passive listing alone. By optimizing everything from aesthetics to partnerships to marketing and improving the experience at every touchpoint, you can achieve maximum rent, minimum vacancy and strong returns on investment in your real estate business. Filling units rapidly is a constant focus with significant impact, so continue testing new strategies and refining proven approaches regularly based on performance metrics. With hard work and commitment to excellence, fast leasing velocity can absolutely become second nature. Optimizing marketing is well worth the effort required to build a prosperous real estate portfolio and meet important financial goals over time.

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