Have you ever driven down the street wondering how many properties are rentals? As an investor, this might be important to you in order to make a decision whether to invest in a particular area or not. What if you are an excellent tenant looking for a rental property and your driving down that same street? Perhaps you are visiting your family or friends, who you would love to live closer to. Maybe it’s just an area that you like to drive through with your family.
With all the advances that we have in rental ad technology many landlords in larger urban areas have been moving away from newspapers and posting their ads online. Some online services will take your ad and then re-post it across multiple online web sites and help to manage the leads that these sites can generate. The convenience of posting an ad online, has meant that landlords are simply not spending any time or money using offline methods for attracting quality tenants.
Now, what about that excellent tenant that is driving by your neighbourhood, who wants to rent in the area, but has no idea that your property is available. So how do you let those people know. Well it’s pretty simple, you put a sign up in the window or on the front lawn letting them know that you have a property available for rent.
I did a little test recently in order to see what type of results I would get. I put a nice sign on my front lawn with the rental number on it saying that the property was for rent. And I did not put any ads online or anywhere else. By just putting the sign on the lawn I was able to attract six calls in just two days, which lead to two bookings. Now at the time of writing this article, none of those leads have converted into a new tenant, but they did contact me through the use of that lawn sign only.
I used the same service as a local Real Estate Agent might use. I really like the professional look of the sign and post. The company created the sign for me, put up the sign, will take it down, and then store it for me until I need it again. One quick email and the process gets done.
How many excellent tenants could you be missing by not posting a simple lawn sign? You don’t need one of those big fancy post signs that I used to bring in leads. It could be a simple hand printed lawn sign with the words “For Rent” and a phone number.
If there are trees or brush in an area, you could also put it in a window if it gives you better exposure. You just want your sign to be easily visible by foot and vehicle traffic.
Many townhouse condominium corporations do not allow you to place signs on your lawn in front of the unit but they usually allow you to place signs just on the outside of the condominium complex. Where ever you see the Real Estate Agents put their signs, is a good indication of where you can put your lawn sign. You should check with your Condominium By-Laws to be sure.
In order to increase your success at finding that excellent tenant, it is important for you to track the results of your advertisements. That way you are able to tell what ads are working and which ads are not. You could then redirect more time and advertising dollars in areas that are actually helping you to get your new tenant. This could also lead you to re-write your ads or changehow you advertise your rental.
Whenever you get a call from a tenant, one of the first questions you should ask is “Where did you see our rental ad for the property?” Then you would start the filtering process using your Key Tenant Questions, as discussed in The Filling Vacancies Toolbox.
Once you find out where they saw your ad you can use a simple but powerful chart. Use the headings Calls, Booking, and Tenants (CBT Ratio). You can create a simple key by using the first letter or two of the type of lead you get. In this example, I will use Kijiji = K, Craigslist = C, Lawn Sign = L, Referral from Another Landlord = R. So, if someone calls from your lawn sign, you would put a “L” in the “Calls” column. If that call turned into a booking after you had talked to the potential tenant, then the “L” would be entered into the “Bookings” column. If that booking turned into a Tenant then you would put an “L” in the “Tenant” column.
Now if that property becomes vacant again you can take a look at your chart and see what worked for you on this particular property. You can also work at tightening up your CBT ratio, in order to be more efficient with your time. You might be surprised at what really works for you and what does not.
Tracking your CBT Ratio, as well as using lawn signs will help to increase your success at finding that excellent tenant who is driving by your property. Now they will know that you have a property available to rent, exactly where they wanted to live.