Leasing Rental Property: How long does it take before my home is occupied?
This is one of the top questions we get from our clients. In this blog we will discuss leasing rental property, Landlords want to know when the MONEY is going to be coming in! At Access Property Management Group, each one of us are real estate investors. We get it. The shorter vacancy the better. But this questions requires a bit more explanation because the leasing process is vital to the success of your rental property.
The short answer to the question is it can be as short as a week or as long as 30-45 days. So the next obvious question is “why so long?” If you haven’t leased a rental before, you may not understand the different aspects involved during the leasing period.
Marketing a Rental
As we mentioned in the blog last week, you want to make sure the home is in rent-ready condition before marketing it. All repairs complete, paint and flooring done, and a thorough cleaning. If it’s not, your timeline will be longer. In the current West Michigan market, you will receive a lot of inquiries on your rental when it is posted. A large majority of these prospects will not qualify, even less will want a showing, and fewer will want to apply. Think of a funnel. Although it can seem frustrating sorting through the calls and emails and no shows, it is important to find the right tenant for your property.
Leasing Tip: A unit gets more traffic from prospects when it is priced at fair market rent and has great, but accurate pictures!
Approving an Application
You have an applicant! Now you need to do your due diligence to make sure they qualify for your rental. Once again, make sure to follow all fair housing rules when going through the leasing process. This process can take a day or it can take several depending on how motivated the applicant is to rent the unit. You will want to check credit, previous renting history, criminal background and income. Our full screening criteria is listed on our site here.
Leasing Tip: Don’t take your property off the market until you get a deposit. This motivates an applicant to get approved quickly so they don’t lose the unit.
Holding the Unit
Alright! You have an approved applicant and deposit. Now we wait… This is usually the longest part of the leasing process. Some people will be ready to move in immediately, but most will need time to pack and give notice at their current residence. At Access, we will hold a unit for 30 days with a full deposit. After the 30 days is up, the resident needs to start paying rent even if they don’t move in yet. Check out our blog on security deposit tips to learn more about deposits.
Leasing Tip: Make sure to include on your rental application that the applicant will forfeit their deposit if they don’t move in! Speak to your attorney for the correct wording.
So there is your leasing timeline. Each part will have some ebb and flow as you rent and re-rent your rental. One final tip: Start off on the right foot with your new resident. Moving is stressful and expensive! Be flexible and understanding on the items that you can be.
Next week we will give some real life examples of what happens when you DON’T do leasing right.