May 2024 Number and Leasing it Fast

As May wraps up, I’m amazed that 2024 is already halfway over. It feels like a surprise every year, even though our planet has spun around the sun over 3.5 billion times. Maybe it’s the busy leasing season that makes time fly!

In this post, I want to take a moment to reflect on the year so far and keep up with the fast pace of real estate during this season.

I’ve previously shared cautious optimism about our rental market, and that sentiment continues. Rent prices have held steady since April, but Days on Market (DOM) are starting to decrease—a trend that can’t be overstated.

While the market average is down by just one day, some zip codes, like 79416, 79423, and 79414, are seeing significant reductions in DOM and faster lease-ups.

Keys to Leasing Quickly

What does it take to lease a property quickly? In real estate, it’s pretty simple: if a property isn’t leasing, it boils down to price or condition.

Let’s start with the condition. While you can’t satisfy everyone, you can appeal to about 75% of potential tenants. That’s your target. Ensure the property is clean, well-maintained, and in good repair. Address any visible issues, modernize where necessary, and create an inviting atmosphere. This makes your property stand out and attract more interested renters.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas must be spotless. Prospective tenants often base their decisions on the cleanliness of these spaces. Make sure to repair any leaks and address signs of past water damage, including replacing waterlogged cabinet bottoms or trim. Upgrading to PVC trim in bathrooms is a smart move—ditch the wood trim for something more durable and moisture-resistant.

Flooring

The flooring should be clean and presentable. While some tenants avoid carpet, most are fine with any flooring as long as it’s clean and looks good. Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice—it’s easy to clean and durable. If you have the option, choose vinyl plank over carpet; it’s a smarter long-term investment.

Painting

Painting is the best way to keep a unit looking fresh. When it’s time for touch-ups, avoid spot painting—it never matches perfectly and can look patchy. Instead, paint the entire wall from corner to corner. The extra cost is minimal, and even if the color isn’t an exact match, natural shadows between walls will make it hard to notice.

Smell Fresh

Ensure your home smells fresh. Removing odors might require new flooring or a fresh coat of paint. Remember, smell is one of the toughest objections to overcome. While air fresheners can help, they shouldn’t be your primary strategy.

Open windows and let the house air out for a few days—a simple, cost-effective solution. Another tip is to place fabric softener sheets on return air ducts for an added touch of freshness.

Price

When pricing your home, let the market guide you, not your personal feelings. For rent, decide if you want the highest rent or just to be profitable—they’re not always the same. High rents can mean longer vacancies and higher turnover rates.

Setting a competitive rent reduces days on the market. You might earn a bit less monthly, but lower turnover and steady rent increases mean better returns over five years.

If you aim for top dollar, that’s fine too. Just remember: homes at the high end either rent fast or sit for a while. Make sure your property’s condition supports the high rent. Tenants paying more expect value—they’re not looking to spend extra just for fun. Without value, price is the only judge.

So, if you’re chasing high rent, give it 21 days. If you don’t get it by then, adjust to a more competitive rate to avoid long vacancies.

Pre-Lease

In an ideal world, a tenant moves out on the 31st, and a new one moves in on the 1st. While perfection isn’t always possible, pre-leasing can help minimize vacancy days.

When the market slows, pre-leasing is your secret weapon for stealing days on the market. Done right, it gives you a 30-45-day head start by showing the unit while the current tenant is still there.

Sure, there are challenges—coordinating schedules, maintaining the property’s condition, and ensuring it’s show-ready. Plus, if you secure a new tenant, you might only have seven days to prepare the unit.

Pre-leasing requires time management, quarterly inspections, excellent communication, and careful planning from the moment a tenant moves in. When done right, it boosts your bottom line.

At Coldwell Banker Residential Property Management, we turn pre-leasing from theory to practice. Want to learn more? Contact us today!