One of the most difficult and time consuming aspects of owning and managing an investment property is the act of trying to fill vacancies with qualified renters. For every day that a units sits vacant, it is money out of the owner’s pocket. This certainly creates a sense of urgency, however not ANY applicant can be accepted and placed into the apartment (evictions are MUCH more expensive than vacancies). Trying to fill these apartments with high quality tenants used to be done by placing ads and waiting by the phone. Today, there are much more efficient ways to tackle this ongoing and costly dilemma.
Tip #1: Refer a Friend
Most landlords tend to forget that they have a valuable and FREE client base right at their fingertips: current residents. Offering existing tenants at your apartment building a referral fee for having a friend, co-worker, or family member move in is a very effective leasing promotion. The “referral fee” can be offered as a discount towards next month’s rent or a gift card to a local store. This simple program not only saves money, but the tenant prospects that are referred are usually very qualified – existing residents usually do not want to live near someone in who is going to cause problems.
How to implement a refer-a-friend promotion: Create flyers announcing the new program and post in the hallways or common areas . An email blast to all residents is good way to supplement the flyers. Let residents know that they will receive the referral commission once their “friend” signs a lease.
Do you use a resident referral program at your building? I would love to hear about your experience!
Press on, regardless. -Trevor