It is common knowledge that the key to making a profit off your residential investment properties in Burien is keeping them occupied with long-term tenants who pay rent on a monthly basis.
If high levels of vacancy persist at your apartment complex or multifamily housing, you won’t see a significant return on your investment. Worst-case scenario, you may even struggle with your mortgage payments.
However, filling your investment property with quality tenants doesn’t happen by accident. You need a carefully thought-out and diverse strategy that is tailored to your goals as a landlord, the local rental market, and the property itself.
How Do You Reduce Vacancy Rate in Seattle Suburbs?
As a landlord in Seattle or the surrounding communities, such as Burien, it’s important to develop metrics that can help you evaluate the success or profitability of your rental properties. Two statistics that come in handy are the occupancy rate and vacancy rate. The former is the percentage of units in a given property that is occupied at a particular time, and your vacancy rate is the opposite. What is considered a desirable vacancy rate—or occupancy rate—varies based on each region and its respective housing market.
For example, in vibrant and highly desirable communities like Burien, the average vacancy rate hovers about 5%. Sometimes it can dip further, or about 4%. That means you should aim for a similar vacancy rate at your own residential investment properties as a realistic metric. The question is, how do you achieve that?
There is no silver-bullet solution to lowering your vacancy rate, and external factors in the Seattle apartment market can affect your buildings in ways that are beyond your control as a landlord. On the other hand, there are tangible steps you can take to increase your occupancy rate and keep your multifamily housing complex performing well financially. Here are a few to consider:
1. Market and Advertise Aggressively
While rental properties are in high demand in the South Puget Sound area, that doesn’t mean you can just advertise your rental through one platform and call it good. You should conduct research about your target audience, or the individuals most likely to be good tenants for a particular property, and then market and advertise accordingly using specific resources and outlets. Especially if you are a new landlord or opening up a new multifamily housing complex, you need to get the word out through a variety of digital and traditional methods.
2. Set a Reasonable Rental Rate
You may have a beautiful apartment complex in Burien, but if your rates aren’t competitive with similar rentals in the community, and even your particular neighborhood, then you’re going to lose out on potential renters. That, in turn, negatively impacts your vacancy rate. Talk to your Seattle property management team about their market research and an appropriate rental rate for each of your buildings relative to those of a similar location, size, stature, and condition. This applies not only when you’re setting your rate in the first place, but also when considering increases. Raising your rates too high or too quickly can make you lose tenants. Also, don’t increase rent unnecessarily, especially for long-term tenants that you’d like to keep around.
3. Take Care of Your Properties—Inside and Out
Not only is your property a long-term investment for you as a landlord, but it also becomes home for each and every tenant. It’s imperative they have access to clean and comfortable dwellings. First, you are required by law to provide a habitable environment for your tenants. Secondly, it’s in your best interest as a landlord who wants to make an appealing ROI. To stay at or beneath the acceptable Seattle apartment vacancy rate, you need to keep your rental properties safe and clean. If a unit or a section of the building is damaged, complete repairs in a timely manner. While maintenance and renovations are upfront financial investments, they pay off in the end by protecting the value of your rental property and making it desirable to prospective and existing tenants.
4. Provide Appealing Amenities
Amenities are another aspect of what makes a particular rental property in Burien attractive. That being said, choose your amenities wisely and based on the demographics of the tenants who regularly occupy the space. For example, if you have properties that are frequently rented by families, they may appreciate having a play set or safe green spaces that are away from the road. Young adults and active seniors may prefer a fitness center. If your investment property is in a bustling neighborhood that is nearby to public facilities, onsite parking or other amenities may take precedence. Your property manager can again provide valuable insight to help you make these decisions.
5. Build Relationships with Existing Tenants
In order to keep your apartment vacancy rate in Burien below 5%, you need to both attract good tenants and then keep them. Put effort into getting to know the families or individuals who are renting each unit and understand their specific needs. This rapport goes a long way in making your tenants feel comfortable and supported. They will be more likely to reach out with concerns, rather than simply leaving if something is not going well. You also can rely on them to alert you when necessary repairs or upgrades are needed to keep your property in tip-top shape.
6. Offer Incentives
If you want to attract new tenants, or you are facing a situation where numerous tenants plan to leave, you can try to entice them by offering incentives. A few examples include paid utilities, long-term leases, rent reductions or deferrals, or even tangible items, such as household appliances. Incentives are not always the way to go, but they provide one more effective tool for landlords to implement when the time is right.
Decreasing Vacancy at Your Burien Rental Properties
There are several ways to care for your investment properties and keep them occupied. As a landlord, you should be willing to adopt several solutions that are appropriate for your unique situation. Working with a property management company in Seattle makes this process much easier. At Powell Property Management, we understand how the local housing market works and what strategies impact vacancy rates in different neighborhoods. We can help you market your properties effectively, keep them well-maintained, and tend to the needs of your tenants to ensure you make the most of your real estate investments.