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Filling Vacancies in a Stagnant Market

In a hot market, you won't struggle to find a bevvy of great applicants for vacant apartments. In fact, you'll find yourself spoiled by the bounty of fantastic future tenants, all fighting it out to be the one you choose. This would be perfect, if the market was always hot. In a stagnant market, though, you can be left feeling like a desperate Bachelorette contestant, eager to be chosen out of a slew of competitors. Since it's never good to operate from a defensive place where you feel desperate to fill a gap, Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management has some tips to get you back to capacity.

Quality landlords attract quality tenants, so begin by turning the mirror on yourself. How quickly do you respond to inquiries about vacancies? Are you honest with folks when you don't know the answer to a question? Are you respectful of prospective tenants' time? By holding yourself to a higher standard, you're sure to attracted the best kinds of tenants.

Consider hosting an open house that will help drive the impression that your property is in demand. Schedule your open house for a relatively short time period during a convenient time, like the weekend. You'll likely have tons of folks show up for a tour, giving the impression that there's serious competition to score a place in your community. This can also help lead to more qualified applicants.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and if yours are outdated, boring or just plain ugly, it's no surprise you're having trouble filling vacancies. Invest in quality photography for your website and postings and you'll see interest in your vacancies shoot up.

Finally, remember to advertise intelligently. In a stagnant market, it's more crucial than ever to ensure your vacancies are being viewed by those in need of housing. While Craigslist was king for many years, apps like Zillow, Hotpads and Padmapper have taken away some of their power in the marketplace. Don't forget Facebook - that's where more and more apartment hunters are turning to find vacancies in their dream neighborhoods.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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