When you’re pricing your rental property, one thing you don’t want to do is rely on the public rental comps that are out there. That’s one thing we always tell owners when they call about how to determine how much rent to charge. Pricing is a bit of a science but also a lot of art.
Timing is an important part of pricing. Tenants don’t want to move a Christmas tree. Things slow down a bit during the holiday season, and our best leasing time is May through the second week in August. Everyone wants to get into a property and settled before their children start school. Timing is important, and you need to be careful with those public rent comps because they can be six months old.
If your prospective tenant comes to see your property, and there are a few houses in the neighborhood that aren’t the nicest, and when they drive up to your property there are five or six dogs next door barking, they’re going to form an opinion about the area. There’s not a lot you can do, but maybe you take them a different way to the house. You’ll have to strategize around this because it will impact your price.
When we can get the wow factor right, that alone can overcome the other two issues when it comes to pricing your property. If you ask a property manager for a rental rate over the phone, and someone gives you a rate without seeing the property, you should be leery. We like to get in that property and see it before we can tell you how much it will rent for. We can point out what renters are looking for and recommend how to add value. Simple things like ceiling fans, fixtures, flooring, and bathrooms will increase your rental potential. Never leave the old autumn-colored gold appliances. Curb appeal is huge. If your prospect drives up and walks in and says “wow” – you can overcome almost anything else.
So, the pricing strategy is a little bit of art and science. We do price high sometimes because we want to wait and see what the activity is. We’ll get a baseline from the market, but we’ll wait and see. If we show the property five times but don’t get an application, we know that we need to drop the price. Sometimes, we are happy and surprised with what we can get for your home.