Maricopa County shows a stable rental economy despite the pandemic. At Atlas Real Estate, we’ve seen a 97.4% occupied AND collected rate among the 3,600 units that we manage. But keeping vacancy rates low is easier said than done. Whether you are a seasoned property manager or first-time investor these simple tips will help your property stand out against the competition.

Present your rental in its best light. More than words and descriptions, photos take center stage. Do your photos capture the space from the best angles? Are they warm and inviting? Do they utilize consistent, natural lighting? Having the home staged is not essential to leasing your home. But photos that help potential renters envision living in the space will make it more desirable. If you cannot capture the home’s appeal on your own, there are ways to get high-quality photos that won’t break the bank. Contact local photographers to see what they would charge for a few good photos. Fiverr.com is a website that helps freelance workers advertise their services and this is a great place to fi nd people who specialize in real estate photography. Consider having it virtually staged, or adding a video walkthrough. Making your rental stand out with great photos will set it apart from the rest.

Price your rental based on comparative market analyses. Knowing what your home is worth to prospective renters and how it compares to other properties in the area is another key to avoiding vacancy. Comparables, commonly referred to as “comps”, are used in real estate to find the fair market value of a home. To create a comp list search multiple rental listing sites to see pricing on similar homes or units. Look for properties similar in bed/bath counts, finishes, and size. Some websites will also advertise how much interest has been shown on a property. A large amount of listing days ,with minimal views is an indicator the property may be priced too high. Before you list your property for rent, do your research and make sure your rental is priced competitively for your area.

Pre-lease your home before it’s vacant. Protecting against vacancy should be your number one priority. A common mistake is waiting until the current resident has moved out to begin the leasing process. The earlier you list your property, the better the odds of having a lease signed prior to the current resident’s move-out date. Many successful apartment communities list units up to 60-days in advance of a move-out date. Remember, a property that sits vacant for any period of time will impact your ,annual return on investment, ultimately costing you money. Strive to sign leases early with new lease start dates following the prior lease end date by only a few days. Give yourself a window of time to accomplish any repairs required between residents.

As an added bonus, when you pre-lease your home you have more time to screen and interview prospects instead of being rushed to make a last-minute, less-thoughtful decision.

These are just a few of the action items that professional property management companies employ every day to ensure low vacancy and happy clients.

Best of luck!

by Alyssa Bieling, Atlas AZ