Why Is My House Still Vacant?

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by Mike Sargent, Co-founder/Real Estate Investor

A vacancy usually produces a landlord’s greatest stress. This is a very predictable occurrence, however, and every landlord and investor should plan for it to minimize the financial and emotional impact.

Our property managers conduct weekly strategy calls with owners whose properties are vacant. These calls are status updates on activity and recommendations on actions needed to end the vacancy.

If you are managing your own property, these points will help you. If HomeLovers manages your property, we will discuss this strategy with you weekly:

If the phone isn’t ringing for a particular home (you should be able to measure web views, number of clicks, number of calls, etc.) there is a marketing problem.  Check the following:

  • Is the ad published everywhere it needs to be?
  • Are you using paid listing sites (like Rentals.com and RentalHomesPlus)?
  • Is your home on MLS?
  • Is your ad fresh?  Craigslist ads need to be reposted several times a week.
  • Is it a good ad?  When you search for similar properties on XYZ website do your ads have the punch to stop the reader or is somebody else more catchy?
  • Is it priced right?  Even if your ad sings, if you are even $50-$100 over the other ads for similar homes you will hear crickets instead of calls.

If your phone is ringing and you aren’t getting people to the house, you have a sales problem.  Your team (or you!) has to have a very high success rate with converting a call to a property showing.

If you aren’t converting well on showings vs. signings you probably have a condition problem.

  • How does the house look when you drive up?
  • Ten minutes and a garbage bag can convert shabby to weed free with no cigarette butts or ad flyers.
  • How does it smell when you first walk in?  Smell is a huge deterrent.
  • What is your showing procedure?  Are you or your agent getting to the house first to freshen it up?  Open blinds, turn on lights, spray air freshener, etc?
  • Is it priced right for the condition? Feedback from showings needs to be taken to heart, not with a “grain of salt”. Prospects will tell you want they think, it’s up to you to listen!

In our experience it comes down to the simple mechanics above. Remember, if the phone isn’t ringing it is either a non-existent or lousy ad, or it is overpriced.  If you are getting people to visit the home but they don’t want it, it is condition.  There are exceptions, but seriously addressing these issues will shorten vacancy periods.

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