This summer has returned to the normal surge in rental activity that we are accustomed to. Inventories are down as we come out of the Corona Pandemic and new listings are going on the market and renting on a 30 day cycle. The housing market on the Emerald Coast is active with Military orders coming down again and businesses bringing employees back to work. Property values are increasing and interest rates are low contributing to a shortage of homes for sale.
This has caused some potential buyers to rent and increased Military training in the area is bringing a steady supply of renters looking for the best rentals available. Make sure your rental is the best available. It is important to make sure your rent is competitive with like properties on the market. I see many rentals that sit on the market for extended periods of time because the owner is greedy and hasn’t done a proper market analysis. Many owners make the mistake of setting their rent by what is on the market in their neighborhood. A true comp counts only when the property rents.
Condition, size and features must match. If a unit rents at a much higher rate than other similar comps, it was probably rented to an undesirable tenant willing to pay more to have an owner overlook previous rental history, credit or job status. In a strong rental market it doesn’t hurt to initially add $25-$50 to your rent. You can always back off if the competition increases or if showings slow down. Remember, you can only get what someone is willing to pay. If your property sits empty while you hold out for an extra $25, it doesn’t take long to lose that extra rent. The condition of a rental is the single most important factor in the amount of rent you can get and the caliber of tenant that will rent your unit.
A thorough cleaning of your rental paying attention to detail such as carpets, appliances, bathrooms, blinds and windows and cabinets will make the property more competitive. The paint must look fresh with no holes and should be a neutral color. Once the inside is in top condition, don’t neglect the exterior. First impressions are important. The yard should be clean, mowed and edged. Trim hedges and remove trash or clutter. Pressure washing a house can remove mildew and often prolongs the need for exterior painting. Leave the utilities on while the unit is vacant. Running the A/C-Heating unit will keep the air moving and avoid the musty smell of a closed up home. Lights on always make a rental more inviting, and if it sits empty for a couple of weeks, it is a good idea to run the faucets and flush the toilets to keep the washers and seals from drying out and leaking. Power will allow you to keep the sprinkler system going which can save the yard during a dry spell. Be sure to keep all receipts for any work completed on your rental while getting it ready to rent as most expenses are valid tax deductions.
Lastly, this is the time to make sure all of your insurance is in order. Once a named storm enters the Gulf of Mexico insurance cannot be updated or purchased. Cut back rotten tree limbs and clear unneeded items that could damage your property in a storm. It is a good idea to set aside funds to help defer the large deductibles of hurricane insurance coverage.
J. Matthew Scheel
Owner | Broker
Sundance Rental Management