I often talk to a new investor who’s interested in getting started with rental real estate. One concern they usually have is experiencing a long vacancy. Recently, one of my out-of-state rentals was vacant for a whole 9 weeks! In this post, I wanted to share what those 9 weeks looked and felt like in animated GIF form!
If you’re interested in reading more about this vacant property, I discussed them previously in my monthly cash flow reports. Check out the May, June, and July cash flow report for rental property #2.
Week 1: Calling All Renters
The previous tenants moved out and they left it in great condition. Woot woot! Next up, listing the property for rent. The leasing agent and property manager all say this place will rent fast and that we can get $1295 as opposed to the $1250 that it rented for the past year. Why? Well, it’s a solid house in a great neighborhood, the assigned school half a mile away is rated a 10, and we’re headed right into summer. So my optimism is running high and I’m thinking the vacancy will only last maybe 2 weeks. 3 weeks tops.
Week 2: First Rejection
Scheduled several showings after the first week of listing it and received our first application. Applicants earn just barely over 3x gross rents, but had sub 600 credit scores and 2 dogs with one of them being a pit bull. It’s only been a week and I’m confident I’ll get better applicants. So I’m sticking to my high standards and reject these applicants. My listing agent agrees, assures me that the property has received a lot of interest, and that more applications should be coming in.
Week 3: Where Are My Renters?
After the first week of showings, it’s gotten a bit silent. Each passing day I’m losing money. Daily, I’m checking for a status update at home and at work. Not one additional application since the previous week. Nothing. What is going on here?
Week 4: Lowering the Rent
I honestly didn’t think we’d hit 1 month of vacancy, but here it is. I hate to admit it, but maybe the rent is too damn high. So I’m lowering the rent in the hope to end this vacancy.
Week 5: Aww Hell Naw
A married working couple just moved from out of town saw the property and applied. With a combined income greater than 5x the rent, over 700 credit, and no criminal record. These tenants sound perfect. Yes, I’ll take them! Oh wait, they won’t move in until another month and a half. After already 5 weeks of vacancy, you think I’m going to choose to keep the rental empty for 6 more weeks?
Week 6: Painting the House…Fingers Crossed
Going on 6 weeks of vacancy with no income, but still paying that mortgage. We already lowered the rent. What else can I do? Well, my PM recommended that a new paint job on the house can really spruce things up. I was hoping to hold off for another year or two, but this vacancy is killing me. So I’m forking over a few thousand to have the whole house and deck painted.
Fingers crossed that this sucker rents asap!
Week 7: Next!
I’m beginning to wonder whether this place will ever get rented.
One application comes in from two unrelated dudes. One qualifies entirely on his own in terms of rent, credit, and passes the background check. The other guy? Well… let’s see. No job, no credit, and an extensive criminal record with a string of robberies and drug related crimes. What do you think my answer was?
Week 8: Success
Finally! We found a qualified tenant and she’ll be moving in next week. Hooray!!!
Week 9: Life Goes Back to Normal
Tenant signs the 1 year lease, pays first month’s rent, and starts to move in.
As for me, I can now relax and go back to my boring life.
How was your last turnover experience? Was it a roller coaster of emotion or smooth sailing?
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