Four Powerful Tips to Survive and Thrive the Current Atlanta Georgia Rental MarketPosted on August 3, 2010 by
At our second Atlanta Real Estate Investor Alliance Monthly Meeting in August 2010, Gordon Catts brought in his old friend and Atlanta property management expert, Robert Locke. Robert’s company, Crown Realty & Management of Atlanta Georgia, manages over 700 houses, maintains a staff of 24, has managed over 7,000 tenants and provide a full range of services for private investors, banks, builders, lenders, REIT’s, government agencies, and other brokers. Robert gave us a brilliant overview of the current state of the Atlanta rental market and offered us these 4 tips to survive and thrive in the current Atlanta rental market:
- Clean and repair your house thoroughly and make it nicer than all the other rentals in your area. Due to a glut of rentals on the marketing, competition to fill rentals is at an all time high. The days of simply cleaning the trash out of your rentals and renting them immediately are over for now and you must to much more to impress your tenants. Your inventory must be nicer than your competition or potential rents will rent a nicer home for the same amount of money you are charging.
- You need to have a live person answer calls from potential tenants who call in from your advertisements otherwise you risk them calling someone else and renting a home from them if you don’t. Robert gave us some interesting statistics from all the calls that he allows to go to voicemail and his lead loss if he does not call them back quickly. He said if he waits a half an hour to call back his prospects he loses half. If waits an hour or more he loses another half. If he waits to the end of the day or the next business day he is down to about 10% of his prospects. His tip is to answer the phone live when you can and/or call back your prospects as soon as you possibly can to avoid your prospects from renting from your competition.
- Offer incentives to keep existing tenants in your investment properties. When your tenants lease is up, they can often move into a nicer, more affordable home. To avoid losing your good, paying tenants to competitors, Robert suggest offering them free or affordable incentives to stay another year or two. Robert gave a few examples such as offering them a partial refund of their security deposit, cleaning or making improvements to their home, free rent, etc.
- Finally Robert suggested putting the “human factor” back into the rental equation and not just treat your tenants as numbers. Techniques that worked two years ago no longer work. Robert suggests that you show your houses in person rather than simply putting a lockbox on the door so you can really sell them on the amenities, the neighborhood, etc. He suggests talking to them on the phone and not just directing them to your website only. People want to be treated like people and with so many choices out there, they are going to rent from landlord who treats them with dignity and respect and spends time finding them the perfect home.
These are all excellent tips for any real estate market or economy. After all, when you have a nicer product and provide better service than your competition, you will attract better quality tenants. Thanks again Robert for coming out and sharing your timely, expert knowledge with our group. We hope you will come back again and again!