5 Ways To Find Tenants Without Using A Real Estate Agent

By on May 14, 2018

The end of a lease is always one of the most strenuous times for any landlord. You must juggle getting the existing tenants out of the property while finding a new tenant to replace them. If this process isn’t started early enough you will be forced to settle for next, best tenant that comes along. This may work out, but it also opens the door to sloppy due diligence that can lead to taking on a poor tenant.

Whether you work with a real estate agent or not you should always employ a handful of methods to find your next tenant. Most of these you may already be using in other areas of your business but can be helpful in your tenant search. Here are five ways you can find your next tenant without using a real estate agent.

  • Personal website. Every real estate investor should have a personal website. Your website doesn’t need to have dozens of pages and all the new bells and whistles, but you need to have something. Depending on how you use the site it can be an invaluable tool. For the sake of finding tenants it can be an easy, and inexpensive, option. Your website will be the meeting point for which all your marketing comes back to. Everything you do on social media or print should direct the reader back to the site. On the site you should have pictures, information and even a video tour of the property. Include a section for frequently asked questions and even have a quick application they can fill out. The more information on the website, the easier things will be on your end.
  • Social media. You have to be living under a rock not to understand the impact of social media. It is not a stretch to say that social media can single-handily reach hundreds of people with the click of a button. As a landlord looking for tenants you need to tap into this potential. When you are about 90 days from the end of your current lease you should start your social media campaign. Simply put a post with a picture, description and information of the property asking your friends if they know anybody who may be interested. You can also politely ask them to share the post on their page as well. You will probably get a few interested people from the initial post, but you can expect that to ramp up the closer you are to the lease date. You don’t want to oversaturate your timeline with property posts, but you should do something every week or so. It is also a good idea to post your website if you have a business page and put the property on the home page. For those 90 days your business focus should be finding a new tenant.
  • Bandit signs/print marketing. As much as social media has changed the way we advertise you cannot overlook the basics either. Every property you rent should have a bandit sign somewhere on the yard. Bandit signs are the small signs you usually see around election time. Instead of promoting your favorite politician you can use them to find a tenant. A simple “for rent” sign with a phone number may be enough to get your phone to ring. If you place the sign off your property you should be sure to include the address of the rental as well. It is a good idea to place a few print marketing materials in high traffic areas in the market. This is especially the case if you are renting to students. A handful of flyers in a populated area of campus can often be enough to generate interest.
  • Craigslist/Zillow. In many ways buyers are similar to renters. Like buyers, renters start their property search online. It is important that you don’t overlook this important niche. Every landlord should put their listing online through Craigslist and Zillow. Craigslist is not the power that it once was, but it can still be a great way to find a tenant. Additionally, these sites are free so the cost to place an ad is nothing more than your time. The key to finding tenants through these sites is having as much pertinent information on the listing as possible. Quality pictures are a must, and a good video is preferred. You should also list as much information on the property as possible. Your goal isn’t to get your phone to ring but to actually find a tenant. With the right information you will sort out the tenants who are browsing with those who really want the property.
  • Email contacts. The very first piece of property marketing you should do is to your friends, family and personal contacts. Social media works great but nothing works better than your private network. Send an email to your contacts asking if they know anyone who would be interested in renting the property. If you are under 45 days, you could consider adding a small incentive either to them or to your tenants. If your contacts do not have someone specific in mind they may be able to point you in the right direction.

You can always use a real estate agent to help find tenants, but you don’t have to. If you give yourself enough time these five methods should be enough to help find a tenant for any rental property.