People eventually move out of rental properties. That’s just the way the business works. You need to know when to start looking for new tenants so your property is never left vacant for too long.
Ideally, you want the next tenants to move in the day your property is available to avoid any loss of income. It would be great if you could advertise your property, show tenants through, screen the tenants, sign a lease, and move your tenants in, all within 24 hours. But most tenants need to give notice to vacate their current rental home before moving into your place. This is generally 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the state your new tenants are in.
In short, you need to know when to begin the process of finding new tenants. It took a little bit of trial and error, but I think I have found the magic time frame, or at least one that works for me.
You Could Start Too Soon…
Getting your ad up as soon as possible seems like a good idea, but there are drawbacks. Tenants generally look for properties about a month before they intend to move in. If you advertise too early, you may get a large amount of enquiries within the first 2 weeks but tenants may not be keen to wait if your property is only available too far down the track.
This graph shows how the visits to an ad on realestate.com.au tapered down from the second day onwards. As you can see, if you advertise too early, your enquiries will peak too early.
...But Too Late Is Too Late
Moving takes time. Tenants generally want to make arrangements as early as possible so the move goes smoothly. They want to have a new place lined up before they give notice at their current address.
If we advertise too late, sure, we may find tenants before the property is available but by the time the tenants actually move in it could be weeks, meaning you lose weeks of rental income.
A few months ago I advertised a house in Mornington. I could not get into the house to take pictures or schedule inspections, so the ad did not go up until just a week before the house was vacant. The ad got several calls, the first inspection was just minutes after the former tenants turned the keys over. Luckily, I got a great application a week later. Typically, these tenants had to give notice before vacating their old place and could not move in for two weeks.
Altogether, the house sat empty for nearly four weeks. With a rental of $400 per week, that comes to $1600 in lost income for the owner, just because we could not place the ad as soon as we wanted to. The timing of placing the ad is a delicate balance, it should be neither too soon or too late.
The Magic Time Frame is:
In my experience, 5 to 6 weeks is about right. This will give you and the new tenants two or three weeks to find each other, do the inspections, applications and screening. The new tenants will have the three to four weeks needed to give notice to their old property while you are making the final preparations for them to move in. Since you have strategically timed your ad, the property should only be vacant for a couple of days. Happy days!