Landlords often wonder when they should start trying to find a new tenant once their current tenant has given notice to move out. Do you start marketing right away before the property is vacant or wait until the current tenant moves out to start? Let’s go over the pros and cons.
Pros of marketing with the outgoing tenants still in place:
- One pro is that if you start marketing it before your tenants move, then there’s a chance you’ll have a signed lease and tenants moving in soon after your current tenants vacate.
- Another pro is that you may not have to switch services like utilities into your name if you have tenants back-to-back. But, most likely you will even if it’s for a few days since rarely do tenants move in the day after other tenants move out.
- You don’t have to pay for services that tenants take care of as part of their lease, like landscape maintenance or snow removal. These services might be something you or your community provides but if it’s a tenant responsibility, you’re going to need to hire someone or a company to take care of that while the property is vacant.
- When a property is occupied, it reduces the chance of break ins. Although it’s empty and typically there’s no furniture, sometimes people break in to be a nuisance, have a place to do drugs, or steal appliances.
- You don’t have to worry about your insurance policy dropping off coverage. Since there is a higher risk of damage, insurance providers sometimes change their coverage for properties if they’re vacant for too long (e.g. over 30 days) so you may want to check this and make sure your policy and coverage don’t change and you end up not being covered in case something happens.
Pros to waiting until it’s vacant:
- You cannot guarantee that your current tenants will move out on time. While they have a lease end date and they’ve given notice, sometimes things happen that cause tenants to stay longer than they’re supposed to. Maybe the place they’re moving or isn’t ready yet or it fell through and they’re scrambling to find an alternative. You may not only lose the new tenants you’ve signed a lease with, but you may also be out leasing fees to an agent who helped you find them.
- It doesn’t show as well when it’s occupied. Your current tenants might be home during showings and point out all the maintenance issues they had to deal with during their tenancy. They might have a pet so there might be a litter box in the bathroom or poop in the backyard. They could have kids who have a daily nap time or birthday party scheduled on the weekend making it more difficult to schedule showings.
- The new tenants aren’t seeing the property how they’ll get it. They must not only look past the current tenant’s difference in decorating taste but also cleanliness (or lack of). If you’re planning to do any minor repairs like touch-up paint, then most likely that hasn’t been done yet since landlords typically wait until tenants move out to make those repairs.
- You have time to get the property ready for new tenants. You don’t always know what going to be needed until your current tenants move and you can see what the property looks like without their furniture. It’s also easier for tradespeople to do the work since they’re not having to coordinate around a tenant’s schedule.
- Vacant homes typically rent faster because they show better and are available immediately for people looking to move soon. When you start marketing a property with tenants in place, you may lose a lot of interest due to people not being able to wait until the current tenants’ move-out date. If the property doesn’t show well and is on the market for a few weeks, people are more likely to try and get you to lower the price so it may end up renting for less.
Every management company handles move-outs differently. Do they wait for tenants to move out first to ensure that the property is ready and looks great for new tenants or do they start marketing it with the outgoing tenants still there? Give us a call if you’d like to hear our process that makes going from one lease to another a breeze.