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Wondering if move in specials are worth it? With more rental space than ever available to prospective tenants, many landlords wonder what they can do to stand out above the competition and attract the best and most qualified applicants. Apartment move in specials are a great way to attract attention and can entice applicants to choose your rental property over similarly priced ones.
Market conditions play a role in what type of move-in specials you offer. However, unless the rental market is completely tipped in your favor, there’s always a good incentive to offer move-in specials to bring in as many applicants as possible so you can make the best choice.
Another factor that may come into play for your decision to offer move-in specials include the current season (fewer people move in the winter, especially around the holidays); something going on in the neighborhood (like serious road construction); or increased competition (the modern multi-unit property opening up on the next block).
Landlords and property managers make the most money when they have excellent, long-term tenants and few vacancies, so offering move-in specials can be one of the first steps toward that goal.
List of Apartment Move In Specials
First Month Rent Free
At first glance, many landlords may not understand the advantage of running this type of move-in special. After all, how can they afford to go without one month of rent? The secret is to run this type of special when you offer a 12-month lease or longer.
If you have a harder time getting your vacant unit filled, waiving the first month can bring in those highly qualified applicants. You may not get your first month of rent, but you’ve locked in great tenants for the rest of the lease.
And, you wouldn’t have gotten that first month of rent anyhow if the unit was sitting vacant because it wasn’t attracting attention.
This special is most enticing for tenants when they can move in close to the beginning of the month. After all, moving in on the 25th isn’t much of a savings for them when the first full month of rent is due five days later.
Lowered or No Security Deposit
Offering a lowered security deposit is one way to attract applicants. You can choose to charge interested applicants a few hundred dollars for the deposit instead of a full month’s rent or whatever the amount is that your state allows.
Moving from one rental to another can be expensive, so whenever there is a chance for applicants to save some money, they often jump at the listings that will do so. Some landlords feel comfortable with a reduced security deposit amount because much of the time they end up sending most of it back to the tenant eventually.
The downside is that a reduced security deposit will not cover the costs of damages if those same tenants eventually leave you with a mess. It also won’t cover must of the lost rent if the tenant bolts mid-lease. You can try to recover both through small claims court, but that may or may not work out for you. A good tenant screening process can minimize the risk.
If you manage a multi-unit rental property and have fees in place for some of your services, you might consider waiving some application or processing fees to attract applicants. The most common waived fees are for the background check and/or the application fee. Waiving these fees can tip the scales in your favor in getting the right applicants to become your tenants.
Offer Free Stuff
Few things attract attention in a rental ad like the word “Free.” Offering free utilities like heat or water or something you already pay for is another way to make an impact. Many landlords and property managers charge for certain property amenities, like internet, cable, rented washers and dryers in the rental unit, special parking spots, and so forth.
Many landlords find it well worth it to absorb the small cost of one or more of these amenities in order to lock in a long-term tenant who will pay a full deposit and rent. Some landlords even offer free items, like a TV, gift cards or tickets to a sporting event, to applicants who sign a lease, figuring that it is a controlled expense that they plan for, and “buys” them a great tenant in a long-term lease.
Reduce the Rent
It makes sense to charge the rent that the current market dictates, and presumably, you’ve done your research on what a fair rent is for your area. Advertising a reduced rent can be a big attention-grabber, but you need to turn it to your advantage. Charging a slightly lower rent can actually save you more over the long run than having a lot of turnovers or even a month or so of vacancies.
This works well if you typically use month-to-month rental agreements and would like something more stable. If your ideal applicant is wavering over signing a long-term lease, consider knocking off some of the rent via a move-in special to sweeten the deal.
When it comes to attracting qualified tenants, you have to do what makes sense for you and your rental property. Many successful landlords have learned that offering hard-to-ignore move-in specials makes applicants who are out shopping for the best deal on a rental property take a look at their place over the competition. After all, giving up a little bit of money for a long-term lease signed by good tenants is well worth the small sacrifice.