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Advantages and dis-advantages to showing your rental property tenant-occupied vs vacant

When a tenant provides a 30-day notice of intent to vacate, our standard practice is to immediately list the property for rent and start showing it. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, for example, if the rental property owner intends to remodel with an undetermined completion date, a water leak is identified or if the property has suffered greater than normal wear and tear. The goal of any hard-working property management company in San Diego and nationwide is to limit vacancy time and achieve market or above rental rates, returning the greatest income yield for their clients. Call around and ask various property management companies that offer rental property management services in San Diego and you will find that not every property management agency agrees that this is the best approach. Large and/or lazy property management firms assert that the best approach is to wait until the current tenant moves out and the property is made rent-ready before showing it.

SOME OCCUPIED HOMES SHOW POORLY

Large property management firms servicing San Diego that have properties all over the County are usually behind on getting their rentals to market; their properties are generally messy and need a lot of repairs between tenants. The reason is they simply don’t visit the properties routinely due to being overwhelmed and the travel distance to each property is too time-consuming. Smaller boutique-style property management consultants generally work in a small area, they are experts in their area, they have better relations with tenants and since the properties are visited at least twice per year to check on the condition, showing the properties while occupied works well.  Properties managed by larger San Diego property management companies are generally messy, poorly maintained and they have a difficult time showing the property while occupied. Properties that do not show well usually rent for less than the market and thus large residential property management companies tell their investment property owners they will only show a rental property when it is vacant and in great showing condition.

SUCCESSFULLY RENTING OCCUPIED APARTMENTS

Residential apartment property management companies that service all of San Diego County are generally only successful in renting the investment property while occupied roughly one-third of the time. Much of this is due to a lack of effort in visiting and maintaining the properties during the course of the lease. In most cases, apartment property management companies are trying to lease out the property higher rent than the property leased for in the past. For residential apartments in San Diego specifically, if the tenants are not cooperative with the showings or the apartment is dirty, has odors or looks lived-in and unattractive, then this is also a situation where it is advisable to wait until the apartment is rent ready.

ISSUES WITH SHOWING OCCUPIED RENTALS

The best property management companies are aware of the possibility of a late move-out or a holdover tenancy situation. From time to time the existing tenant might not be able to move into their new place on time or they don’t move out when they are supposed to. Owner that manage their own properties and a professional property management company have little leverage to force hold over tenants to leave. To prevent issues with delivering the property to the incoming tenant by the date agreed to in the contract, the adequate time such as 1.5 to 2 weeks should be allowed between the existing tenants move-out date and the new tenants move-in date.

Another common issue is repaired surprises. Most times large rental management companies outsource the maintenance giving them little control over turn time since they are at the mercy of the vendor’s calendar. San Diego rental property management companies that own the maintenance company rarely have issues with making the rent ready deadline.  You assume it will take about 1.5 to 2 weeks to make the property rent ready. If you discover a leak under the sink that you didn’t know about and the cabinet needs to be replaced adding time to your turnover, it helps to have dedicated repair staff that can accommodate these repairs.

Lastly, rental management companies that own their owner maintenance company have fewer complaints from the new tenant about repairs at move-in, there are less unmet expectations, the tenants are happier, and there is less back and forth between the property management company and the landlord.

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