5 Ways To Minimize Your Winter Vacancy Rate


The frigid weather associated with the coldest parts of the country has a tendency to disrupt the real estate market every winter. The winter real estate market is less active than its warmer counterparts, and the rental market is no exception. Not unlike the housing market as a whole, winter serves as an impediment to the rental industry, but it doesn’t need to for those that are prepared for what’s in store.

There is no reason today’s rental property investors can’t simultaneously minimize vacancy rates and realize lucrative business operations over the course of winter. With the correct preventative measures in place, investors shouldn’t feel the need to worry about their own vacancy rate, and can instead focus on more important things.

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Need To Fill A Vacancy? Try These Marketing Ideas

The best way to fill a vacancy is to market your property in as many creative ways as possible. That said, marketing isn’t only meant to be used when your homes sit vacant, but rather all year. In order to minimize your own risk of a vacancy, use the following strategies on a consistent basis:

  1. Social Media Ads
  2. Craigslist
  3. Partner With Local Businesses & Charities
  4. Advertise Incentives
  5. Positive Reviews

Social Media Ads

Social media quickly became one of today’s greatest marketing vehicles, as social media sites and apps have changed the way we communicate with one another. It stands to reason that rental property investors who learn how to harness the power and market share of social media will realize incredible exposure for their properties.

Today’s most successful social media outlets have captured the attention of the entire world; just about everyone has an account on them. As a result, there’s no simpler, cheaper way to reach a larger audience. Sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow savvy passive income investors to reach countless renters with the single click of a button—the return on investment is incredible.

You are doing yourself a severe disservice if you neglect to market your own rental property through social media advertising. If you hope to take advantage of social media, however, it is recommended to follow three specific guidelines: invest in ad campaigns, find a target audience and tailor the correct message. That way, you will increase the chances of the right audience seeing your content.


The Craigslist marketplace remains one of the best ways to advertise a rental property and reduce vacancies. However, it’s not enough to simply post a Craigslist ad and hope the right audience not only sees it, but is also receptive of it as well. To truly benefit from Craigslist, one must know how to use it strategically. In the event you are interested in filling a vacancy through the use of Craigslist, there are a number of factors to consider, not the least of which include:

  • Photos: The best Craigslist ads separate themselves from the rest of the competition with great real estate photography. If you want your ad to minimize the risk of vacancies, you need to include viable photos. Take your photos in the highest resolution and quality possible, highlighting the selling features of your units. To make sure your ads stand out amongst the competition, it is advised to invest in professional photographs of your property.
  • Categories: Post your ad in as many categories on Craigslist as you can. Think apts/housing, housing wanted, real estate for sale, rooms wanted, vacation rentals, temporary housing, jobs, household, services, discussion forums, community, and everywhere else. Take a good look at each category and create content that fits in each respective category. That way, the listing will receive more exposure.
  • Headlines: When searching through Craigslist apartment rentals, the headline and featured image are what stand out the most to renters as they scroll. Rental property owners need to come up with headlines that will actually get people to click on them; that’s why it’s crucial to write an informative title. Include keywords to grab your audience’s attention and make your property stand out, such as the number of bedrooms or neighborhood in which the property is located.
  • Update: A good Craigslist ad is an updated Craigslist ad. In order to stay competitive, it is important that you update your ad consistently. That way, you will increase your chances of Craigslist posting your ads in the most viewed locations. Note that Cragslist guidelines allow you to update your ad every three days.

Partner With Local Businesses & Charities

The holidays award savvy investors with unique opportunities to market their businesses. Partnering with local businesses and charities, for example, is made easier through all of the opportunities brought forth by the holidays. As a result, it’s a good idea for investors to start giving back to the community that got them to where they are today. Doing so can result in a number of benefits, not the least of which is more exposure for their rental properties.

Giving back to a community tends to generate a lot of good will—sentiment that can go a long way in increasing brand exposure. Not only will doing good in the community place more eyes on a company, but it will also develop a sense of trust and loyalty with those who are made aware of your actions—two invaluable indicators for any business.

Advertise Incentives

When it comes to real estate marketing, one thing is certain: people like to feel as if they are getting a good deal. Few things can do more to sway a prospective renter’s decision to move into a property than the feeling of getting a great price.

It is worth noting, that there are more ways to offer a great deal than to simply reduce the price. Rental property investors can throw in incentives to make their units look more attractive. It is entirely possible to include something as simple as a flat screen television to make signing a lease seem more attractive.

Therefore, today’s investors should find out what their renters may want and give it to them. The cost of the incentive obviously shouldn’t exceed a profitable threshold, but it’s ok to spend a little upfront to lock a tenant into a long-term lease.

What’s more, incentives can go a long way when combined with a proper social media campaign. You would be surprised at how intriguing a well-crafted Facebook ad can be when combining an incentive with a unit for rent.

Positive Reviews

Positive reviews can go a long way in generating a lot of good favor in the renter community, as prospective renters are more likely to move into a unit if they can trust the landlord. Positive reviews are also a powerful tool in garnering the attention of new tenants; something that can mitigate the risk of vacancies this winter, and throughout the entire year.

Having said that, now’s the time to update your profiles that are capable of receiving reviews. In updating your profile pages, kindly ask long-standing tenants to post reviews and proactively address any negative reviews you may have on sites like Yelp, Google and Apartment Reviews.


Nothing is more damaging to an investor’s rental property portfolio than a high vacancy rate. Unrented units are the surest way to turn a profitable asset into one that detracts from your bottom line. As a result, investors need to do everything in their power this winter to minimize the risk of running into a vacancy. Remember, filling a vacancy shouldn’t take precedence once you have a unit without tenants. The best way to reduce your rental vacancy rate is to practice a sound marketing and branding strategy year-round.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to minimize your own vacancy rate, practice sound marketing strategies year-round.
  • Those that know how to find tenants efficiently will have a better chance of filling a vacancy.