Don’t Leave Your Apartment Vacant This Winter


Location, location, location is only part of the magic formula for success in real estate. The other mantra could be, December, January, and February. Those are the toughest months in which to lease out your San Diego rental unit. Winter is a challenge for many reasons, but wise owners will succeed even in the coldest season. Try these sure-fire tips to attract tenants during the winter.

San Diego’s Weather Advantage

San Diego gets no recorded snowfall. Temperatures never drop into the freezing 30s. With only a foot of rain a year (according to Best Places), the city does not get many of those dreary, cold, rainy winter nights.

San Diego’s weather advantage allows real estate investors to market their properties more easily year-round than, say, a property owner dealing with San Francisco’s cold, wet winter. Yet even San Diego provides some challenges to winter leasing:

●        Short days and longer, dark nights

●        Temperatures dipping into the 40s

●        Landscapes that do not look their best

●        Overcast skies

●        Seasonal distractions like holidays, parties, and erratic school schedules

Enticing apartment hunters to your San Diego property in the dead of winter requires clever marketing and open-eyed realism.

Make Your Rental Property Appealing

You have two avenues to boost the curb appeal of your investment property:

1.      Finances

2.      Emotion

The end of one year or the fresh start to another often finds many would-be renters sorely pressed for funds. They also are facing longer nights and shorter days, so apartment hunting is less appealing than in spring. To attract clients to your single-family home or multi-family properties, you need to appeal to wallets and warm, fuzzy feelings.

You can readily increase traffic to your San Diego area properties by providing a financial incentive to bring in new tenants. Offer discounts on rent, reduced seasonal rates on services, or even a few extras to entice tenants:

 1.      A month’s free use of on-site laundry facilities (if you use an electronic card system, this is very easy to provide)

2.      Six months with no additional charge for cats and dogs

3.      A paid one-year subscription to a local magazine

4.      Provide listings of winter sports and activities reachable from your property

5.      Restaurant gift cards for neighborhood establishments

If you have an especially challenging investment property, consider a real deal-closer: you will pay moving expenses! The prospect of self-moving through wintry, rainy weather appeals to nobody: knowing a professional mover will tackle the move makes saying “Yes!” to a new lease a lot more inviting.

To get prospective tenants to view your property as a great big beautiful present, remember the winter months are marked by festivals of lights. This is not random; light makes everything more attractive, set off against nature’s dark night. Outside, make certain all exterior lights are functioning and bright. Inside, consider adding additional floor lamps to keep every room well lit and cozy.

Winter’s early darkness means landscape lighting will help set an almost theatrical staging for arriving renters. Make certain walkways are well illuminated not only to prevent accidents but also to give a sense of dramatic arrival, as if your prospective renters are having the proverbial red carpet rolled out for them. Check that the entryway lights are bright and clear (no yellow bug lights!), providing plenty of illumination for fumbling for keys and finding locks.

Practical Matters

After providing inducements like discounts and gifts, and ensuring an attractive, well-lit property, you also need to backup the initial impression with top-notch maintenance. Consider what San Diego renters want in a winter property:

●        Embracing warmth from fully functioning heat plants (whether a central boiler, electric baseboards, an apartment-sized furnace or a heat pump)

●        Functioning appliances to support longer indoor hours cocooning on couches

●        Quick responses to weather-related issues like drafty windows or insufficient hot water

You cannot show an apartment or other rental property that does not have working heat. No amount of talking will counteract a chilly apartment viewing; keep the heat comfortable (but not stuffy) and reassure clients that your maintenance staff makes heat a priority in winter.

In addition, all indoor maintenance in common areas must be up to date, so your apartment hunters see bright, clean hallways and lobbies leading to the particular unit you are renting.

Seasonal Superhero

A property management company can be the seasonal superhero you need to keep your property fully occupied year-round. By turning daily tasks over to a property management service, you can simplify your involvement in every aspect of tenancy:

●        Attracting great clients

●        Maintaining attractive, high-occupancy properties

●        Responding efficiently and economically to seasonal chores, maintenance requests, and tenant needs

●        Staying on top of to-do lists to keep your investment property in appealing, rent-ready shape

Partnering with the expert property managers of PropertyADVANTAGE can help you keep your investment properties fully occupied even in the winter.

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