1. Knowing who to target
In short, it means knowing your target market and trying your best to cater to your potential tenants’ needs. However, bear in mind that target market will also depend on the type of property, size and the location you are offering.
In terms of property and size, studio units are typically associated with students or young working executives. As they are relatively small, studio units are used by people who do not need larger living arrangements, particularly those who are single. “Renting bigger homes may be unnecessary and well above their budget”, says Tang Chee Meng, Chief Operating Officer of Henry Butcher Marketing Sdn Bhd.
Whereas for families with children, landed terraced houses or condominiums with 2 to 3 rooms appeal more to them than the studio units. Apart from that, a majority of them also prefer unfurnished homes as they are at liberty to plan out the interiors according to their style.
On the aspect of location, if you are renting out a condominium within the expatriate-populated Mont’ Kiara, it is highly likely your tenants are expatriates i.e. the Japanese and Koreans who fancy condominium lifestyle in the area.
“Therefore, landlords who know exactly the group of people they are targeting and furnish their homes according to their needs, will benefit from those who do not”, Tang notes.
2. Physical rules still count
Now knowing who you are targeting, are you spending enough effort to make your home appeal to your potential tenants? Henry Butcher’s Tang says it is important to make certain that your home looks not only presentable but appears “attractive” to potential tenants who will call in to view your home.
Though the definition of “attractive” is subjective to each individual, it comes back to the fundamental rule – who are you targeting? If your target market is expatriates, it may be good to fully or partially furnish your home and provide the necessary furniture and fittings such as the air conditioner, fridge, washing machine, gas stove set and perhaps, even a microwave.
However, as mentioned above, if you are targeting families, it is best not to furnish your home to allow flexibility. “Not all dresses will look good on everyone, so make sure you dress up your home based on your targeted tenants’ preference”, says Tang.
3. Don’t procrastinate: Help-and-do-it-yourself
The cliché of “good things do not just fall from the sky” also means you must not procrastinate in looking for the right tenant. Tenants do not come right knocking on your door, instead you have to look for them. There are a few ways to help yourself to reach out to the mass market and ultimately, your targeted tenantsThe most popular and cheapest way is to advertise via the internet, says Tang. Home owners can register themselves in various property websites (those offering free membership registrations) to post their properties for rent, while some of them use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word of mouth through friends. However, Tang comments that this method is used mostly by the younger home owners who are more internet savvy.
If you happen to own a property near a university/college, one option would be to post notices around either the university/college or within popular student hang-outs, upon approval. In targeting expatriates, Tang suggests you could advertise in their (e.g. Japanese) community newspapers.
4. Appointing a real estate agent- pros & cons
If you have done all the above and still to no avail, you now have to seriously think of engaging a real estate agent to assist you. This is practical especially for those who cannot afford the time.
To engage an agent will also mean passing on the unnecessary burden, inconvenience and risk of being robbed. Also, you don’t have to entertain calls at odd hours of the day from potential tenants to view your home. By having an agent, these hassles can be avoided while you carry on with your day-to-day routine.
For first-time home owners, the experienced agents can guide them on tenancy agreement issues and appropriate market rental rates. Tang says a good agent will not ask you to lower your asking rent right away unless it is really above market rates.
Having said that, Tang advises that it is better to appoint a principal agent in marketing your home rental (specify deadline) as this will give the agent a sense of responsibility for quick rental. One obvious downside is how fast you rent out your property will very much depend on the agent’s marketing skills.
The tricky part is when agents are not the genuine ones, the so-called “part-time coffee shop agents”. There are cases, though minimal, whereby these agents abscond with the initial deposit paid by tenants. One way to reduce the risk, as Tang says, is finding out the license number, commonly known as E-number (issued by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia) of the agent you are dealing with. For some agents who are employed by the licensed real estate agencies, but without the E-numbers, you are advised to do some background check on them first.
5. Your “golden rule” to undercut competition
It is always advisable to do your homework and market research thoroughly to assess the appropriate asking rents based on what you can offer to tenants. But, what if you have not had any potential tenant after sitting on a fence of tight cash flow budget for several months?
As the last resort, Tang says he will use the golden rule – to undercut competition. With a minimum asking rent in mind, you are mentally prepared to accept a much lower rent. Though this may be your last weapon, it may prove to be one of the fastest ways to lure your tenant within the shortest period of time. Don’t believe? Try it!
Credit from Star property