The Ultimate Guide To Listing At The Right Price
Are you looking to lease your property and not sure what price to list? Here at Lofty, we’ve had the experience of listing hundreds of properties in the Chicagoland area. In this guide, we share exactly how to list your property like a professional.
Choosing a rental price for your home or condo can be a tricky task. You don’t want to set the price low and miss out, but you don’t want to ask too much. No one wants to be that house that has been listed for six months. Like a teenager without a date to the prom, this is something to be avoided at all costs. Staying realistic is the key, along with a little legwork and market research. As a landlord your goal is to minimize vacancy to boost profitability and reduce risks associated with an unoccupied place.
When tasked with setting an accurate rent price, your first instinct may be to charge as much as the market can bear. But there are some things to consider before choosing a rental price.
Know The Market
Market demand will dictate your rent price. To get the best idea of what the current market demand is in your area, assess value. A first simple step is to have a look at similar properties available for rent in your area to gauge what price they are listed for rent. From Craigslist to Zillow and even the classified section of your local newspaper—if you like to kick it old school—can be great starting points.
Determining Market Value
The best next step is to consult a real estate professional to secure a Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA will evaluate similar, recently rented units (called comparables or comps) that are near your property. These comps assist in establishing the current market value of your property. There are several factors to keep in mind when reviewing rented comps: price, market time, seasonality, location compared to your property, room sizes, amenities, and so on.
With these comps in mind, along with the active listings previously discussed, you are now prepared to analyze the data to achieve your list price. Get your analytical thinking hat on and strap in! Or leave it to the professionals at Lofty who offer you a free market analysis!
This process should be repeated each and every time you relist your property to account for any market shifts. Even the most experienced real estate professionals rely on an accurate CMA to determine the market price. For example, if there is a downturn in the economy the demand for rental properties may increase as people can no longer afford to buy their own homes and will choose to rent instead. A dip in the economy may also benefit landlords who own smaller properties and apartments as people look to downsize in order to save money. The general rule of thumb is that the greater the demand the higher the rent you can charge, and visa versa.
It also doesn’t hurt to be competitive. Offering a slightly lower price than the average comparable property in your area may win over a renter quicker.
Think Like A Tenant
Imagine your potential renters and how they are searching for their next home. If their max rent price is $1,800, they are likely to set $1,800 as their maximum search price. If you were to set your pricing at $1,850 or $1,900 with the willingness to negotiate less, you may be unintentionally missing out on potential renters.
Additionally, it may not add value to your listing to market your price ending in a $50 increment, like $1,850, since most search criteria increases in $100 increments. The $50 increment puts you in limbo with the inability to take advantage of viewers who are the next tier down. Take the plunge and lower another $50, it will pay off with a faster turnaround.
Rent Is Based On Desire
The desirability of your property will play a huge role in how much rent you can charge. If your property has very little amenities or upgrades or is in need of a lot of work, renters will not be willing to pay top dollar. The more attractive your property is, the more you will likely be able to charge. The following are some of the most sought-after features in Chicago, which should be taken into consideration:
- Vista – What will your tenants see when they draw their curtains in the morning? A view of Lake Michigan or a park is more desirable than a view of a the exterior of the building next door.
- Altitude – If your apartment is in a high-rise building, the higher levels are more desirable. Ground floor or garden apartments can be less desirable to some renters, due to security concerns and the possibility of flooding in heavy rains.
- Area – Value increases with square footage. In most cases, the greater area your property has the more desirable it is. There is one caveat though: how well your space is used plays a major role.
- Beds/Baths – Value increases in any market as bedrooms and bathrooms increase.
- Storage – From closet space to a basement or storage locker to a garage, any and all extra space is a bonus and should increase desire.
- Updates/Upgrades – The more modern your property is, the better. Homes with modern, updated appliances are far more desirable than those with outdated features and finishes. Even ‘vintage’ can get old.
The Right Price Is Attractive
If your property has been listed for a 2-3 weeks but you are not flooded with viewing requests, the price is likely a turn-off. Whether it is too high or too low, your audience will make assumptions. If a potential tenant thinks you are under-charging based on market demand, they may believe there is something wrong with the property.
You may find that using interest to find the “Goldilocks”, or perfect price point for your property is a solid tactic. Ideally, in the first couple of weeks that your property is new to the market you should receive 10-20 inquiries. And inquiries lead to showings!
Ideally, most landlords also want to make a profit. On average, a landlord pockets anywhere from zero to seven percent of the monthly rental income as profit. If the property is not benefiting you in some way, you might have set the rent too low, or worse, you might have over invested. Regardless of your goals, the right rent should, at the very minimum, cover all your expenses on the property. These include mortgage repayments (if you have one) as well as maintenance and repairs. If the value of your rental property does not meet or exceed this criteria, it may be time to consult an experienced, professional Leasing and/or Property Management service like Lofty to help get your investment back on the right track.
Looking for a real estate brokerage that can manage your investment property from top to bottom?
Contact Anthony Zammitt, managing broker of Lofty Real Estate.