Should You Make Concessions To Fill A Vacancy?

Last modified on October 4th, 2013

When you have property vacancies, particularly those that have been around for a while, you would do just about anything to fill them – after all, it is your job. However, you also need to know where to draw the line when residents come in with a list of demands before they will lease the property. Some may request that more extensive cleaning take place before they move in. Others may want certain rooms in the unit to be renovated or upgraded. Some may want you to greatly negotiate the price, and others may want you to throw in perks for free (for example, parking).

There are residents who will not rent a property if they do not get everything they want. Before you roll out the red carpet for them, you’ve got to consider the following.

How long has the property been vacant?
If the property has been vacant for quite some time, you may want to be more accommodating with the requests residents make prior to leasing. There is no strict timeline, as the average length of a property vacancy can vary by city. But as a property manager knowledgeable about your market, you know what the norm is, and you need to keep that in mind.

Does the resident have a point?
Maybe you’ve got residents asking about renovations and deeper cleaning because, for your area, your units don’t yet meet basic standards. Or they may ask about price because you are priced higher than your competition for comparative properties. Sometimes people haggle just to haggle, and other times, they’re simply making observations that you could learn from. Allow the experience to open your eyes.

Will you set the bar too high?
If similar properties are renting without a problem, you may not want to set a new standard. If you make an exception to fill a vacancy at a desperate time, you may need to prepare yourself for current and future resident requests for similar perks.

In the property management business, you are walking a tightrope between “the customer is always right” and operating a company with boundaries that allow for profit. Look at the big picture before diving into negotiations with prospective residents, or you may find that it’s a slippery slope. If you decide you don’t want to make concessions, check out our 3 Steps to Improving Vacancy Listings to help bring in more applicants.


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