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How to minimise your vacancy period when your tenant gives notice to vacate

By Kate Nolan

Vacancy rates are top of mind for every landlord in the NT at the moment and it is no surprise with
over 1000 properties currently on the market for rent. There are ways around this however, ways to
handle a vacancy so that it is short lived and your vacancy period is dramatically reduced. Read some
items below for some tips for the NT investor to help prepare for your next vacancy period.

Maintenance
A lot of landlords leave this until a property is vacant, with things like painting and major updates it
is wise to use your vacancy time to complete these but you can make small changes along the way,
just to make sure your property is in good condition and ready for market come the end of the
lease. Items you may wish to look at are any minor repairs that have been reported or small jobs
that you are aware of that affect aesthetics. In the current market place it is imperative your
property is dressed to impress so use your time wisely during your tenancy and try and keep on top
of maintenance throughout the year so that your property is ready to come to market as soon as
your tenant vacates.

Staying Ahead of the Game
If your tenant has not given you notice and you have not heard from them, the best idea would be to
make contact. We recommend making contact with your tenant 2 x months prior to the end of their
lease. This will leave plenty of time for negotiations or if your tenant is vacating will allow you plenty
of time to prepare. Once you have been given notice from your tenant the first thing you should do
is a comparative market analysis for the current market. You need to see where your property is
positioned among current competitors. A good idea is to flag any comparable or similar properties
that are currently on the market and watch them on your local property finder. This will give you an
indication of how their price is received by the market, how long the property has taken to lease and
any adjustments they have made to their marketing in order to secure a suitable tenant.

Pricing
One you have done your research it is time to decide on a price to take to market, by this stage you
will have seen how similar properties in your area have performed in your market place and should
know exactly what pricing bracket your property sits in. It is extremely important you are realistic
with your pricing. Having a Property Manager comes in handy here as they are in thick of it every day
and know market rates inside out. Your Property Manager won’t have the same emotional
attachment to your property as you do and so will be able to make a clear analysis of your property’s
rental value with a research backed approach.

Marketing

To do the best you need to be the best, you need to bring your A Game when it comes to property
marketing. We recommend professional photography for all of our investment properties as your
property needs to be shown in its absolute best light to generate appeal and stand out amongst the
crowd. You should also market on the major websites that tenants are using every day. These larger
property finder websites such as Domain and Realestate.com.au are highly trusted by tenants so
make sure your property is included in their listings. Your advertisement content should be clear and
concise. Research suggests that advertisements with a short paragraph followed by bullet points are
the most well received so try and keep your formatting within these parameters. Too much text can
be a problem so straight to the point is your best bet with your content.

Open Homes
Aim to show your property twice a week and be prepared to conduct private showings in between.
As Property Managers for Ray White this is how we operate. If you are a private landlord it can be a
lot of work but managing an investment property is never easy while working full time so it is a
commitment you will need to make. Look at the surrounding area of your property and check if
there are any events or timings you need to be aware. Things such as school drop off and pick up
times, community events etc. are good to be aware of. Once you have these times you can tie these
in with your open inspections. You want people to attend your property and know that they do not
have to battle for off street parking or heavy traffic just to get home.

Securing a Tenant
Average days on market in Darwin at the moment are 40 however if you have carried out the above
successfully you should have secured a suitable tenant sooner than this. Try and be selective with
your applicants as you need to protect your investment. You need to be confident that your new
tenant will look after the property, pay rent on time and not cause a nuisance to neighbours. It
might be appealing to put the first tenant who comes along into your property just to get it leased
but trust me, you need to do your homework. This is your well earned investment and it requires
work and research to get it right.

As you can see there is a process which does require a lot of effort when it comes to tenancies
ending, this article doesn’t even go in to the final inspection and finalising a tenancy which you
would also be dealing with at the same time. It is wise to engage a professional for this, Property
Managers are highly skilled and adept in this area and you can be confident your property is in good
hands. If you are going solo on this try and get some advice before you do. You have worked hard to
have an investment property so let it work hard for you.

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