Apartment Turnover and Process

July 21, 2021 0 comment

Written by: Eric Davis

A study by the United States Census Bureau in 2019[1] says, 17% of Americans vacated their homes due to various housing-related issues. Losing tenants can be a nightmare for all property managers or landowners. Keeping the tenants happy and getting them to renew their lease is not an easy task. Reducing the rental vacancy rate demands an investment of time and resources. High tenant turnover rates are a nightmare that keeps most property managers up at night.

A key to starting the turnover process.

What is an Apartment Turnover?

Property/tenant turnover is when the current occupants move out; the property is prepared for new renters or the time when the property sits vacant between two renters. No rental income is earned during this process, even though there are still expenses to pay off

How Does the Process Work?

Property turnover is an important property management responsibility, and the leasing process depends on its timely completion. Knowing in advance if your tenant will renew or not makes the turnover much easier. Remind your tenant of the timeline and process they agreed on if they do not intend to continue. Regulations and standards differ from state to state, but property managers or landlords typically send a 30- to 60-day notice before expiring the lease. The turnover process consists of three main steps: the move-out, preparing the property for new tenants, advertising, and showing it.

1. Moving Out

Most tenants are not sure of the order of events when moving out. One important thing in moving out is the inspection. Move-out inspection must be done with you and to coordinate a time and date. Usually, move-out inspections are being done roughly 14 days before the moving date. It must be done with the coordination of the renter and landlord/property manager. Reduce the stress of tenant move-out by creating a checklist. The list can differ from every landlord’s perspective. Others prefer itemized plans, while others are generalized. See move-out inspection benefits below:

• Landlord Side

  • Determining repair costs
  • Can avoid disputes
  • The tenant can fix damages

• Tenant Side

  • Fix damages
  • Get full security deposit returned
  • Avoiding Disputes

A photo of packing stuff for move out.

2. Preparing the Property for New Tenants

Getting the properties ready for new occupants is a crucial piece in any property manager’s task. Be that as it may, the question remains, how efficient can the process be? Prior to a move-in, repairs, health, or security issues at the property will need to be tended in. Here are a couple of ideas:

• Cleaning – One of the basic things in preparations is cleaning. It is an important detail in a turnover period. A good and well-maintained property is key to attract more renters. Organized landlords/property managers use an effective and powerful cleaning system.

• Repairs and Upgrades – You must make sure everything is functional. Electrical should be working fine. No clogs or leaks in the plumbing as well. When repair is in order, put resources into things that will last. This will limit the number of negative comments/complaints from tenants you may have. Adding new paints helps with the initial impression. A quality home in an upscale region deserves a widely appealing color.

• Safety – Alarms and Detectors should be tested and ensure fresh batteries are in place. Re-key your property each time there is a move-in. It is simply better to avoid any risks.

• Pre-screening and PaperworkLandlords can save time, energy, and funds by pre-screening applicants. This will also secure you from unsettled renters and ensure that property can only be shown to qualified tenants. But bear in mind not to violate any Fair Housing Laws[2] in pre-qualifying tenants. After this, create a comprehensive and fair agreement so both parties will be protected.

3. Advertising the Property

Getting many qualified tenants is never easy, as the market is full of great properties with a limited pool of renters. Put in your absolute best effort by getting a property available 30 to 45 days before opening. It will reduce the vacancy and will improve the odds of getting more tenants lined up. But, before you commit to an availability date, make sure to provide time for the inspection, improvements, agreement, and cleaning. Pricing the property accurately also helps to draw more tenants. Here are some tips on how an advertisement can be effective.

• Identify the target market – this is the most priority strategy to have successful marketing.

• Use Social Media platforms – we are currently in the 20th century, where everything is looking up online. Regardless of the market class, presenting through the internet such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms is a big way of reaching out to your prospective tenants.

• Referrals – one of the most valued and effective ways of marketing the property is through word-of-mouth. A customer referral has more integrity since it came from highly regarded customers.

An online strategy to market your properties digitally.

4. Property Showing

One more aspect of property management is getting a qualified renter. Working with property tours for potential occupants is a fundamental piece of being a landlord. When a possible tenant reached out, the next thing is to set up several rental property tours. Have a strong system to show your investment property. Time is valuable, and your objective is to get a qualified occupant. A property showing is intended to address questions, give a sneak peek into living there, and close on qualified candidates. Here are tips to be more efficient:

  • Quick response to advertisement inquiry
  • Pre-qualify prospect
  • Lessen the number of attendees
  • Convenient times for schedule showing

How you introduce yourself as a property manager/landlord to possible renters can have a significant effect. Even though this appears to be unimportant, the small details significantly impact the selection process of potential renters. However exciting as it seems to have a tenant, ensure you have everything together before giving the keys.

One of the reasons why property managers need to take turnovers seriously is the bottom line; it could spell the difference between having an income to bleeding funds unnecessarily. More delays in the turnover process take more costs to overall earnings. Davis Property Management is here to provide expert property management services tailored to your property and investment strategy needs. Whether you need help managing an occupied unit or need help finding your next great tenantDPM can help. Call us today at 425-658-7471 or email info@davispropertymanagement.com.


[1] https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/geographic-mobility/time-series/historic/tab-a-5.xls

[2] https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/CivilRights/FH-FAQ-Property_Owners_Managers.pdf

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