The Ultimate Guide to Renting Your College Town Property
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to effectively advertise your rental property in a college town. Here we have 16 tips to help you rent out your property and keep your customers coming back again and again.
Tip #1: Write a Compelling Description
The opening lines of your description should compel the reader to want to learn more so it should be engaging enough to catch their attention. Consider the difference between these two descriptions:
1. Single bathroom ranch in Gainesville.
2. Within walking distance to the University of Florida football stadium!
Which would you click on?
Start your description with a short paragraph that gives insight not only into your property but also into the lifestyle it offers. Then describe the home as if you are taking them on a virtual tour.
You still want to list the key features in bullet point form so they’re scannable, but don’t neglect your description!
Tip #2: Be Realistic
If you manage your customer’s expectations, it will make for a better experience for all parties involved.
Be honest with how close or far your property is from major attractions like college stadiums, sports fields, a beach or river, shopping outlets, etc.
If your property has little eccentricities, just mention it up front so your customers are not unpleasantly surprised. They will appreciate the transparency.
Tip #3: Take Clean Photos
Now that you’ve written an attractive advertisement, you’ve got to take some high-quality photos to match. The first step is to clean up your space. Photos of rooms that are full of junk and clutter are really off-putting.
Photos using natural lighting typically produce the highest click-through rate so try to take your pictures in the morning when it’s bright out.
For the exterior, take the pictures when the sun is out and for the interior, open up the curtains and blinds and switch off artificial light sources.
And lastly, it’s best to use proper equipment. While iPhone cameras are extremely high quality, they may not provide the widest angle view to give the full effect of each room.
Tip #4: Arrange the photos in the most advantageous way
Kitchens and nicely decorated reception areas (entryways and living rooms) perform the best as the main photo.
If your property has an especially unique exterior, show it off with a great shot of your property to really make it stand out.
Create a tour of your property by arranging the photos as if you are walking through your house. It allows the applicants to imagine the same thing and will encourage them to inquire.
When it comes to renting properties, consumers want to be spoiled and provided with a plethora of options. You want to make sure they are choosing your property and not the one down the street. Here’s how:
Tip #5: Don’t Neglect TV Placement
Think of the places that people might like to watch TV, i.e. the living room and master bedroom, put them there, and include a DVD player. Then arrange the furniture to make viewing as comfortable as possible.
You should also provide Cable TV, if possible, and make sure there’s network reliability.
Tip #6: WiFi is a Must
Make sure you are providing Internet access to your temporary tenants. Many people will not even consider a property that doesn’t have WiFi in the first place. This is important for those wanting to watch Netflix, Hulu, or even work during their stay.
Tip #7: Outlets and Powerstrips are Huge Benefits
You know when you check into a hotel and there’s only one electrical outlet in your room to be shared by four people? That is the very situation you want to avoid in your own rental. There should be 1-2 power outlets in each room, and in more crowded areas, a $10 power strip will do the trick. USB ports are also a nice added touch.
Tip #8: You Should Provide Renters with Security Measures
Maybe a lock box for renters’ valuables or a security system that you give them their own code to operate. These extra security measures will keep your property and your tenant extra safe.
While they aren’t always a must, they can always help you get clients that might be willing to pay a little more money.
Tip #9: Make Your Property Pet-Friendly and Fence in the Property, if possible
It’s really hard when searching to find properties that will allow you to bring pets along so this is a prime amenity to make your property stand out. If you are ok with having pets in your rental property, it’s definitely recommended.
However, be sure to set expectations – e.g. only well-behaved dogs or no pets on the furniture. Also, think about supplying a water and food bowl and convenience bags for them to pick up after their pet.
And again, a fence is not a must, but an added bonus especially if you are trying to rent to young families and pet owners.
Tip #10: Provide Parking and Give Specific Instructions
Rental properties with ample parking spaces have a huge advantage, especially in crowded college towns. While your particular property might not have designated parking, you can offer renters a garage, carport, or driveway to give yourself the upper hand.
Tip #11: Reach Out to Your Guest a Week in Advance
Make sure to keep open lines of communication between you and your renter.
Sending a personalized message gives a nice touch and makes them feel welcome before they even arrive.
Here’s a template of what exactly to include in this email if you’re a little lost:
- Start by thanking them for renting your place.
- Include a line or two based on the information they provided you about themselves. (I hope you’re excited for [some activity]! You’ll love it here!)
- Give a little bit of information about the house.
- Provide information about the college town, fun places to eat, things to do, gyms, and other activities.
- Ask any questions you may have that will allow you to accommodate them more effectively.
Tip #12: Always Add Some Kind of Nice Surprise
Going beyond your promises will serve you well in your reviews. It doesn’t have to be anything major: provide small extras (e.g. coffee/Keurig), leave a bottle of wine for when they first check in, or leave some coupons you’ve clipped for local restaurants and attractions.
Other tips/items to include in your property that will set you apart:
- Fully stocked kitchen – utensils, cooking ware, coffee maker/Keurig, etc.
- Fully stocked bedrooms and bathrooms – linens, towels, soap, shampoo, etc.
- Unique items – Smart Home features (Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc.), DVD player, game system, outdoor grill, etc.
Tip #13: Plenty of Information
Have you ever tried to use a stranger’s shower and couldn’t figure it out?
Or checked into a hotel and you’re completely unaware of what entertainment lies in the college town?
You want to eliminate those issues for your guests by providing them with a guide to your house and your college town.
You can provide a binder with travel brochures and local attractions; menus for nearby takeout restaurants; information on the local transportation system; and how to use the different appliances and devices in your house.
Tip #14: Err on the Side of Overly Responsive
Make sure you are able to respond to questions and issues that arise during their stay quickly and efficiently, especially with the measures we discussed in tip #11.
Tip #15: Keep the Decor Simple but Unique
A clean, cozy space that’s free of clutter is all your guests really need to feel welcome in your home. No elaborate, fancy gifts necessary.
But feel free to play with unique decor in order to make for a more memorable, homey atmosphere. Antique stores offer great pieces for this very purpose.
Another nice touch is fresh flowers throughout the home.
And also decorating your space for the upcoming holidays so that people really feel at home in your rental is a great bonus that will ensure a great rental experience.
Tip #16: Give it a Homey Feel
Provide blankets by the couch, extra towels and washcloths, books to read, and games to play (including gaming systems). You want to make for the optimal experience and that means providing things they don’t even know they need. Anticipate those needs and assure you can meet them.
If you do plan on providing anything they are likely to use, we recommend creating an inventory for yourself to make sure everything is still there after they leave. We recommend giving them a copy of the inventory under the friendly heading of making sure nothing got accidentally packed away in their luggage.
CollegeWeekends.com connects alumni, fans, parents of athletes and other travelers with short-term lodging and vacation rentals in college towns.