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Marketing an Older Rental Property

241 views March 6, 2024 Karina Jugo 2

I live in an apartment in a subdivided house built in 1902. When I went to view the property, I immediately noticed that the building had seen some better days, but I was excited nonetheless. I grew up in a series of ramshackle farmhouses, and my grandma’s lovingly restored older house, so a unit in a building that’s obviously old makes me feel right at home.

The leasing agent who showed me my place did an okay job playing up the apartment’s character but seemed relieved at my evident enthusiasm for an older property. Marketing an older rental property (or a historic home if the phrase fits) doesn’t have to be an exercise in apology.

Effective Strategies for Marketing an Older Rental Property

When it comes to marketing an older rental property, there are unique challenges that property owners and managers must face. The key lies in highlighting the property’s strengths while addressing any limitations associated with its age. Let’s explore several effective strategies to market an older rental property successfully, leveraging its character and offering a competitive edge in the market.

1. Renovation and Maintenance

First things first—prioritize renovations and maintenance to enhance the property’s appeal. Focus on key areas such as the exterior façade, common spaces, and the overall cleanliness and functionality of the property. Invest in cost-effective upgrades, such as fresh paint, landscaping, and modern fixtures. By improving the property’s aesthetics and functionality, you can attract prospective tenants who appreciate the charm and character of older homes.

2. Dig Up Some History

Research the history of the home or neighborhood and have a short pitch prepared for potential residents. If the house is located in a more densely populated area, try to connect the history of the home with the history of the city or town. Telling a good story creates an emotional response in the listener and getting someone to connect with a space and imagine themselves living in it is the first step to a signed lease.

Older structures that have survived through the years often have a story to tell.

3. Focus on the Neighborhood

Many older properties are located in historic areas or neighborhoods that protect them from demolition. Over time, residential and commercial development often grows up around older homes and they become a part of a highly desirable mixed-use neighborhood. Highlight nearby attractions such as parks, restaurants, and other community spaces that are located near a historic property.

4. Emphasize Unique Features

Older rental properties often possess unique features that distinguish them from newer alternatives. Highlight these aspects in your marketing efforts. For instance, showcase vintage architecture, hardwood floors, ornate details, or spacious rooms that newer properties may lack. Emphasize the historical value, architectural significance, or the sense of nostalgia that comes with living in a well-preserved older property.

5. Accentuate Upgrades and Remodels

One of the biggest anxieties that comes with renting an older property is the fear that appliances and home systems won’t hold up to regular use. To quell this fear in potential renters, point out all the upgrades and regular maintenance in the home. Show that the appliances are new and well serviced. List dates and repairs made to major home systems like plumbing, heating, and cooling.

After appliance upgrades, an older property may become indistinguishable from a new one.

Knowing the concrete details of repairs can convince a potential tenant that they aren’t giving up any creature comforts to live in a house that’s been on the block for a few decades.

6. Set the Stage

Staging a home before showing it to a potential tenant is usually not as extravagant as showing a home to a potential buyer. Still the same,  putting a little extra effort into dressing up an older property for a rental showing is worth it.

For instance, you can choose window treatments in a style that fits the character of the home. When picking out light fixtures, take an extra minute to consider what they’ll look like in a house that was built before home electricity was common. Choose accents such as mailboxes, house numbers, and appliances that match the overall character of the home.

7. Tailor Marketing Messages

Craft compelling marketing messages that speak to your target audience’s preferences. Different demographics may be attracted to the charm of an older property for various reasons. Families, for example, may appreciate the larger living spaces and established neighborhoods. Young professionals, artists and musicians may be drawn to the uniqueness and character of an older property without being deterred by the physical realities of living there.

Customize your marketing approach to appeal to these specific audiences, showcasing how the property aligns with their lifestyle and needs.

marketing older property

For some tenants, the design of an older property will be a big plus, not a minus.

8. Leverage Digital Platforms

Utilize digital marketing platforms to reach a wider audience. Develop an engaging and user-friendly website that showcases professional photographs, virtual tours, and detailed property descriptions. Leverage social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to create a presence and engage with potential tenants. Online classifieds and rental platforms like Zillow, Trulia, or Craigslist can also expand your property’s visibility.

9. Target the Local Community

Engage with the local community to create a sense of connection and promote your property’s appeal. Participate in community events, sponsor local initiatives, or collaborate with nearby businesses to create cross-promotional opportunities. Consider hosting open houses or neighborhood gatherings to allow potential tenants to experience the unique charm and ambiance of the property firsthand.

10. Offer Competitive Pricing and Incentives

To attract tenants, provide competitive pricing that reflects the property’s age and condition. Conduct market research to determine fair rental rates for similar properties in the area. Additionally, consider offering incentives such as flexible lease terms, discounted initial rent, or value-added services like utilities, internet, or parking. These offerings can make your property more enticing compared to newer alternatives and offset any perceived drawbacks.

Final Thoughts

Marketing an older rental property requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that embraces its unique qualities. By renovating, emphasizing unique features, tailoring marketing messages, leveraging digital platforms, targeting the local community, and offering competitive pricing and incentives, property owners can successfully market their older rental properties to a diverse range of prospective tenants.

Remember, an older property’s character and charm can serve as strong selling points. Highlight all these to attract potential renters who appreciate the rich history and distinctive appeal your property has to offer. Be honest about its age but emphasize the benefits, such as solid construction, spaciousness, or desirable location.

Authors

  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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