Sunday, January 11, 2015
Unlocked the Secrets of Advertising Our Properties
December was looking like a challenging month for me. Suddenly, I received notices from 4 tenants in early November they were moving on. I started advertising everywhere but the initial response was really slow. Up to now, the best results I ever got was from the newspaper classified ads. Those who called me are always property agents. I always wondered how they actually found the tenants.
I have also tried online. These are the few websites I used:
expatriates.com and expat-blog - expats tend to troll these websites. I used to find tenants here but always the low quality ones. I had a Canadian guy who stayed less than 3 months when he was supposed to be on a 12 month contract and when he moved out, my apartment was worse than a pig-sty. He even left rotting meat in the sink. But lately, these sites are now flooded with advertisments from property agents who posted "blank-ads". What I mean by "blank-ads" is they do not really represent any properties. The property descriptions are imaginary and the photographs are of other units. I think their strategy is to attract potential clients to call them and then the clients will be told the advertised units are already taken so they can propose something else to them.
I know property agents need to make a living. And it is always a chicken and egg situation for them. Without the clients, they got nothing to offer the owners for an inventory, and without any inventory, they got nothing to offer the clients and so on... but I think the "blank-ads" are flooding or rather spamming these 2 websites. As a result, genuine ads often drown in them and become non-visible.
lowyat forum, mudah.my and iBilik - these are popular local websites. While I've been successful finding tenants for my student rooms, there are no expats here. They are local sites, so expect local tenants and most of my properties target the expat market and budget. I have advertised some of my properties here but the response I got are from property agents and also local people asking for rediculously low rental.
airbnb - works for short term stays only and beware! most people who use airbnb want to pay cheap prices but they expect 5 star service. So don't touch it unless you are willing to kow-tow to them.
If you are happy to deal through property agents, do use the newspaper classifieds. While I found many property agents don't really add much value to the transaction, I have found a few good ones. And those properties I rent out through them are always to good quality tenants.
This time, I have tried something new and the success rate is fantastic. I just put up my banners on trees and lamp posts in the area of my properties. Within hours, I have calls from direct tenants. I managed to directly rent out all my 4 vacant properties within days. I think typically people who want to live around the area will look around the area. It is less troublesome to try and convince people why they should be renting in Bukit Ceylon or Bangsar or wherever. So it makes sense to advertise through banners in the area of the property. The only problem is the mess this creates to the environment. It is also not so legal... the city hall or utility company may trace my number and issue me a fine. But I still find this is the most successful way and my only regret is, I put up too many ads and can't remember where I put them so it is actually quite tedious to find and take them down now.