Pros and Cons of Move-in Specials for My Rental Property 

In the midst of the slow season for rental properties, Tampa rental property owners often resort to move-in specials to help fill vacancies and ensure a steady cash flow. A move-in special is an offer extended to renters providing a discount or benefit as an incentive to sign a lease within a given time period. Move-in specials vary depending on the rental demand, unit type, and property owner’s preference. These offers aim to help your Tampa property stand out and can range from a free month of rent to a waived application fee.


When Should I Promote Move-in Specials for My Rental Property?

In a city like Tampa, you’ll find that move-in specials are common. With a massive influx of new construction, whether it be luxury apartments or single-family homes, rental property owners utilize move-in specials to help their property stand out.

Move-in specials are especially popular during the slow season, which typically falls between the summer months of May-August in Tampa. Florida typically attracts less people during the hot summer months, often making it more difficult to fill rental property vacancies. To avoid extended vacancy periods, summer is the most ideal time to promote move-in specials. Offering move-in specials during the slow months provides renters an incentive and a sense of urgency to move into a new unit. 

move-in specials for my tampa rental property

However, summer is not the only time where move-in specials prove beneficial. If your property is sitting on the market for longer than expected, offering a move-in special can speed up the process of filling your vacancy. As Tampa ranks 6th in the nation for homes built to rent, renters have a large selection of rental properties to choose from. It is essential to ensure that your property stands out amongst the competition— move-in specials are a fantastic way to do so.


First Month Free or Discounted

One of the most incentivizing move-in specials is offering a free, or discounted, first month of rent. As this is the most incentivizing move-in special, it is typically the most beneficial. In times of extended vacancies or slow rental demand, a rent discount is appealing to tenants because it allows them to save a lump sum of money, providing immediate financial relief. 

Oftentimes, a free or discounted month of rent will even be a renter’s deciding factor to choose your property. As renters often decide between a couple of properties, a free month of rent allows your property to stand out against other options where there is no discount offered. This gives you an advantage over the competition and helps significantly reduce vacancy periods. 


Reduced Security Deposit Move-in Special

A security deposit is a potentially refundable fee paid upon moving into a new rental property. Most landlords require a security deposit of the cost of one to two months of rent. The security deposit is collected and held by the landlord or Tampa property manager throughout the lease period. If all goes well and there is no damage to the home, the security deposit is then returned to the tenant. However, if there is damage to the property, the landlord has the right to keep a portion, or full amount, of the security deposit.

As a security deposit is paid in addition to the first month of rent, moving into a new unit can be quite the financial burden for renters. Reducing or offering no security deposit is a tactic used by landlords who want to lease their property fast. Offering a security deposit move-in special is enticing to renters who are looking to spend less on initial moving costs. In addition, websites like Zumper even allow renters to search for homes offering no security deposits with their “no security deposit” filter.


No Application Fee in Tampa

An application fee is a fee collected from all potential renters upon applying to the property. This fee typically covers income, credit history, and background checks. The cost of the application fee will vary depending on the property management company or landlord’s application process. 

For example, at The Listing Real Estate Management, we have an extensive tenant screening process to ensure the quality and reliability of the tenants we place. The application fee we collect covers crucial tenant screening processes including:

  • Credit history check
  • Debt to income ratio check
  • Nationwide eviction search
  • Background check
  • Income and employment verification 
  • Previous two years rental verification

Although the application fee is typically used to cover screening processes, a reduced or no application fee can be a strong choice as a move-in special. Tampa rental application fees typically range from $30-$70. In comparison to a free month of rent or a reduced security deposit, offering a free application allows property owners to attract renters without a significant financial loss.


Pros of Move-in Specials

Move-in specials are highly beneficial for rental property owners seeking low vacancy rates and a steady cash flow. Rental property owners may believe in the common misconception that offering move-in specials puts the property owner at a financial disadvantage, however, they help rental properties thrive.

The pros of move-in specials include: 


Low Vacancy Rates 

A vacancy is a rental property owner’s biggest expense and inconvenience. Move-in specials act as an incentive to renters and help attract tenants more quickly. Specials like a discount on rent or security deposit tend to scare rental property owners who do not want to lose out on that income. However, an attractive offer that fills your vacancy leads to continuous rental income instead of months of vacancy and lost rental payments. In layman’s terms, move-in specials help lease your property quicker—less vacancy time means less money lost overall.


Competitive Advantage Amongst Similar Tampa Rental Properties

Move-in specials make your property stand out against other similar properties in the area that are not offering any discounts or specials. Move-in specials spark interest amongst potential renters who may not have viewed your property otherwise. In many cases at The Listing Real Estate Management, our client’s properties with move-in specials attract a significant number of applicants and tend to rent faster once the special is offered. 


Quicker Cash Flow 

Move-in specials that offer renters financial relief allow tenants to move in quicker. A reduced security deposit decreases the upfront cost of moving and makes it easier for renters to do so. A discounted security deposit or month of rent allows property owners to start collecting rent quickly.


Cons of Move-in Specials 

Although I highly suggest offering move-in specials if you are having difficulty finding tenants, there are a few cons to consider before offering move-in specials. 


Reduced Initial Rental Property Income 

Offering a move-in special such as discounted rent or security deposit impacts your initial income as a rental property owner. If you offer a free month of rent, you will not begin to collect income until the next month.

Although this does deter some property owners from offering such discounts, one month of free rent or a discounted security deposit is a better alternative to multiple months of vacancy and lost rental income.


Risk of Attracting Lower Quality Tenants 

Move-in specials that provide financial relief may attract lower quality tenants with struggling financial situations or an unsteady income. To ensure the reliability and financial stability of your tenants, it is essential that you enforce a strict tenant screening process. Reliable tenants are the foundation of your rental property’s success and finding the right tenant should be a priority to all rental property owners.


Should I Offer Move-in Specials for my Tampa Rental Property? 

At The Listing Real Estate Management, our clients have a history of success with move-in specials. Move-in specials are highly beneficial during the slow season or any time your property is struggling to rent. 

If your property is struggling to rent, it is also crucial to evaluate all aspects of your listing. Is it priced right? How is the curb appeal? Are all appliances updated and running? These factors all contribute to whether or not your property will be rented quickly.

For some rental properties, move-in specials make all the difference. Navigating the rental process, ensuring your property is priced correctly, and promoting move-in specials can be difficult for property owners whether you’re a first time owner or a seasoned investor. At The Listing Real Estate Management, we make it easy for you. If you’re struggling to decide if move-in specials are right for your property, our expert property managers can help guide you towards the right decision. 

At The Listing, we always do what is right for your property and your success. If you are in need of guidance when it comes to move-in specials or renting your property, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today at The Listing Real Estate Management, your boutique property managers, to take the first step in generating wealth through your rental property! 

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