Is Your Rent Too Low? Too High?

How much rent can I charge?  How much is too much?  Too little?  This is a time-worn question for every property owner.  First and foremost, this business is about producing income, but if you ask for too much in rent you won’t get any applicants.  The good news is that nationwide, rents are up almost 7% over last year at this time.  And even better news . . . this trend is likely to continue on through 2012.

According to an article that appeared in the Smart Money section of WSJ, vacancy rates are down.  Property managers are seeing an increase in applicants; people are moving from foreclosed properties, and people who had previously moved in with friends or relatives are now moving back out on their own.  Here’s the full article:

So this is all good news.  The rental market is strong, rents are skyrocketing.  But the question remains . . . how much is too much?  You can look for other “For Rent” signs in your area and find out what others are charging, and also check on Craig’s List for comps.

But here’s another tool to add to your list:  It’s a nifty little site.  You can type in the address/rent you’re planning to charge on the property in question and a map pops up, showing other rentals in the area and what the rents are on those properties.  Very cool.  And there’s a little meter off to the side that advises you on whether you may be charging too much or not enough.  (Although, you can certainly figure that out on your own from looking at the numbers shown.)

Hey, every little bit helps . . . use all of the tools available to you, do your research before assigning a rental amount to your property, and you’ll feel confident as you move forward.  Rents are rising . . . it’s time to take advantage of this market . . . woohoo!

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