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Understanding and preparing for the January rental season

Tue December 20, 2016

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January is traditionally something of a quiet month in terms of buying and selling real estate, but that doesn't mean that the entire property market is quiet. Oh no, the start of the year can be a hectic time, especially if you're a landlord looking to fill vacancies and find the perfect tenants. In fact, January through February is perhaps the busiest time of year for renting, and in this article, we'll take a closer look at why this is and how investment property owners can take full advantage of the season. 

Many students return home over their lengthy holiday break, and in turn this results in higher numbers of vacancies.

The January rental market

While every tenant is different, a large percentage of Australian renters are tertiary students. This demographic are typically working part time and buying a property isn't necessarily at the top of their to-do list. Even so, they still need somewhere to live, and make up a sizeable proportion of tenants. This is particularly true in Sydney, where there are dozens of educational institutions with large student bodies. 

Students can make great tenants, but there is a phenomenon that takes place towards the end of each semester. Once exams are over, many students return home over their lengthy holiday break, and in turn this results in higher numbers of vacancies from late October through to early January. While this exodus can be a pain for landlords, it does come with an upside, and that is the huge volume of new or returning students that arrive in January. As a result, more people are looking for rental properties than at almost any other time of the year. 

Benefits of the busy season

So, why are lots of keen tenants good for landlords? Well first and foremost, higher demand equals a greater chance of getting the most rent possible and locking a lease in for at least a year. The benefits of January aren't just financial though. The busy season also gives landlords far more choice over who is going to live in their house. Unlike other times of the year when there may be limited choice, the sheer volume of people looking at the start of the year makes it far more likely that you'll find a group that you can be confident will take good care of your property. 

More people are looking for rental properties in January than at other times of the year. More people are looking for rental properties in January than at other times of the year.

If you don't want to rent to students for whatever reason, the January through February period also brings a decent amount of other tenants too. A lot of people make big life choices over the Christmas and new year break, whether that be changing cities, getting a new job or simply moving to a different suburb. As a result, there's plenty of tenant choice even if you don't like the idea of a bunch of 18-year-olds living in your investment. 

No matter the scenario, the basics of preparing to show a property all apply.

Preparing for January

Many landlords like to organise leases that run through to January, minimising their chances of being left without a tenant during drier times of the year. If this isn't feasible, it might be worth looking into a short-term lease to tide you over until January when you'll have more choice and perhaps be able to command a higher rent. 

No matter the scenario, the basics of preparing to show a property all apply, and now is the time that you should be thinking about repairs and fresh coats of paint. It might also be worth talking to your current tenants early to find out exactly what their plans are. After all, you don't want to be caught short and miss out on a replacement tenant by not being prepared for January. 

To find out more about making the most of your rental property, contact Laing+Simmons today.

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