When it comes to renting rooms out, there will come the time when you have to decide what you want to include in the rental of the room. You will have to keep in mind that you still want to be competitive in the your neighborhood and not over or under deliver when it comes to the facilities included in the rental. You will have to do your initial research of the neighborhood and the easiest way is via checking out rental ads on the Internet. Best way to do so is to use certain keywords like “room to let ” on Google.
One example that I have recently personally experienced took sometime for me to decide on as it meant forking out additional expense each month if I decided to proceed. It was to do with increasing the bandwidth of the Internet connection in the house. It was running on the minimum package of 384kbps unlimited package and I was paying RM68 per month. The upgrade option that I was pondering on was to upgrade to the latest technology of 5Mb Unifi that came with free channels. This upgrade was RM148 per month, which means additional RM80 each month for extra expenses. I was very skeptical as I was hesitant to pay more each month but I had many complaints on the speed of the Internet by the tenants of the house. The house had 10 rooms and it is situated in an area full of universities and very conveniently situated near a shopping mall and close to the train station and bus stops. This is the most popular house among the other 4 houses that I own. Finally I said to myself that I had to calculate the rentals that I was getting each month and deducting all my expenses for that house to see how much I was getting in net profit. I noticed that I could afford it but there should be a way on how to pass this cost to the tenants. I did not want to increase the rentals immediately as it was not the right thing to do but the option to increase the rental on the next tenancy renewal or new rentals would have an increase in the rental. If I made the calculation easy, RM80 divided by the 10 rooms was hardly even RM10 per room so all I had to do was to increase the rental by 10% and I would be already covering the cost of the increase of this expense and still have happy tenants. So was it worthwhile? Indeed it was. I knew I did the right thing when I was in the house and the telecommunication guys were doing the upgrade, my tenants actually ask me whether I was going to increase their rental because of the upgrade, and in my mind, “ka ching” all I could hear was more money is to come with this upgrade. So basically the more value I give to the house and the room, the more I can charge and the tenants will also be willing to pay for it.
There are many ways how you can rent out your room, one of the easiest way is to put up a sign on your front gate or somewhere where either walking or drive-by traffic can see it. Always drive by and walk by it to test the effectiveness of it as sometimes the location that it is placed may not be optimal for a potential tenant who is in the car or a person who is walking by the house.
The cost of to get a sign or a banner is very minimal and would be even lower price if you buy them in bulk. Trust me; there are many reasons why you want to do this, from tenants who do not like you to jealous competitors in the neighborhood who would love to trash your sign. I recently did 20 pieces of banners and it cost me about RM10 (USD3) a banner. You would need to specify to the printers that you would want to place it outdoors and therefore needing it to be waterproof material and of course punched holes at the four ends with rope to tie it to your gate, etc. Also a good point would be to inform them that you would need it in 2-3 colors to ensure that the cost is also reduced, remember that you never know when it is going to disappear or appear in your trash chopped up into pieces. The color is also important for the sign as you have to take in consideration that potential tenants driving around in a moving vehicle will have to see your sign and take notice while ensuring they do not knock anything along the way so it’s always important to have it in striking colors. The colors I use are red, white and black. Weather also does play a part as you have to ensure that it looks professional yet easy to read and legible to a large group of people. The person seeing the sign may be an elderly person who is looking for a room for her daughter or grand-daughter so size does matter in this case.
You would be surprised how something so simple can generate many leads to you. You would want to place basic important information like your phone number, a website and possibly specify what you are looking for in a tenant very briefly, ie. Students only. You may want to leave out your name as I find that it is not vital to place your name on the sign as potential tenants will call anyway if they are interested and placing your name may sometimes reduce leads calling in. You can always do a split test to test it out if you really want to find out the differences.