Finding market rent: an art, not a science - MoneySense

Finding market rent: an art, not a science

Spending hours online, researching market rent, put more than $4,000 in my pocket.

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I confess: Last night I spent hours viewing apartments online—and I’m not even looking for a place to live.

As a new landlord I was doing a bit (ok, a lot!) of research on what apartments in the area are currently offering and charging. And I’m nervous. Price the unit too low and I leave money on the table. Price the unit too high and, worst-case scenario, it sits vacant costing us money.

So I spent the better part of my Tuesday night clicking each apartment-for-rent ad and filling in my comparison spreadsheet. And yes, I used an Excel spreadsheet. I recorded how many 2-bedroom units were in my area, the asking rent, what was included and whether or not there were restrictions. The results were surprising.

Prior to my research, I would’ve under-priced our rental unit—estimating a potential loss of $4,200 in rental income each year. That’s significant and a reminder that in real estate: it’s the details that count.

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