How to Secure Military Renters in Your Vacant Rental Properties, and Fast

Marketing your rental property involves more than just appealing advertising – it should work to attract your ideal tenant. Property managers with access to a military community can tap into a deep pool of qualified applicants which refreshes itself annually.

Why Military Tenants

For our service members and their families, the choice of where to live with each move is vital. Managers of property within 60 miles of a military installation can reach out to this desirable population who relocate frequently and are actively looking for a local resource in a new area. They have steady employment and are typically experienced renters (approximately 70% live off base). A bonus for property managers with multiple properties is the connected nature of the military community. A positive rental experience encourages the military tenant to spread the word among their word-of-mouth-dependent peers who are always moving into the area.

Fast Vacancy Turnaround

There are a number of online tools used by the military community to ease the effort involved in frequent moves. One of the most trusted is AHRN.com, which for over 10 years has served as an integral part of the PCS (Permanent Change of Station, or move) process for thousands of military members. With an email series based on the service member’s projected move date, AHRN.com is able to place well-matched rental properties directly into the inbox of a moving service member as they are making housing decisions. This process has contributed to an outstanding 65% of listings being rented in 3 weeks!

The PCS Timeline and Tips

For military families, PCSing is an extensive and time consuming process. Many may not have time to learn about their new area before moving in – and could be moving from across the country or around the globe.

Service members are notified of their impending change of station when they receive orders. While most orders provide 3-6 months notice, the military will occasionally expect service members to move in as little as 3 or 4 weeks. Most military families will begin researching new housing options once orders are received.

Service members, especially those with children, often prefer to locate housing before they arrive at the new duty station to expedite getting settled.  Others opt to locate housing after they arrive by spending a short time in temporary housing. These potential tenants are looking for opportunities to move in immediately, and have usually done considerable research on neighborhoods online beforehand.

Within a few days of arriving, service members will begin in processing to the installation and their unit. This means that many service members will have very little free time to explore their new community before starting back to work, which makes move-in packets that highlight area resources and shopping like utilities, grocery stores and local fun very appreciated.  

Military Tenants and Pets

Offering an attractive and effective pet policy is one way to reduce turnover, increase your pool of applicants and make your listing more visible. Listings with a pet policy (even if it’s individually approved) show up dramatically more in listing searches. With a significant number of military families either owning pets or wanting that option, a responsible pet policy is a smart tenant retention tool.

Although there is a degree of risk in allowing pets into a rental property, the benefits outweigh the risks when mitigated by a thorough vetting of applicants, clear and reasonable tenant expectations, established documentation and pet fees. Looking for more information on military-friendly pet policies? Consider encouraging tenants to create a Pet Resume.

Building Relationships

The transient nature of military life means that your new tenants are constantly having to look for new grocery stores, the best pizza delivery, and favorite parks. Establishing yourself as a helpful local resource can be a powerful marketing tool in this community that frequently uses social media and word of mouth to make decisions regarding which businesses to work with. A simple way to build relationships with home searching service members is to offer a “Welcome Kit” in your rental listing. Even those service members who do not rent from you are left with a positive impression that could lead to recommendations to other potential tenants!

If steady income, tight knit community ties, and regular influx of new potential tenants sounds like an attractive applicant pool, try leasing to a military family for your next vacancy!

About the Author: With a passion for community, military spouse Kristen Smith evolved a professional start in traditional marketing into a career in social media development and management.  For disclosure, Kristen Smith works with AHRN.com. 

Related Reading:

Understanding Military Tenants, the PCS Process & How to Minimize Military Rental Vacancies

Using Psychology to Hook Prospective Renters & Fill Vacancies Faster

How to Effectively Market and Rent to Millennials