Though real estate professionals tend to focus on serving home buyers and sellers, there may be more business opportunity in the rental market amid tight For Sale inventory.

When Ricardo Suber earned his real estate license in summer 2022, the pandemic-fueled homebuying boom was just starting to lose steam. The rental market, benefiting from dejected would-be buyers who were priced out of homeownership, was faring much better. Suber, who lived and worked in Miami at the time, started exploring whether rental transactions could help him grow his business while the purchase market worked through a correction.

But his strategy was never to become a full-time rental agent or simply capitalize on the strength of the leasing market. “Rentals are a powerful way of building lasting relationships with clients who may eventually become buyers down the road,” explains Suber, an agent with eXp Realty who has since moved to San Francisco.

It’s a business philosophy that may work well right now for many real estate professionals who are struggling to close sales. While homebuying transactions fall amid worsening affordability, housing opportunity in the rental market is growing as rents moderate and multifamily construction increases, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. You can shore up future business from home buyers by serving their needs as renters now. And with challenges in the For Sale market expected to continue for the foreseeable future, practitioners have a large window to implement this marketing tactic.

Suber’s efforts solidified when he discovered a benefit of his NAR membership that helped him connect with renters and begin establishing trust. Rental Beast, an NAR REALTOR Benefits® partner, provided Suber with an exclusive rental listings platform and FCRA-compliant rental application and tenant screening tools. Rental Beast University, a free add-on with courses and workshops to convert renters to home buyers, also helped him hone his marketing strategy.

“Rental Beast gave me access to rental listings outside of the MLS, plus exclusive training and hands-on coaching from rental experts,” Suber says. “The success management team helped me get acclimated with the platform and provided leads that were more tailored to my area.” Rental Beast provided him with approximately 30,000 listings of which 13,000 were unique to Rental Beast in South Florida alone. 

Building Up a Client Base: ‘Everyone is a Lead’

Thousands of REALTORS® are active users on Rental Beast, and that number is growing, according to founder and CEO Ishay Grinberg. “A lot of real estate professionals are recognizing that they may no longer be able to rely on a steady stream of buyers and sellers in this market,” says Grinberg, who has worked as an agent, broker, developer, property manager and landlord. “Rentals are becoming an integral part of a real estate agent’s business strategy and longevity in this industry, allowing them to weather up or down cycles. We’re seeing a lot more interest in our tools.”

Get exclusive, qualified rental leads from Rental Beast, an NAR REALTOR Benefits® partner.

While Suber uses Rental Beast to nurture long-term relationships with renters, it also helps him generate rental business to fill in the gaps between buying clients. He connected with a rental client through the platform who happened to be in the real estate business. “Within 24 hours, I showed him three places,” Suber recalls. “On the third visit, he said, ‘This is it.’ He completed his rental application that day.” Now Suber is working with this client on potential real estate investment opportunities.

While Rental Beast has led to new business for Suber, he says the real impact has been the expansion of his scope of services. “I am able to market this as a service I offer,” he adds. “I can share that I have access to properties for sale and access to a wide array of rental listings. Rental Beast has given me a value-add for my business because not everyone is ready to buy a home, but everyone needs somewhere to live. It enables everyone to be a lead source, empowering me to add value to both renters and buyers.”

Consider how shortages of homes for sale might impact your business over the next year or two, and think about the rental opportunities in your market. Even though there are positive homebuying expectations for 2024, it’s likely that you’ll need to secure other sources of business. NAR Deputy Chief Economist Jessica Lautz says there are still headwinds in the market: “While more buyers are expected to enter the market in spring as mortgage interest rates decline, bidding wars could intensify in a limited housing inventory environment. These bidding wars are likely to push home prices up in some areas. Even last year, as mortgage interest rates were higher and there were fewer buyers, the most difficult task for home buyers was finding the right home.”

This is why Suber is preparing his business. “You have to get creative in this market,” he says. “To succeed in this industry, agents need a way of getting qualified leads on a consistent basis.”


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