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Your goal as a real estate professional is to help your clients through the buying or selling process and to make money of course. But what if there was a way to get cash in your pocket now AND set yourself up for even more in the future? Getting involved rental properties may not yield the same return as the commission from a sale, but getting your “foot in the door” with these future buyers can set you up for serious success in the future and here’s why.

According to Freddie Mac, the single-family rental market has expanded 16 percent (about 3 million units) since 2007. Now, around 11 million single-family homes across the country are now occupied by renters. What does this mean for you? The single family rental market tends to have an information gap, so as a smart agent you can facilitate a connection between renters and landlords. Not only will you position yourself as a valuable resource to both the landlord and tenant, but you’re also creating a relationship that can later convert to your core business of buying and selling.

One of the reasons why the rental market is booming is that Millennials are finally leaving the comfort of their parents’ home, but not all of them have intentions to buy a home right away. This is why the multi-family industry is booming. However, a lot of these soon-to-be buyers are interested in residential rentals because they want to get a sneak peak at what it’s like to have their own home.

While it makes sense to focus your efforts on the more short-term and lucrative returns from working with buyers or sellers, it’s important to keep in mind that renters offer a large target market, most of whom will likely eventually turn into buyers. In fact, a study by ORC International found that more than half of all renters plan to buy in the next 5 years!

When the time comes for these renters to buy a house, odds are they’ll want to work with the same real estate professional that they already have an existing relationship with.  This is why it’s important that you stay connected with them through their rental phase, while also finding ways to attract new renters to work with. But the question is, how will you connect with these future buyers?

Well, if you already have a rental inventory then the answer to this is simple; it’s all about your advertising strategy. This is where comes into play, as there has been nearly a twenty percent increase in consumers searching for single-family homes to rent with forty percent of this traffic coming from mobile devices.

It’s become clear that rentals are a great way to start putting more dollars in your pocket in 2015. If you establish a solid presence in your local market today, you’ll without a doubt be setting yourself up for success in the future. If you’re looking for more tips on how to ramp up your rental strategy, take a look at “3 Tips for a Rockin’ Rental Portfolio.”