Landlord Basics: Showing Your Rental Property to Potential Tenants

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on May 29, 2010 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Tenant screening blogYou’ve advertised your vacant rental property, had some calls of interest, and pre-screened the callers to weed out those that aren’t best-fit tenants for you.

Now, you’re ready to show the property in person. Here are a few tips for a successful showing of your rental property:

If you can, schedule an open house to show your rental property to multiple applicants. Not only is it easier on you than running back and forth several times, it also helps create a sense of urgency in the potential tenants. When they see other interested parties, they might be more willing to sign a lease sooner, rather than later.

If you don’t have enough prospective tenants for an open house, you can still try to schedule appointments back-to back, to maximize your time. Of course, you can’t expect your potential tenants to alter their schedules to suit yours; but suggesting a time that works for you is fine—even if it just so happens to be right before or after another showing.

When setting up appointments, get a couple of ways to reach the prospective tenant. If the appointment is several days out, give them a call or drop an email a day ahead, or even the day of, to confirm the appointment. It’s better to take a few minutes to do so than to waste time on no-shows.

Be careful when showing your rental property. Setting up a time to meet a complete stranger is always risky; be smart, be alert, and if possible, don’t go alone—especially if the appointment is after dark or in a shaky neighborhood. You can even meet the prospective tenant in a public place first, then proceed to the rental property. Take precautions—don’t carry cash or credit cards, or wear expensive jewelry. If you ever feel unsafe during the showing, grab your cell phone, call a friend, and walk out.

Assuming most potential tenants mean you no harm, put on your best smile and be 100% professional when meeting them. Greet them warmly, shake their hand, and make eye contact. Introduce yourself and learn their name—even ask for the spelling if you’re unsure of how to pronounce it. Refer to the notes you took during your phone conversations, so the potential tenant feels important.

Don’t let the prospective tenant wander through your rental property on their own. This is a showing, so show it off! Point out the features and benefits of living there. Listen carefully and answer their questions thoroughly.

Pay attention to the first room the potential tenant heads for—this indicates which room is most important, so be sure to describe its best features. If they head for the kitchen, don’t steer them into the bedroom. Take as much time as they need to talk about the kitchen.

Make sure you don’t skip the garage, storage areas, and yard. Take them to the fitness and laundry rooms, and the children’s play area. Be sure that every potential tenant gets the full tour—you could be inadvertently sending discriminatory signals if you do not.

For vacant rental units, a few pieces of furniture helps potential tenants mentally place their own sofa, loveseat, or bedroom suit in the space—taking care of any concerns the apartment or living room is too small.

And encourage the potential tenant to submit a rental application before they leave. Gather all the information you need to run a tenant background check, and you may just have a new tenant for your vacant rental unit!

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