How to Set Up Showings for Rental Properties
When showing rental properties, you want to balance two different goals. You want to attract a large volume of possible renters – as many as possible, in fact. Yet you also want to attract qualified, reliable tenants who will pay the rent regularly and remain in your property for the entire duration of their leases.
Start by running an ad online, or in local newspapers or online bulletin boards. Don’t give away too much information in those ads – omit the address, the name of the apartment complex (if any), and other details. Simply focus on the positives in a simple ad like this:
“Beautiful freshly renovated two-bedroom garden apartment in kid-friendly complex. Walk to transportation and schools. Call 444-444-4444 to see.”
When people call you to respond to that ad, prescreen them by asking some important questions. How long have they been in their current dwelling? Why are they moving now? If they seem like solid tenants, invite them to an open house on the following weekend. Don’t announce the open house in newspaper ads unless you want a lot of unqualified potential renters traipsing through.
Showing your property in one open house saves you the inconvenience of making multiple trips to the site. In addition, the presence of several potential tenants can increase the eagerness of renters to decide quickly that they want to lease your property.
If possible, show your property when it is vacant and free of the previous tenants’ furniture. Doing so allows potential renters to get a better idea of what they are renting from you. You will also not need to worry that potential renters will damage or steal the possessions of your current tenants.
Have applications on hand and distribute them to people who want to rent. (In a future post, we’ll cover the details of what should be on that application.) Have them fill out these applications on the spot. Make sure, however, that they understand that filling out an application does not reserve the apartment. Explain that you and your attorney will be reviewing all applications, checking references and bank accounts, and taking all appropriate steps to screen applicants. Quickly review all forms as you get them and be sure that applicants have entered all the information required.
And remember – provide an application to all visitors who ask for one, regardless of their age, physical impairments, or any other factors. Giving applications to everyone helps assure that you will not be charged in a discrimination suit.
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