Whether you are a novice landlord or one that has shown your vacant rental properties dozens of times, you will never get away from the fact that you will have to show your rental property to interested prospective tenants. While a lot of emphasis is placed on choosing a tenant from an applicant pool, in order to do that you must do everything you can to attract a big applicant pool. The more applicants you have, the better chance you have in finding the best tenants.
Sidenote: This is just a sliver of the tenant screening process. Learn about private showings vs. open houses as part of tenant screening tutorial.
How to Show an Apartment
Aside from the initial phone conversation, meeting prospective tenants at the vacant rental property is the best way for both parties to size each other up. It’s also your chance to really show off your property and help convince the most qualified applicants that this is where they need to be.
It’s helpful to think of showing a vacant rental property as a business sales meeting. Sure, you aren’t in the boardroom at a conference table, but the idea of presenting your “product” in a positive way to entice the other party to “buy” is the same. The idea of treating this encounter as one business person to another can help you focus in on what you really need to do and where to put your time and talents in order to give the best impression of yourself and your rental property.
It goes without saying that your rental property needs to be in the best and cleanest condition it can possibly be in. Assuming you’ve taken care of paint, cleaning, maintenance and all the nitty-gritty details that go into getting the place ready for new tenants, it’s time to focus on your salesmanship.
5 Tips for Showing an Apartment
Here are 5 winning tips that you can employ when it comes to showing your vacant rental property:
Tip #1. Dress for Success
You are a business owner and you need to dress like one. Now, that doesn’t mean an expensive pantsuit or shirt and tie, although that can give a favorable impression and show that you do mean business. As long as you ensure that you are dressed in a clean and neat manner, and are well-groomed, you will definitely give a great first impression to your prospective tenants. Check your personal hygiene, like your nose, your breath and your teeth, just as you would for a job interview because in essence, that’s what this is.
The visitors are checking you out to see if you seem like a reasonable, businesslike landlord they would want to deal with. Give them the best version of yourself and you’ll find that like-minded people will be drawn to you.
Tip #2. Smile and Greet
Even though showing your rental property is a serious part of filling a vacancy, you must make sure you are putting everyone at ease with your demeanor. Feeling relaxed around strangers can be difficult for those who are not used to meeting formally and a forced smile and stiff personality may be a turn-off for those perfect applicants.
Treat everyone like they are exactly the tenant you are looking for, especially by using their name in your conversations and making them feel comfortable and welcome. Imagine you are a worker in a shop who must greet customers as they enter and help them find what they want. Keep in mind that at this moment in time, they could be just what you are looking for.
Tip #3. Provide Information
You’ll definitely impress visitors to your property when you have a convenient information packet to hand them. It won’t take long to create documents that look professional and have exactly what you want visitors to remember. Include a rental property information sheet that has a photo of the place, the square footage, the monthly rent and security deposit amounts, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and list any extra features like free cable. Make sure you include your contact information loud and clear on this page.
Other items you can include in the information packet might be a printout of area schools, a list of nearby attractions or features like museums or bike trails, and proximity to major roads for commuting. Put all this in a new folder or staple it neatly.
Tip #4. Leave Them Alone
After you’ve given the tour and answer questions and things seem to be wrapping up, give the visitors some time alone in the rental unit. This gives them a chance to speak frankly with each other if it is a couple, family or potential roommates. If the visitor is a single person, being alone for a few minutes allows them to collect their thoughts and formulate more questions for you.
Above all, you want the visitors to envision themselves living in the unit, so giving them a few minutes to visualize this can be very powerful. Simply say that you want to give them a few minutes to look around on their own and that you’ll be in the front room or right outside when they are ready to ask any more questions. It’s a nice technique that walks the fine line between being too pushy and not getting involved.
Tip #5. Do It All Over Again
You won’t know which visitors will be the ones to apply, and even then you won’t know whether you like what you find once you run the background check. It bears repeating: Treat every visitor as if they are the ideal tenant. That means keeping the same standards of dress and hygiene, the same level of enthusiasm, and spending the same amount of time with them on the tour.
While it can be hard to get psyched up for each showing, take care of yourself and don’t stress out. It can be really draining to be “on” in front of strangers frequently, but it’s worth it to ensure that the quest to find the ideal tenants will be a success.
The way you present yourself and your rental property during an open house visit is probably the single most impactful thing you can do to turn curious visitors into committed applicants. Don’t lose those ideal tenants by dropping the ball during the visit.
Have you discovered any tips or techniques that help you out when showing a rental property to visitors? Please share this article and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for the suggestion of giving them time to be alone in the home. When showing our house, I like to let the perspective tenant get to know me and feel assured that we will be good landlords. However, there’s a fine line between overbearing and attentive. Great idea to just tell them that I’m going to step outside to give them some time alone and to come get me when they are ready.
I agree Wendy, I think Jennifer nailed it. I’m guilty of smothering applicants with the tour, so this is a nice reminder to give people space and let them be comfortable.