How to Hold an Open House for a Rental Property

Apartment Open House For Renters: Is It Worth Your Time?

When it’s time to market your property, the most important thing is to be sure that you are putting your time, money, and energy into the right types of advertisement. There aren’t many good reasons to advertise at a high school if you’re hoping to find senior renters, after all!

Marketing rental properties is very different from marketing properties that are on the market for sale. In the rental industry, tactics for marketing usually involve a lot of pictures, catchy descriptions, and as much information as you can possibly fit in your listing! 

Some property owners, however, choose to do more than just post their listings. Many run apartment open house tours to show renters exactly what it could be like to live at the property. This tactic, however, is highly debated by property owners. Some feel it’s a complete waste; others would never skip it.

You should never use a specific marketing tactic just because another homeowner told you to. While it’s good to learn from the experiences of others, some situations will be very different for you than they would be for someone else.

Is doing an open house for a rental property a good choice or not? It will be up to you to determine the answer to that question for your property, but we can help you learn more about the pros and cons of this method so that you can make your final judgment with confidence.

A Table Of Contents For Apartment Open House Information

What Is An Open House?

What Is An Open House?

An open house is when the homeowners allow potential buyers or renters to visit a property to see what it looks like firsthand. Rather than only looking at the pictures on a screen, visitors can see the home for what it really is.

Open houses are one of the most common marketing methods used in the buying and selling property industry. While they are not unheard of in the rental industry, they are certainly a less commonly used method.

During an open house, potential renters can ask any questions they have, see the space, and get a good idea of where exactly their lives would be located if they decide to rent the property.

Landlords can get a sense for what type of clientele are interested in their properties and a number of other interesting factors that we will discuss in more depth in the next section!

Why Do People Hold A Rental Open House?

As this type of open house event is not as well-known, you might be wondering why landlords would even consider putting time into this type of property showing. Believe it or not, there are a good number of positives to putting this type of event together!

Creates Buzz

Some landlords love how an open house can create a lot of activity and buzz at a rental property. In addition to this drumming up interest in a unique way, a well-attended open house will also show renters that the property is desirable.

Renters make faster choices about properties that seem like that could disappear at any moment, so this momentum will help you get things rented as soon as possible.

Meet The Potential Tenants

We think that the most significant benefit of holding an apartment open house is that you will get the opportunity to meet some potential tenants face-to-face before setting up individual private showings. Meeting a larger number of tenants at one time saves you time as you will not need to go through as many showings to get impressions of your renter options.

Renters want to see your property; why wouldn’t you show it to them? In fact, it’s been shown that 60% of renters find it to be very important to be able to see a property before they enter into serious conversations about renting it.

In a way, an open house could be part of the rental tenant screening process in the same way that you would use the private showing to get a better idea of who the renters are as people. Plus, you’ll be meeting tons of potential tenants who might be interested in another one of your rentals if they don’t love this one.

Improve Your Marketing

After holding an open house, you will likely be able to tell very quickly whether or not you were advertising to the right crowd. If you felt that your property most appeals to young couples but only saw large families at your showing, there is a breakdown somewhere in your strategy.

Pay close attention to who comes to the open house. Then, use this information to change your focus to ensure that you can get the best renters for your property!

Learn What Potential Tenants Want

This bonus is especially great for new landlords who are still becoming familiar with the area that they are working in. If you aren’t sure what local renters are looking for, keep track of the types of questions and comments made during the open house.

By studying these conversations, you’ll be able to improve your marketing and answers for the next round.

How To Hold An Open House For Rental Property

How To Hold An Open House For Rental Property

To decide whether or not you want to hold a rental open house, it may be beneficial for you to learn more about how that process would actually work. Overall, it’s not much different from an individual showing, but you will need to be prepared to be dealing with more people at a time.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Decide how you will show renters the property. Will you walk groups through each room and point out key features while answering questions? Would you prefer to let them walk around on their own time and be available for questions in a central location? You could use either tactic, but you should decide what you are going to do before the open house.

Then, prepare answers to the questions that you anticipate renters in your area having:

  • rent amount
  • average utility costs
  • included utilities
  • included appliances and furniture
  • lease basics
  • pet rules
  • smoking rules
  • local amenities such as schools and parks

Finally, think about what types of negotiations you are willing to make, if any. Would you allow pets to the right tenant? Are there any areas where smoking is okay? Knowing your limits and the information listed above in advance will help you ensure that you aren’t leaving prospective tenants with more questions than answers!

Step 2: Advertise

Once you set your plan for the event, it’s time to advertise! In the same way that you would want to put your listing in the right places for the types of tenants that you’re hoping to find, you will want to make sure that you advertise your open house in those locations, too.

Put up signs, take out ads in the local newspaper and online, and post in all relevant renter or landlord groups. Finally, get on the ground and put up flyers with the relevant information everywhere that you can think of!

Potential renters will be keeping their eyes peeled for this type of information, so putting it up in these types of locations will ensure that you get a good turnout.

Step 3: Run The Open House

Before the open house, make sure that the rental property is clean and organized. If possible, print out some rental applications that interested tenants can take with them or fill out on the spot. Alternatively, give them a business card that includes a link to where they can apply online.

During the open house, ask the visiting tenants some questions that will help you get to know them beyond the information on their rental application. Remember, you cannot ask about any protected classes such as race, religion, familial status, and more as it is illegal to deny an application based on these factors.

Answer any questions that the tenant has, and be sure to give them your contact information before they leave so that they can contact you if they have any further problems or questions that they would like your assistance with.

When To Hold An Apartment Open House

While we have talked about why some people have open houses, we haven’t talked about when it is most important to have an open house. There are a few situations during which holding an open house makes the most sense.

Situation 1: You Have Limited Time

If you are getting a decent bit of interest in your property but don’t have a lot of time to do private showings, you could set up a single open house time and let all applicants know that there will be an open house for them to attend. This saves you time and still gives tenants the chance to ask questions and see the property.

Situation 2: You Manage A Building

Do you have multiple units in a building or complex that need to be rented out? Do you manage townhomes and have upcoming vacancies? If so, running an open house makes sense because you need to be able to find as many qualified tenants as possible.

By running an open house at your complex, you can locate these tenants efficiently.

When An Apartment Open House Is A NO!

Of course, there are times when having an open house to attract potential renters to a rental property is not going to be the best choice. If your property or situation fits into any of the following situations, think carefully about whether or not you want to hold an open house. Should you decide to hold one, be sure to take all the necessary precautions.

Security & Safety

If you have a high-value rental property or there are many expensive belongings at the property, consider if holding an open house runs the risk of attracting thieves to steal during the open house or to case the location for later. Homeowners that already have a strong security system in place will not need to worry about this as much.

Current Tenants

If you currently have tenants living in the property with all of their belongings, skip the open house. While setting up private showings by informing the tenant as outlined in your lease agreement is acceptable, setting up an open house will likely be considered a lease violation. Even if it is not, it’s just a big inconvenience to all parties!

Potential renters want to see the property for what it could be, not for what it is while occupied by other tenants. Wait to schedule an open house until you can do so with an unoccupied property.

Of course, there are also a few pros to doing a private showing when a home is occupied as long as you do these showings with grace. Holding a large open house, however, is likely to cause more grief than it is worth.

The Results

It’s hard to say whether or not holding an open house will truly make a difference in how fast or effectively you rent out a property or unit. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that open houses are a waste of time while other landlords would never skip the opportunity to hold an open house event.

As such, the results of holding this type of event are in no way guaranteed. Keep that in mind when you are making your decision about whether or not an open house showing is right for your current needs.

To Open House Or Not: That Is The Question

The question is whether or not you should hold a rental open house, and only you have the answer! Consider that both private showings and open houses have pros and cons.

Individual showings are great in hot markets where it is easy to find high-quality potential tenants, but rental open houses stand stronger when you want to be able to show the property fewer times since more potential tenants can see the property in a single go.

Consider the following:

  • Do you prefer to talk to potential tenants individually or is a group setting okay for you?
  • How many tenants do you hope to show the property to before choosing a renter?
  • Is the property currently occupied?

In our opinion, a healthy blend of both options is the right choice! Don’t plan an open house right away, but keep the idea in mind. If you don’t get many rental applications or much interest at first, start advertising an open house to widen the range of potential tenants that see your property. Then, narrow down your prospective tenant list via the apartment open house.