Property showings are a must in the rental business.
For starters, a showing is your first chance as a landlord to meet prospective tenants. You get to walk prospective tenants through the unit, give them all the information they might need, and answer any of their questions. You can also use the interaction to get a feel for what kind of a renter someone might be.
Part of the reason showings are critical is that most tenants won’t sign a lease without physically seeing the property first. For this reason, it’s essential to make the showing a great experience. A great showing will increase the likelihood that renters will apply for the unit (and you’ll find a high-quality tenant in the process).
With that being said, what are some specific things you can do to ensure a great experience? Here’s an eight-step process you can follow to ensure an excellent property showing:
There are two kinds of property showings: individual showings and open houses.
Individual showings are one-on-one tours that you give prospective tenants who reach out to you about a property. Because prospective tenants are the ones reaching out to schedule the tour, they’re usually (at least somewhat) interested in signing a lease.
Open houses, on the other hand, are open to anyone who wants to walk through the property. While an open house will bring a larger pool of prospective tenants into the unit, it’s more prone to bringing in people with no real intention of signing a lease.
When it comes to individual showings, the scheduling process is fairly straightforward. After a prospective tenant reaches out, you need to coordinate your availability with them to find a time that works for both of you. You must ensure that you give yourself enough time to show the entire unit and answer any questions the prospective tenant might have.
Open houses are more effective the more prospective tenants you can attract. As such, you should schedule an open house at a time that would work best for most people. While nobody wants to work on weekends, scheduling an open house on a weekend afternoon will maximize your chances of getting a good turnout. In our experience, an open house should last around two hours.
This can get tricky when a tenant occupies a unit you’re trying to show. Whether it’s an individual showing or an open house, most states have laws on how much notice you must give the tenant ahead of time.
You can’t just spring a showing on a tenant last second, so make sure you review your state’s laws to see how much time in advance you need to alert your tenant. Giving tenants plenty of time to prepare also allows them to tidy up the space and make plans to be out of the unit.
Make sure that you arrive at the showing early to greet prospective tenants when they arrive. Showing up late will give off a bad impression. You don’t want to make a bad impression before a prospective tenant even has a chance to see the unit. You should also ensure that you’re dressed professionally to show prospective tenants that you value their interest in your property.
It’s important to be personable. Greeting prospective tenants with a smile and calling them by their first name will make them feel welcome. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to individualize your showings to show the prospective tenants that you care. An easy way to do so is to ask them friendly questions about themselves to get to know them better.
You should make a handout with detailed information about your unit and give it to prospective tenants at the beginning of the showing. While you should try to hit all this information on your showing, a handout will allow prospective tenants to reference information they may have forgotten or that you may have skipped.
When showing prospective tenants a property, they expect you to be an expert. Ensure you’re familiar with all the information about the property and neighborhood that a prospective tenant might ask you during a showing.
Popular questions include:
Be prepared with answers ahead of time if you’re asked any of these questions during a showing.
Although a showing consists of you leading prospective tenants through a unit, you want to ensure you give them some time and space.
Give them space to view the unit at their own pace, but make sure to stay close enough to answer whatever questions they might have. However, you don’t want to let them stray too far because that can pose a risk of theft. Be present and attentive without coming across as overbearing.
While you can use property management software to conduct thorough tenant screening after a prospective tenant has applied to your property (or hire a professional property manager instead), it’s essential to pre-screen prospective tenants when you meet them in person.
You should consider these questions when assessing a prospective tenant’s character.
You can also ask prospective tenants relevant questions at the showing, such as:
You don’t want to ask these questions in a way that seems like an interrogation. Bring them up casually and organically.
Once the showing is over, give prospective tenants all the forms and information they’ll need to submit an application. This will likely include a rental application sheet and forms for background checks and credit report authorization.
Providing prospective tenants with these resources will increase the likelihood that they’ll apply for your property. And it will not only make the application process more convenient for them, but it’ll also expedite the tenant screening and approval process for you.
It’s a good idea to provide prospective tenants with a brochure containing information and pictures of the unit. This will give them something to remember the property by. You shouldn’t spend too much money on these brochures, but making them look nice will leave your prospective tenants with a good impression of the property.
Property showings are critical experiences for prospective tenants when considering when to apply for your unit. As a result, you want to ensure that your showings are as good as they can possibly be.
Using showings as an opportunity to get a feel for prospective tenants and to show them that you care about their interest in your property will allow you to get the most out of your rental showings and place high-quality tenants in your property.
Lucas is a Content Strategist for Evernest. You can find Lucas drinking coffee or eating tacos when he isn’t doing research or creating content. Lucas is a North Dakotan living in Austin, TX, with his wife and daughter.