11 Apartment Showing Tips to Attract Quality Tenants
The best way to attract a quality tenant at your showing is by representing yourself as a high-quality landlord. Demonstrating your organizational skills, providing clear information, and presenting a clean and well-cared-for property will show potential tenants that you are a landlord they want to rent from. This, of course, helps you achieve a better and larger pool of applicants to choose from. Following the 11 tips below will not only help you attract tenants, but will also make the showing process easier and less stressful.
1) Write a Thorough Listing
The first step in attracting quality tenants at your showing is actually getting them to a showing. You need a catchy, well-written, and descriptive listing with great photos to impress quality renters and get them interested in viewing your property. Of course, make sure directions to your property are perfectly clear.
2) Schedule Individual Property Showings
Landlords commonly believe that scheduling an open house is the best way to market their unit and save time. However, open houses end up hurting your rental process, not helping it. When you schedule a single time slot for an open house, you automatically disqualify potential tenants who cannot make it to the showing. Open houses also eliminate the mentality of screening tenants based on who is most interested and responsible. If a tenant reaches out for a showing and schedules it right away, then that is a sign that he or she is interested and responsible.
Individual rental property showings allow you to get to know a prospective tenant, ask the right questions, and notice red flags. The smartest way to find quality tenants is to meet them individually at a showing.
For more reasons, check out 7 reasons why an open house is a waste of time.
3) Consider Timing
Think of the property’s best features. Is there great natural light, a spacious yard, city skyline views? Schedule your showing for the time of day when the property’s best selling points will stand out. If that’s daylight, stick to the weekend; for evening or night showings, choose a weeknight. Check if there is any construction or renovation planned in the area or building and make sure to avoid those times. Be mindful of maintenance and cleaning schedules; if you know building common areas are vacuumed on Tuesdays, consider Tuesday evening for your showing.
4) Have All Relevant Paperwork Handy
We highly recommend using online applications and leases, so it is not necessary to worry about having applications filled out or leases signed at a showing. You absolutely should still have a copy (whether printed or pulled up on a tablet or smartphone) of all application, background and credit check, and lease forms handy at the showing. Savvy tenants may ask specifically about the application or lease protocol. You want to be prepared to answer any questions and show them the paperwork that will be expected of them. This gives you a chance to address any questions, concerns, or objections to your application or lease terms up front and shows tenants you are prepared and on top of things.
5) Create Handouts
Demonstrate how organized you are by giving prospective tenants all pertinent facts of your rental property on a handout. Having a thorough handout means tenants have fewer questions and allows you to give them more personal space during the showing- less stress for you, and more comfortable for them.
Handouts provide potential renters a solid take-home piece so they don’t forget the important details. Your handout should contain all relevant information about your property: lease start date, move-in and move-out fees, security and pet deposits, building rules and policies, and a clear list of what is included in rent. Be detailed: “Comcast Digital Starter package included” is better than “rent includes basic cable.” Your handout should be thorough enough that prospective tenants are ready to apply as soon as they’ve left the showing, with no lingering questions. Make sure to have at least two copies for every appointment.
6) Know All Area Amenities
Even if you or your previous tenants didn’t have pets, children or cars, future potential tenants might. Research all area amenities so you are not caught off-guard by questions. Quality tenants will definitely be turned off by a landlord who doesn’t have a solid understanding of the neighborhood.
Consider supplemental handouts for people with pets (dog parks, local vets, pet stores, dog walking services), children (local schools, playgrounds, parks, daycares), cars (parking options, costs, and phone numbers), and bicycles. Even if you do not provide written information, you should be able to speak intelligently about local amenities.
7) Decide on Tenant Criteria Beforehand
Quality tenants will expect you to know what you’re looking for in a renter at the showing. Don’t be caught unprepared for questions about smoking, pets, co-signers, minimum income or credit, etc. You need to think through all of your tenant criteria before the showing and know what you will and will not accept. Having your criteria laid out, ideally with any restrictions in writing on your handouts, will also help protect you from accusations of discrimination. Don’t be afraid to come off as picky by having some restrictions, such as no smokers or minimum credit- quality tenants will be impressed by a landlord with standards.
8) Keep a Flexible Schedule
When you’re renting your rental property and scheduling property showings, you need to be flexible with tenants about meeting them. Most tenants will only be able to see the property after work hours or on the weekend. While your schedule should be flexible in order to meet people, you should not be flexible about people being late. It’s a red flag if someone “forgets” about the showing. Re-scheduling with people and being over accommodating is not good for your tenant screening process.
9) Communicate with Current Tenants
Showings require additional planning and preparation if the apartment is currently occupied. Discuss the potential showing times with the tenants at least a week in advance. The most important thing is to get them out! Absolutely do not allow current tenants to stay home during any showings- it will make prospective tenants uncomfortable and rush through, instead of taking their time to really appreciate your space.
Give plenty of notice and be respectful of the tenant’s schedule and plans. It’s better for both you and the tenant to avoid any showings while your tenants have out-of-town guests or the day after hosting a party. Tell your tenants to lock up any valuables or take them with when they step out- no loose cash, tablets, laptops, or expensive jewelry. Pets should be removed or in a locked crate. Quality tenants will be turned off by a messy, unkempt apartment, so ask your current tenants kindly to clean up. Set the expectation that you may tidy the apartment (make their beds, use their vacuum) and that potential tenants will be looking inside closets and cabinets.
It’s a great idea to buy them a gift card to a local restaurant to go out for a meal during the showing; not only does this accomplish the goal of getting them out, but your generosity may be repaid with extra cleanliness!
10) Fix, Stage, and Clean
Make sure any maintenance issues in the apartment are addressed before the showing and all appliances are functioning properly. Even seemingly minor issues, like one leaky faucet or a loose doorknob, can raise red flags to quality tenants. You want to put your best foot forward and show you are an attentive, responsive landlord.
If your property is not occupied, consider staging. Empty rooms appear much smaller than those with furniture, and you want prospective tenants to visualize the space. It should go without saying, but make sure your property is clean before any showing! If you have tenants in place, arrive 30-60 minutes (depending on how messy your tenants are) before your first appointment to prepare. Open windows for some fresh air, take out the trash, vacuum, wipe down windows and counters, and pick up any loose items. You should turn on all lights (bring a few spare light bulbs) and open all blinds for showings.
For even more tips, check out our ultimate resource on rental property showings, including how to stage your unit.
11) Soft Sell
You’ve diligently prepared and carefully organized. The current tenants are out and the property is clean and in great shape. When the prospective tenants arrive, don’t hover over them or point out the obvious. It will only make them uncomfortable if you follow their every step. Give personal space while hanging nearby to answer any questions. Instruct them on next steps and how to make an application in a low-pressure manner. If you seem desperate or overzealous, potential tenants will be turned off. Be confident and relaxed, and let your property speak for itself!
Learn More about How Rentalutions Helps DIY Landlords
Once you find quality tenants for your unit, it’s time to think about how you’ll effectively manage them. From maintenance requests to rent collection, being a successful landlord is hard work. Rentalutions is here to help.
Learn more about how Rentalutions can help do-it-yourself landlords and tenants alike with our online property management software that allows tenants to pay rent online, manage maintenance requests, and so much more here.