Leasing tips and tricks

14 Replies

Does anyone have any tips or tricks when it comes to leasing. I have 8 properties. When I put a property for lease on the MLS and put a sign in the yard and I get 20-30 calls a day, plus emails. Pre-screening all these people takes a good chunk out of day then I have to show the property also. Is there anyone that does 2-3 leases a month? How do you handle all the calls, showings, pre-screening etc and still have time to do other real estate activities such as find deal, etc? Any ideas would be much appreciated.

I have started doing showings open house style. Schedule showing for multiple interested parties at 1 time, stagger appointments over 15 -30 minute intervals between a 2-3 hour time frame.

This save you time and creates a competition for your property.

@Albert Martinez I do what @Chris Adams does with open house showings.

I am also very upfront with everything about the property. I include bedroom sizes and floor plans in case they need 3 king bedrooms and I only have queens, ect. I am upfront about my screening criteria and any thing else that I know has come up in the past as being an issue.

Great ideas. I have implemented both of these ideas as well. Any other ideas? I was thinking about having a pre-recorded voice mail with all the details about the house so that I don't repeat myself over and over. Has anyone had success with that?


1. get a realtor that will give them all the info
2. charge application fee, that will eliminate 90% of the applicants
3. increase rent, that will eliminate tire kickers

I agree with @Chris Adams - we manage rentals in areas where traffic can often make a 10 mile trip take close to 45 minutes. We funnel everything through our web site and show only at open houses.

@Albert Martinez - I have never put a sign up in front, only because when we bought our first house our neighbor 2 doors down had just rented his units and said the sign thing was a HUGE waste of time. He said he got tons of calls but nobody was qualified. So I have never even done it.

We post all of our ads through www.postlets.com and set up auto response on our email detailing everything again and then ask them which open house showing they want to attend. If they don't reply back I don't even bother

John Souerbry: Do you typically do an open house during the week and again on the weekend?

@Brianna S. That's an awesome idea. I will use that going forward. I will take the sign down because it does seem to be a waste of time.

When I put my add up I include sq footage of the home. I give as much info about the property as possible. When a possible tennent does contact me I have a pre screen if they are interested with a few questions. This narrows down my pool. You should not be screening bulk tennents. I do one at a time picked from my pre screen. I am trying to find the best fit for my property. I will drop them if they have too many pets...large a pet..too many in there family. I am not renting a 2 bedroom home to a couple with 4 kids. Its that simple. I let all applicants know they are in line to be screened and I do 1 at a time. By 1 or 2 I have my tennent. Its very easy.

@Albert Martinez - I do 1 weeknight for 1.5 hours and 1 Saturday for 2 hours. I have never had to do anymore because we have gotten them rented out that Sunday.

@Brianna S. do you charge an application fee? It's a little crass, but it helps mitigate the costs of processing applications and background/credit checks, and often dissuades people that aren't serious about the place.

I's say, just have the calls go to a recorded message that sends them to the website ad (or even better, get rid of the phone number entirely and just advertise the URL). Anyone serious enough will come to the open house, and if they really want the place, will take an application and pay the $40 fee or however much. You could even credit the application fee against first month's rent, that way you'll overcome the hurdle some might feel about paying it.

@Albert Martinez Early afternoons on weekends are great for open houses. Not only do you get reliable daylight (or rather, no worries about racing a prospective tenant through the property before sunset), but you also avoid tenant conflicts with work and daycare. I'd hate to think that my open house on a Thursday from 4-6pm would be empty for the perfectly legitimate reason of prospects still stuck on the bus or in their cars commuting home from work.

I do a pre-recorded message on google voice for the yard sign. I do get an equal mix of qualified and non-qualified with a yard sign but most hang up when they get the price etc on the pre-recorded call. Only those really interested/qualified or really thick leave a message. I don't even answer this phone, I only do call backs from it and I don't call back anymore if they are clearly asking an unqualified question. I have a dog (no dogs in this unit in the ad!). I want a year round rental- this rental says academic year.

Also if there is a deal breaker I know about it I tell them upfront. For example I have a student rental without equal size bedrooms. If they call I tell them the bed sizes and that it does not have equal bedrooms. For some student groups this is a deal breaker so it saves me time.

I don't do weekday open houses- here it is a waste of time. I also don't kill myself for people who have a lot of restrictions on when they can see it. If they only are available to see it Tuesday at noon my experience is that aren't looking to hard for a place. None of these people ever came through and rented. People coming from a long distance excepted.

@Albert Martinez

Over the past 16 years we write all leases with such timing, so they all expire end of April, May, Jun, (lowest vacancy rate/ highest rent, months for us) at first we did have to write 8 months leases and 15 months leases to "catch up" all expirations/ vacancies between these dates. Once we achieved this our rent average went up almost a $100/mo on each unit.

We do not list in MLS (i have an RE license) but we had found that Craiglist give us tenants faster (and better qualities too, as many out of state folks are moving here too)

We do not prequalify, (total waste of our time!) here is how the flakes get rid of themselves:

we have a full page very details ad on CR(craigslist) and only thing is not in the ad is the time of the open house for personal safety reasons.(we only give this out if someone calls us with a caller id).

So we tell folks who calls us or text us come to see the unit and they can have an application document IF the are willing to commit with a $30 FEE. This way we only get one may be two applications and those are NOT from flakes.

If some one says they have one more place to see, we tell them if they choose our place, text or email us for an application. And we send them apps document as a file, AND instructions on how to send us $30 via Pay Pal.

I want to thank everyone for responding. These are all great ideas!!!

@Brianna S. Thinking back the last three houses I leased were with a yard sign. I am going to implement your strategy and use a yard sign but put the website on the sign instead of a phone number.

@Val Csontos When I list on the MLS. The listing gets sent out to trulia, zillow, etc. So I do get several emails from people that have seen the price, deposit, pictures, sq ft etc. I can also email these people or call them so it is a good way to find qualified candidates.

@Leon D. On my way to show my property today. I thought about the having the URL on the sign also! I think this is an awesome idea.

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