Do you get pissed about no-shows for property viewings then use this tip.

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Several have already said it but the best thing to do is either an open house or a bundling several appointments at once.

This will work fine 19 out of 20 times.  That one time something gets stolen, the door is left unlocked, they track mud on the carpet, or they give the code out, or whatever, you'll wish you never did this.

What I have done is, once I had a few hours, on average, of busywork per week, I hired an assistant--simple as posting an ad under Jobs.  One was retired.  Her time was her own and she was happy to have a few intermittent hours to work here and there.

My tenant screening consists of three phases:  

1.  Telephone screening & interview (pre-showing)

2.  On site observation & conversation (while showing)

3.  Written application & background checks (post-showing) 

We offer a property information sheet, rental application, and our written rental criteria at the time of showing.  When I show the property I give prospective tenants more background about the property and answer any questions they may have.  I encourage prospective tenants to take a walk in the neighborhood before applying.  

I'm looking for positive and negative signs.... were they punctual? How respectfully do they enter and tour the unit? How is their demeanor? How is their personal hygiene? How well kept is their car? What areas of the home interest them the most (which rooms do they look at first or linger longest)? Do they seem too eager or not motivated?  Do they show interest in applying?  If children are present, are the children well behaved or wild? (One time a child started drawing pictures on the kitchen floor with a marker pen during the showing and the parent did nothing!  The runners and screamers are also unsettling, especially when the parents can't control them.) Also, to keep those carpets and floors clean, we ask people to take off their shoes or use shoe covers that we provide... just like they do on the "Street of Dreams" luxury home builder events!

I wouldn't miss this face to face opportunity.  It's too important.  Like others, I bundle appointments if I there are many people interested if viewing the property.  But I live within two miles of all of our properties, so it is just as easy to go show when I have a good prospect.  Rarely do I have a no show.

When I first started the R .E. Business I had a lot of no shows or clients not ready to move right away wasting my time!!! I learned that they called ATLEAST 6 -7 people regarding a rental homes and sometimes they don't even remember which ones they have appointments for and what time!

You have to control your time by assuring yourself the buyer/tenant is not going to waste your time and gas!

Truly the buyer or tenant doesn't care about your inconveniences, as long as it's not them wasting gas or time!

Giving Lockbox codes can be dangerous, it will actually get you a fine here in Nevada As a REALTOR, but I guess as an investor you have no one to report you!! But You might run into idiots that will remove your hole door knob and squat in home or damage the property or steal all appliances or copper theft.

I initially screen my callers, then send more photo's, if they are interested in seeing it , I give them great virtual tour link of photo's deposit information and then have them go online and pre-qualification questionnaire.

No $ or Obligation just to answer a few basics ABOUT RENTAL HISTORY/INCOME/EVICTION/BK/FORECLOSURE. NO PERSONAL INFORMATION IS COLLECTED!!

If Pre qual looks good :)! I call them back and schedule a showing....advise them that they will receive a reminder text or email, they must confirm a reminder link 2 hours prior to appointment. Or I won't show up!!!!

IF THAT LINK HaS NOT been CONFIRMED by tenant WITHIN 1 HOUR PRIOR TO APPOINTMENT.

THEN THE TENANT RECEIVES A TEXT AND EMAIL ALERT ADVISING THAT THE APPOINTMENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. PLEASE CALL xxx-xxx-xxxx. To Reschedule.

If the applicant really sounds like a good candidate sometimes I talk them into filling out app in advance.

I figure if, you are willing to take the first step by filling out the Application, then you are a serious tenant, who is ready to make a immediate decision if the place meets their standards!!

IT HAS WORKED SMOOTHLY THUS FAR.

I do something very similar to what @Nadia Lewis does.  When I first started out, I too became very frustrated by the amount of no shows, even when I called an hour before and confirmed with the prospective tenant that they were coming.  I changed tactics a few years ago, and it's worked great for me since them.  

When one of my properties is up for rent, I make a very detailed video of the inside and outside of the property.  I even go so far as to give measurements of the bedrooms in the videos.  I also post tons of pics of everything.  I give the perspective tenant everything they need to know in the video, and tell them that I have a two part application process. 

The first phase cost them nothing.  I simply e-mail them a form that I created myself that let's me pre-screen them.  It has things like name / d.o.b. / current address / current employer and employers phone number / previous address / current landlords contact number / etc.  If they are really interested in the property, then they'll go through the steps to fill this out and get it back to me quickly since it cost them nothing.

I also tell everyone in my videos to go look at the property (I leave all the blinds up and the video is great if it's a two story they can still see what it looks like) and look at the neighborhood to make sure it's somewhere they really want to live.  I tell everyone in the video that I do not conduct showings until the first phase of the application process has been started.  This will eliminate 99% of the tire kickers, and most of all it will free up your valuable time.

I've done everything from multiple appointments on one day to holding open houses all weekend.  A detailed video on YouTube is fantastic because it answer's all the questions for the perspective tenant once, and you don't have to keep repeating the same answers over and over.  I have an apartment for rent at the moment, and have a video posted on my website that explains this process.  You can check it out under available properties at www.acminvestmentsgeorgia.com  Good luck.

@Aaron Wyssmann I keep thinking about what your doing with the lock box, and wanted to throw a couple of things out there.  Not only am I a real estate investor, but I'm also a police officer and have been for over 20 years.  I know you may feel okay after speaking with the people after they view your home, but I can tell you from experience that you haven't met the right criminal yet.  

Are you going to the home immediately after someone views it to make sure the key has been returned?  The reason I'm asking this is what if that person runs down to a local hardware store or Wal-Mart and has a duplicate  made.

Then God forbid someone moves into the home later as a tenant, then the criminal comes back and robs them either while there home, or while the tenant is at work.  Allowing that type of access to your properties just seems like it setting you up for a huge lawsuit later.  

Even if the home is broken into because the tenant left the door unlocked, it would be very difficult for you to convince a judge or jury that the bad guys didn't get in using a key they made from your lock box.  My advice is don't be so trusting, it's sad but very true.  I tell you this out of great concern for you and don't want to see you get in serious trouble that could ruin your business your life or any other investors business or life.  Good luck.

That does seem kind of risky, but if it works for you then by all means continue. I agreeJon Holdman , I would really be uncomfortable with giving a stranger that type of access to my property. I also feel that first in-person meeting is very important so you can put a face with the voice, and also continue with your screening of the prospective tenant. Just my two cents at least.

We practice the same system on the properties we own but they must send a pic of DL for access. Properties that we manage we simply list them on MLS with a supra key. We have had issues of not locking up but our vacant homes are visited at least once every 3-4 days for inspections and to change combo. All keys are rekeyed before tenant move in.

@Thomas Williamson I really appreciate your comments and concern.  That's why I love BP, having the opportunity to think about what I do.  While I have liked it and thought it was a good way to do things I now see how it is probably not the best and could really burn me in the future.

I watched the video you made and I think this is a great idea.  I can see how your process of having them watch the video, apply and then meet them at the property is a great system.  Thanks so much for sharing.

That lockbox idea is the dumbest idea i have ever heard.

1. How do you know they locked it back up?
2. How do you know they didnt mess anything up/steal anything in the property?
3. People always break in through the back door, lockbox there is a bad idea
4. Lockboxes in general are a bad idea.

Dont be lazy, show up for your showings. They don't, who cares. Part of the business.

@Aaron Wyssmann thanks for starting this thread.  It is thought provoking.  I have always personally shown my rentals but I live in a town where you are never more than 3 minutes from anywhere else in town.  I have a house out of town that I am working on and have installed a programmable combination lock for contractors to come and look at the property.  I like the changing locks to prevent the scenario @Thomas Williamson warned about with someone coming back later to enter the home after a tenant moves in.  A programmable lock can be changed every day if needed.  I had a no show this week.  I waited about 15 minutes called and she never even answered.  She called back in a few minutes and not even left the neighboring town.  Despite always being VERY eager to rent and cut down on vacancy she moved to the bottom of the list.  The house I showed had issues since the prior tenant had 2 large dogs and I had lots of scratch marks and a bad pet odor.  It is my pet house.  Despite being my worst house it rents quickly when I say I allow pets.  please vote for the folks who start these threads that cause us to re evaluate how we do business.  This was very thought provoking for me.

Originally posted by @Joe Gore:

@Dawn Anastasi,

It is always good to meet future tenants in person. Let's say you meet someone, and they meet your requirements, and then they say can I see your drivers license and can you prove you are the owner of the property would you provide it. Just realized there is a lot of fraud out there and both parties need to be careful.


Joe Gore

 never an owner. always a manager. "property is owed by group of investors I am only hired to manage it". that rule will save you a lot of pain down the road. if they are not comfortable with that ...NEXT

That lockbox idea is the dumbest idea i have ever heard.

1. How do you know they locked it back up?
2. How do you know they didnt mess anything up/steal anything in the property?
3. People always break in through the back door, lockbox there is a bad idea also.

Dont be lazy, show up for your showings. They don't, who cares. Part of the business. Expect it.

Great thread- thought about lockboxes before, but concerned about a lot of the same issues mentioned.  I think group showings has been the best solution for me.

@Robert D.,

That is good if you are the manager but if the tenant asked are you the owner, and you are the owner and say you are the manager, then you lied and now you have to cover-up that lie with another one. Be honest because they might already know you are the owners only testing you to see if you are honest.


Joe Gore

@Jerry W. I appreciate the kind words about this thread.  I also love it that people out here can be honest enough to share how they really feel.  Ultimately, what I thought was a great idea has changed in my mind to being less than great and will change how I do things in the future.

I have done individual and group showings and I feel that it is a waste of my time, which is very valuable.  What I love about @Thomas Williamson 's idea is that it clears out tire kickers who will see the video and realize they don't like the floor plan or something else about the property.  Those that do can then go through the application process.  At that point I can meet them face-to-face and determine whether they are someone that I would want to put into my property.

What we do is ASK THEM FOR A COPY OF THEIR DRIVER'S LICENSE to have the lockbox code. If they can't or don't want to provide one, we don't provide the code to them and we move on to the next tenant prospect.

I've been doing the 'send us a copy of your license and we'll give you the code' thing for 5 years or more.  This is very common in Louisville.  We rent to students and middle to upper class professionals.  These are not 'stupid' people.  It is absurd to think a locked door will keep someone from stealing something from your property.  I'd be far more worried about discrimination claims by screening to some undocumented process.  Your time is to valuable to waste on people who aren't interested in the property.   

For occupied homes, we setup showings 1-2 times per week.  This minimizes the inconvenience of the existing tenant (no need to irritate them even if they are moving out), saves you time, and puts a little pressure on the prospective tenants to submit an application since others are there at the same time.  I do try to stagger these slightly (10 mins) or have someone else with me to make sure the tenants belongings are protected.

Erik Hitzelberger,

I am sure you have insurance to protect you if someone steals everything you have and did you let the insurance company know that you are giving the key ever crack head or wine o that want to look at your home for rent. And now come the fun part if someone I hope not damages your property are you going to false accuse everyone who gave you a copy of their license.


Joe Gore

@Erik Hitzelberger I completely agree that our time is very valuable. Have you had any issues with damage?  Also, do you use the same key that will stay on the unit for the new tenant?  What some have said here in this post I think I'm going to start changing the out or something else. The thought of someone making a copy of the key and then possibly doing something to my tenant scares me a bit.  

I've had 3 properties broken into.  The first time, they just stole the toilet.  In the most recent instance, they stole the 2-day old furnace and AC.  In each case, they kicked in the back door at night.  (I'll reiterate that a locked door is not a deterrent).  To address the somewhat ironic accusation, I did not even call the insurance company nor did I accuse anyone (including the neighbor I am fairly certain took the HVAC).  

I have not had a problem with damage or theft from anyone that I have given access to a property.  Most of the time, I change out the locks although this is something I should be more religious about.  Previous tenants are far more likely to have a key than someone who viewed the house.    

I tout simplesafe monitored alarms enough to be their rep (simplesafe.com), which is funny since I don't use them.  They may provide some value here.  If I'm not mistaken, you can remotely disable the alarm, or temporarily create a code for the prospective tenant to look at the house.  Once they leave, you re-enable the alarm or delete that temp code.   Just a thought.   They have alarm systems you can move from house to house.  I don't know if they would partially mitigate any of the risk.  

disclaimer.  I don't work for simplesafe or receive any compensation from them.  I'm not even their customer.