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

70 Replies

I use the showing to kick off my screening process, so I would be losing some valuable face time by not being at the showing. 

@Thomas Williamson  I love the video idea. I checked out the one on your site now. What kind of video camera did you use? The picture was nice and stable, which is typically the downfall of home video. 

I love all of you landlords that must only schedule showings at x time or require prospects to jump through all those hoops before they even get to see the property. You send more tenants my way. I know you are saying you are sending me the bad ones but that is just not the case.

Sure everyone is quick to point out all the potential problems of this scenario. I know several landlords that have done this for years and hundreds of properties with only the minimal issues mentioned here. I and others have rented units while on vacation or out of town. This has saved me weeks of vacancies and put thousands of dollars in my pocket. Already the benefit has paid for pretty much even the worst case scenario. 

I hope everyone understands that this only works on vacant units.

BTW - every new tenant gets a new lock, not changing locks between tenants is absolutely more dangerous than look box showings by at least 10X.

Also - not everyone who calls gets a code. They must PASS a phone screening. Absolutely any questions or uneasy gut and they have to meet me to see it.

@Dawn Brenengen  Hi Dawn, believe it or not it was done with my cell phone.  Samsung Galaxy 3.  YouTube did all the work of stabilizing the video for me.  I know I could do a much better job with the videos, but it's just something to get the info out there.  YouTube is awesome for real estate investors.  Good luck!

@Bill S.  I hear what you're saying.  I would preface my comment by saying if it works for you, then fantastic.  I just find it absolutely amazing though that people think that by simply interviewing someone over the phone, and having them answer a few questions over the phone sight unseen, makes them trustworthy.  I've  met hundreds of career criminals who were masters of lying in person face to face.  So I do chuckle when people think that's a great strategy.  I would never turn over an asset I just put thousands and thousands of my hard earned money into, or worse yet someone else's property, to someone just because they were good at answering a few questions over the phone.  Even if they provide a pic of a drivers license, how do you know that the license isn't fake, or someone else's that was stolen.  Not all criminals are stupid.  The thought of that just amazes me.  

@Thomas Williamson  just a point of clarity. After viewing the unit on a lock box they must complete an application, pay an application fee,  and pass a thorough screening (credit, criminal, and landlord references) before signing a lease.

This is just the first step which gets my units in front of the most people possible while other landlords are telling them to drive by then call them back, yada yada yads.

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman:

I have a much less risky method.  Pick a time slot once a week.  I usually pick Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  I tell everyone who calls to be there at that time.  I tell them to call me 30 minutes ahead of time.  If nobody calls, I don't go.  If they do, I show up.  Most folks don't show up at the exact time and spend only a few minutes looking, so its not common to have more than one group at once.  But its not a bad thing if that does happen.

No way am I giving someone I've spent five minutes on the phone with unlimited access to my property.  Or the ability to copy the keys.

 Same here. I schedule 2 showings usually at different times of the day. I get the person's first name and number and call them the day of the showing to confirm their appointment. I've saved a lot of time since doing this.

I never call an applicant to confirm; they will always say they'll be there. I tell them to call my contractor half an hour before their appointment. If they don't call, he doesn't go. I let them know he's being paid for his time and won't wait more than 15 minutes if they're running late and don't call.

CAUTIONARY TALE!! There was a post on BP yesterday about someone that had a lockbox on their rental home, only to go over and find out there were people beginning to move into the house! Someone had rented them the house, and had them wire the funds to another state. I'd say, take the time to go over to your homes and don't take chances. In California we have "squatters rights" meaning once someone is in, you have to go through the entire process of eviction to get them out, and who knows what will happen to the property during that time? 

@Karen Margrave  I just read that post and thought about this thread.  Here's the post that started the other thread.  I'll put the link up for that one.

"So I had one of my rentals on craigslist with a lockbox on the front door. I've been using lock boxes for 10 years. I had a rental on the market for a few weeks giving out the code to people to look inside. Yesterday I went to the house and there were clothes and boxes inside the house. A few hours later 2 people showed up with a uhaul truck full ready to move in. Could have been a disaster. They said they wired $1400 to a man in ohio and they had a fake lease on MY HOUSE. anybody else got a craigslist nightmare..."

Kris Haskins

http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/140802-craigslist-scam-finally-got-me-good?page=1

@Bill S.  gotcha, it was the first step that would be very concerning to me of viewing the unit on a lockbox, and then filling out application info.  It's funny the above thread really puts a spotlight on this issue.  It's been a great discussion, and I think everyone is gaining new insight as to best practices in dealing with potential applicants these days.  You just don't know who's really an applicant, and who's a criminal looking to use your house for profit. 

Am I the only person who would rather pay an agent 30% when they bring me a good application than do the showings myself?  I tried renting out my first SF by myself, but it was a 25 minute drive away which made me vow to never do it again.

I'm an agent myself though which saves the listing fee (if you bought your property through an agent many will list the rental for free if you have a good relationship).

@Gregory Tran  I have tried in the past to use agents or others that charge a "finder's fee" and it has never worked out.  They talk a great line but when it comes down to it they have never rented my property.  If it would actually work, I'd be more than happy to use them.  The best for me has always been road signs.

Please read the post. While it was disturbing, nothing bad happened to the landlord. The applicants lost their money.

This approach is not for everyone in every market. Just like pretty much all the advise on this site. I just challenge you to think a bit outside the box and don't just write things off because "something bad can happen".  There are a lot of something bads that can happen in this business, weigh the risk reward based on reality. 

I would say it's a lot like being a passenger in an airplane. There are those flights that end in flames and debris but the actual percentage is very small. The only way to 100% avoid being in a fiery airplane crash is to not fly. You will be safe from that worst case but by driving your car the stats are higher that you will be in a wreck. In most cases, no lock box showings mean higher vacancy rates or lower rents or both. Choose your risk carefully. 

Interesting conversation. We try to do some screening before we get to the point of actually showing our rentals. A lot of it is automated by having them send an email to receive and answer pre-application questions. Their answers really reveal if they fit our criteria or not - which saves a lot of wasted time. If all looks good, we move to the next step and try to make visits with groups of prospective tenants about the same time. Open house is another option although we prefer the pre-screening method because open house seems to have a lot of walk throughs with no intention of renting. Talking to the tenant's and listening to them as they walk through the rental can be very useful information in determining which prospects would work out best.

I clean my rentals myself so I can make a list for the handyman.While I am cleaning I tell potential tenants to stop by. That way I can talk to them in person rather than over the phone. If I meet at tenant who is a handyman I may even let him do the work and take something off of the security deposit. This saves me money- I don't pay my handyman so no money comes out of my pocket, I don't have the added days of no rental income while the handyman fixes everything on my list, and the tenant gets a break. It works for me and them.