Are there some articles you would recommend to market/run an open house to find tenants?
Running an ad on Craigslist has worked great for me. Held two open houses a week apart, and found a solid tenant....Saturday from 10am-1pm seems to work well. Post the CL ad with "OPEN HOUSE SAT 10a-1pm, 3bed 2ba in xyz ville" or what ever neighborhood. Post one ad a week before the open house and one a day before.
Posted a For Rent / Open House sign in the yard the day of along with mylar mickey mouse balloons at each turn from the main street... Lots of pics on the CL ad... pics of the balloons too.
Aside from that bring rental apps, clipboard, pens. I just let the potential tenants walk through, I don't try to sell them at all, if they are interested they will sell me on why they are the right person/family.
I don't commit to anyone that day. Review the applications and contact the most qualified, if you didn't get any good ones throw another open house.
Hope this helps!
Let's say this approach gets you 6 applicants. You indiscriminately pick the one that you think would be best and all is ok. They pass the check, sign the lease and move in. What do you do with the other applicants? Mail them a better luck next time letter along with their app fee? Just throw them away and shred their checks? What about tenants that pay cash or money order for the app fee?
My rental application says the application fee is non-refundable. This is another part of the screening process. They have to really want it. And I make sure I tell them what I am looking for before they apply. Also, if I find a really good tenant that passes all the screening and moves in, I will refund the money of other tenants I did not do a background check on.
Do you use a web based application? A PDF they can email to you? Or do you just tell them to send it back to you in the mail?
I don't open houses but appointments every 15 minutes. I find it is more intimate and I get to know the tenant better while still accomplishing the same goal.
I meet the potential tenants face to face or interview them over the phone. Only after I've pre-screened by getting to know them a little and a little bit about their work/life situation will I ask them to pay for the background check. I don't charge people an application only for credit/criminal background check IF they pass "gut feeling" check.
I use old fashioned pen and paper for the application or email/scan. For background checks I use Amerusa.com and they're $30 a piece.
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