Originally posted by Aly NA:
Any tenant that emails isn't serious. The serious ones call. The emailers are usually just phishing, they may be realtors or other landlords.
When someone calls and says "I'd like more information about the unit", I ask "What would you like to know?". If they're asking questions about the obvious - price, number of bedrooms, location - I simply tell them they need to look at the ad again.
Those that are serious about moving are organized and ask more specific questions. I put all the relevant information in my ads, like the security deposit, lease terms, available move-in date, application fee is there is one, etc.
Unfortunately, most people don't read more than a few lines in the ad, if that.
While I agree with your last two paragraphs, the first one is not absolute. In fact, we have found those applicants who contact us first by telephone to be less likely to follow-on with a viewing and application.
Over eighty percent of our tenants make first contact via e-mail. We set-up specific e-mail addresses for each advertisement and when they submit a request, they are first sent more information on the unit, property, and our application form and screening process from an auto-responder. That automated e-mail also reaffirms that they will receive a second reply addressing any specific questions in their request and provides them with another e-mail address for any follow-on communication.
Sending out our application form and screening guidelines goes a long way towards weeding out the tyre kickers from the serious applicants.
I think that if you don't want to answer emails you shouldn't advertise online. That's one of my pet peeves. I shop very seriously online and when an ad placer doesn't answer an email inquiry, they don't get my business.
Roy, you're right, it's not always absolute. Actually today I got an email through Trulia, when the ad was syndicated through Postlets. Unlike craigslist where you can disable the email option, it doesn't seem to work that way for Trulia, and possibly Zillow.
I did call the person back, since their email included a phone number, and she's going to view the unit tomorrow. Filtering applicants is not an exact science, and even the ones who are coming through realtors are a crapshoot.
I turn off the email function on my craigslist adverts. I list my phone number and tell prospects "Phone calls only - Sorry, I will not respond to text".
A couple reasons:
1) I want to have a conversation with my prospective tenant because this is part of the screening process for me too. I run down my criteria: No evictions, No felonies, and household income at least 3x rent (verifiable income). If they don't meet my criteria, I don't book the showing.
2) I don't deal with lazy -- lazy emails or lazy text message. Nope.
I just want to add -- I used to respond to text & email via CL, but it proved to be more time consuming for me. They'd ask questions like "Is the unit still available?", "Do you accept pets?", etc. All that info is in my add. Also, I've scheduled showings via text & email -- most are 'no-shows'.
I've found that the serious ones will take the time to call me and when I book the showing over the phone, they show up.
Just my personal experience ...
Outstanding advice @Andy Luick ! I will definitely use this. Wow, mind blown!
I feel the same in that I assume the most qualified and interested people will call, however I also dont like to "leave money on the table", or pass over a qualified tenant. I also like to text/email my requirements to screen out the people that don't qualify so I don't waste time pre-qualifying people over the phone. I draft up a generic text/email and respond to all texts and emails with it. It covers all the important information and ends with either an invitation to an open house, or an invitation to text me and set up an appointment. This is what it looks like.
Thanks for your interest in the property at 2344 House Street. The rent is $800.00 and there is a requirement of last month's rent as well as a security deposit of $800 all due prior to moving in. There is a $40 application fee for all adults that will be living in the property and we will be running a national credit, criminal, and eviction report. We are not accepting any applicants with evictions or violent convictions. If you would like to schedule a viewing or have any additional questions I can be reached by text at 813xxxxxxx.
I find that this email saves me a good amount of time and allows me to follow up with all those zillow, hotpad, trulia, etc submissions
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