How Many Showing To Rent, On Average?

15 Replies

Hello everyone!  Long-time lurker, first time poster :-)  

I'm curious how many calls, showings, and applications you see before having a signed lease.  Also, how may days on market and days of vacancy?

For myself, I would say I get about 20 calls, 7 showings and three applications with 45 days on market and 0 days of vacancy. 

A little background, in case you are interested:  I have been slowly growing my rental portfolio for the last 5 years and currently have three single family homes and one duplex.  I've always been very aggressive about showing a property, processing applications, and getting a lease signed as quickly as possible. Until last month I literally have never had a single day of an vacancy ever.  Now I have had one month of vacancy in one home and I only rented it after coming down on rent 10%, and both units in my duplex are vacant.  The home is in Oklahoma City, OK and the duplex is in Rochester, MN.  There are a lot of factors in play, such as the OKC market declining, and after recently moving I am managing remotely.  But ultimately I had at least 50 calls, 20 showings, and processed 3 applications before getting it rented.   This seems crazy to me.  I'm not sure what's wrong; I suspect I'm just priced too high, but I wonder if I have just been lucky up until now and what other landlords typically see. 

Thanks in advance for your feedback! 

30 calls, 15 showings, 4 applications, 1 tenant.  A few weeks on market, less than a week of empty days.  Most of our vacancy/lost rent is tenants not paying and not leaving.

The guy who's never had a day if vacancy in 5 years is questioning everything because he had one month of vacancy...I'm cracking up. You're obviously doing a lot right. I wouldn't read anything whatsoever into numbers on a single unit taking a few more calls than normal to get occupancy.

Nick,

Not 100% on the specifics of your home in OKC, but I'd imagine you may be at least partially correct. The Oklahoma economy has taken a hit with oil being down, but certain areas around the metro are still growing. Location of the home could be another issue, or possibly the distant management could play a role. How are you scheduling viewings, and getting applications? Has anything changed since the move? Typically I see a rise in applications when I have them fill it out right then. Rather than emailing or letting them walk with the application to turn in later.

I'd say a small percentage of vacancy days shouldn't be a huge concern, but if it becomes a issue where the percentage continues to rise after every turn over then I'd worry.

Hope this was helpful.

Great questions, Ray.  I've been hammering on those exact topics.  

-My local showings in Rochester seem to go extremely well, and I conduct them exactly as I did when I lived in Oklahoma City.  For some reason though, people praise the unit and say things like "I can't believe how nice you've made this place" and then for whatever reason never submit an application.  If they do submit an application, it's awful, riddled with red flags.  The application I got back today is the worst one I have ever seen with at least a dozen criminal offenses, including assault which resulted in Jail time.  They said their background check would be clean, of course :)  I don't know what factors are at play here in terms of the different market.  

-Remotely, I've tried a few different things.  I had an amazing tenant in the property and let him conduct showings while he was there.  Several seemed promising, but never materialized.  After he vacated, I conducted them myself over the phone with a lockbox on the property.  These were okay, a little awkward, and I definitely didn't have my usual mojo.  I'd love to hear any suggestions on showing the home remotely.  Managing my properties remotely has been no problem at all, but I feel like showing remotely has been a nightmare.  I don't really want to hire a realtor to do this because more than anything I'm screening the tenant during the showing.  I could hire a property manager, but again I really don't need help with the management, just the showings.  

-Applications: previously I would always have people submit paper applications, or email them a word doc immediately on my phone if they wanted to submit it electronically.  I would definitely pressure people to fill out an application on the spot for me to review and be able to offer them a preliminary approval pending payment for and results of the background check.  Many of my vacancies were filled this way.  To cope with being remote and try to improve this, I have set up a mobile-friendly dedicated website for people to apply online and encourage them to do so immediately.  I feel like this is a big improvement, but I also wonder if it's intimidating.  My paper application is very deliberately designed to look friendly and easy to complete, and I often do need to coach people on filling it out.  I lose this opportunity being remote, and I lose it with the electronic application.  How does the community feel about paper vs electronic applications?  

Nick,

It sounds like you have your processes down pat.  I've not had any experience in remote viewing.  It does sound like if you are having success in managing your property remotely then I would agree their is no need in hiring one just to solve your viewing issue.  A realtor may be your best bet, unless you can come up with some type of partnership on here.  Maybe some one agrees to do a few showing for you, in exchange for cash, mentorship, or help if they are invested in your area from afar. 

Like Mr. Hodge mentioned, "You're obviously doing a lot right".

your numbers are fine that sounds about right on number of showings and apps on a rental listing in a 30 day period if you are priced competitively with your area.  overall okc prices are down and vacancy rates are up.  i expect that has more to do with your issue.  it also depends on the area you are in, some areas are a bit oversaturated right now.  

I won't schedule a showing until I have an application in my hand and have had time to pre-screen it. I have rentals in 4 other towns aside from the town I live in and they're basically all a 30 min drive away. Being able to prescreen them saves me SO many wasted trips.

Therefore, I rarely show a tenant a unit that I don't end up signing a lease with.

Originally posted by @Brandon Hicks :

I won't schedule a showing until I have an application in my hand and have had time to pre-screen it. I have rentals in 4 other towns aside from the town I live in and they're basically all a 30 min drive away. Being able to prescreen them saves me SO many wasted trips.

Therefore, I rarely show a tenant a unit that I don't end up signing a lease with.

 These days, with concerns over identity theft, potential tenants rarely submit info before seeing owner, agent and the property.

I only do open houses now. Re-rented a SFH two months ago via 2 open houses, 2 days apart. Advertised thru Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, and Craigslist. Had about 80 inquiries, half that number, about 40 came, about 10 applications. While you can submit info online, people just refused to do it.

I feel better seeing the person at open houses, give them the application and watch them fill it out. Years ago, I advertised in the paper, about 20 people would inquire within the week. I didn't do open houses, arranged individual appointments, till one year, half the people making appointments didn't show up. I had to drive 30 minutes to the rental, wait an hour for the no show, and that's after a hard days work.

Qualifying info before the showing? I done that in the very beginning, some 30 years ago. The problem with people giving you all the info, is most of them think they're great, they only have to see the place, if they like it, they have it. Then they threaten fair housing lawsuits claiming they were the first ones seeing it. I'm leery of those who over the phone determine if they're the 1st to see their place. And you also run the risk of someone looks good on paper, in person, a total jerk. Am I to say I don't rent to jerks.

With open houses, if I have plenty of lookers, I just tell people the're all great, even jerks, it's just too many applicants, and I only wish I could rent them the apartment. I don't have to explain what's wrong with the application. With all those people seeing the place, only a nut would talk about a fair housing lawsuit. With few applicants, like 3 or 4, and they gave you all the info, you really have to argue with them why they didn't get it, especially those borderline cases. If they don't like the answer, they call fair housing.

Also, early on, I'm told the city housing dept and the NAACP send testers around to check for discrimination.

For the duplex in Rochester, you might have to lower your rate a bit if you are having trouble.  With the number of units that have gone up in the last year here it is gone crazy.  I think the supply is a little more than the demand but not for sure on that.  You should come to the local real estate group meeting here in Rochester to bounce ideas off.  We meet every third Thurs. at the KW office at 7pm.  

I live and run my landlording in a college town, so needless to say there are tons of renters. So many in fact that when I post a sign in the yard and push listings to the listing sites I get blown up on email and calls. I've adopted the open house idea to my rentals to save me a lot of time and headaches. Everyone that calls I tell I can't show it at this time, but there will be an open house this Saturday for example from 1-3pm. I even put this information on my online listing info. Then anyone seriously interested will make the time to come to the open house. I hand out links to my online application there and within 2 hours I usually have a solid pool to pick from. The days of running over to the rental every time someone calls are long gone. 

If I don't get enough interest or find a good match I'll hold another one at another time, this time maybe on a Wednesday night to catch people that couldn't come to the first one. 2 or 3 2-hour open houses is way better than 15, 30-minute showings in my opinion. 

If you have any other questions feel free to reach out directly, happy to give my 2-cents. 

Originally posted by @Brandon Hicks :

I won't schedule a showing until I have an application in my hand and have had time to pre-screen it. I have rentals in 4 other towns aside from the town I live in and they're basically all a 30 min drive away. Being able to prescreen them saves me SO many wasted trips.

Therefore, I rarely show a tenant a unit that I don't end up signing a lease with.

 OH YEAH.  I'm 120miles remote so you bet I pre-screen as a qualification to even showing (there's a box with applications onsite).

I do take a hit on vacancies because I NEVER show with the existing tenant still in residence - - I want the prospect to see a clean, ready to move-in unit, not the tenants clutter!

I really like the idea of the open house.  I've never heard of that before and I'm definitely going to give it a try.  I try to stack up my showings, staggering them 15-30 minute apart.  Close enough that they see the person to try to create a competitive energy, but not so close together that it gets weird with multiple people wandering around together.  

Jessica, thanks for directing my attention to the real estate group meeting, I'm definitely going to check that out.  Crazy coincidence, but I've decided to pick up my license, and I'm actually meeting with Zach at KW today to talk about a broker relationship.  I'll see if I can make it to the next meeting!

It also sounds like it's possible that I managed to own rental properties across the country from one another both in down markets while everything else is at a peak.  What can I say, I know how to pick winners! :)

What an informative discussion. I live in California, and the rental market is really strong. So my experience may not translate to Oklahoma. But a few points here are worth underlining.

As Frank and Paul suggested, open houses can work really well. You don't have to set up individual appointments. You refer prospective tenants to the open house, show up with your aps (and pens or pencils) and encourage people to fill out the aps then and there. Also gives you a chance to chat with them and get to know them a bit, discuss the unit, neighborhood, etc. You start to establish a relationship, which IMHO is so important in this business. Also, I like to see the vehicles they drive. Are they clean, late-model, or real junkers with a pit bull in the back seat? Do they show up with a boyfriend, kids, parents, or ... ? So, Nick, maybe this is realistic or not: Can you set an open house, drive or fly to Okla, and host the open house yourself? Just a thought. So much depends on individual markets and a particular owner's interests, goals, flexibility, etc.. Good luck to you Nick. 

You should also factor in the time of year. Certain times of year its much easier to rent out than others. I've found that November and December, around holiday times can be the most difficult. Also, winter season in general (in VA) tends to be more difficult than renting in spring and summer months for me.