prospective tenant no shows

26 Replies

I just had my very first prospective tenant not show up to a showing. Its quite irritating does this happen often?

Yes it happens all the time. People today have no concept of a courtesy call to say "I changed my mind". I now tell them that I will text them 30 minutes before the arrival time. No response and I stay home.

We don't show properties unless the prospect meets us at our office first.  

Hi Thomas, what steps are you using to pre-screen tenants?  One way to get prospects to show up is pre-screening them.  This does two things, 1. screens out tenants that don't meet your qualification criteria and 2. allows you to see how truly interested a prospect really is.  If they are willing to speak with you on the phone and give you the answers to questions you ask, and set up an appointment they are more likely to show up, but if they are only willing to text you and ask for a showing, but not talk to you or fill out a prospective resident questionnaire, they probably aren't that serious.   Another thing I do to make sure I don't waste my time, is I text everyone I have showings with about 1-2 hours before the showing, confirming that they are still meeting me.  After implementing the pre-screen and confirmation text, I rarely have no-shows.  If someone can't meet, I made it easy for them to tell me they can't meet, and I don't waste my time going to a property.  Check out my pre-screen here: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/12/topics/496530-the-process-of-an-eviction?page=1#p3052237

Happens all the time to us, too. That is why we now only do open house showings. With our last vacancy, 13 people were supposed to attend, only 4 actually showed up. We show in teams for safety and to be available to answer questions, etc. This is a great time saver.

If 50% of prospective tenants show up that said they would show up, you're doing pretty well.  You'll find out real fast how inconsiderate some people can be.

As already mentioned, set an "open house" time (Saturday morning at 9am for example) and tell everyone who calls throughout the week to come at that time.  If you get enough calls throughout the week, you'll feel pretty good about not wasting your time Saturday morning.

Or, if you are going to meet individual tenants on different days make sure you tell them that you'll text them before you leave to meet them and if they don't respond, you don't go.

I have to admit I was unprepared when the call came. I had posted the listing less than 24 beforehand. After the call I made a list of questions to ask. They are very similar to yours.

I just had my first no show in the year we've been doing this.  The best part is that person is a real estate agent/property manager; not who you'd expect not to show up!  But when I got to the property (20 min early) there was someone there hoping to do an unplanned showing.  So my time wasn't wasted.

i also spent an hour talking to prospective tenants who loved the place and never applied.  People are funny.  Now I bring something else to do while I wait for showings.  I have two young kids, so this is the closest I get to 'me' time ;)

Get use to it!  The prospect may have found a better deal or realized your house may have squeeze their budget too much.

@Thomas Robb,

Yes, it's 100% normal.   At first, I was offended, but then... after a while, you get used to it.. it's just the nature of the game.. I normally expect 20% of the people to actually show up.. .so with that, I only do big group showings.     One thing I'd suggest, is have 2 showings or "open houses" on the weekends, so they can pick which one is better for them.    If there are 2, 5, 10 people there, it creates competition and shows tenants it's a desired place!... and if only wastes 2 hrs of your time, if no one is  no-show verses multiple trips.   Unless someone is a very, very strong potential, we don't do individual showings.        In your email, tell them the qualifications, so  you don't waste their time, and it also narrows it down to those you want to see!

Also, create a reminder email and copy/paste to all your potential clients about 2 hrs before the showings.   Copy/paste is your best friend when it comes to potentials!    

I also pre-screen callers on the phone.  I only show once a week.  I tell everyone the same time.  Rarely do more than one actually show up at once.  I also tell them to call me 30 minutes before the time and let me know they are coming.  I tell them if they do not call I will not be there.  I usually have multiple prospects lined up and at least one will call.  But if none call I do not go.  I do not bother calling them.  That doesn't help.  They must have enough desire to see the place to call me.

@Thomas Robb I have had vacancies where as many as half the people that made appointments didn't show up to look at it. I changed my whole process to eliminate this problem.

I tell them to text me 30 minutes before the appointment to confirm. THEY need to text me which shows responsibility on their part. If someone is a no show, they don't get a second chance, no exceptions. 

Follow this process and you can't go wrong.

I used to do individual showings and there is a 50% no show rate. In fact, in some cases, I see them slowly driving by the house, then take off. 

As others mentioned, I do open houses now. New York City is a very hot market these days, and for each open house, I have between 20 - 30 prospects, and 6 to 10 applications, plus I get to meet them in person to get a feel. I generally do two half day open houses to rent a house or apartment, but usually expanded for a few hours to accommodate late comers. One time I had a line of people who came early lining up outside that neighbors wonder what's going on. 

One other benefit compared to my making individual appointments is people don't get the feeling they've been discriminated against if they don't get selected. They see the big crowd, people busy filling out applications, the frenzy, and wonder out loud "do I really have a chance?".  My answer has always been "you always have a chance". There is no concept of "I was here first and he discriminated against me". 

Id say about 50% of prospective tenants no show. I try to group say 4 or 5 tenants together for 1 time slot with the expectation of a bunch of no shows.

Yep. Happens all the time. It's part of the business as manners and consideration are somewhat rare. 

Once, I had three different prospective tenants and I scheduled them to arrive at the same time for a group showing and none showed up! 

Of course, I've had times where I've scheduled three prospective tenants and all of them showed up - there's no rhyme or reason. 

Open house-style group viewings are definitely the way to go. 

And as others have mentioned, call or text all potential renters an hour before the showing. Typically, some of them will cancel and/or ask for a different showing time. You'd think they'd call or text to let you know this but often, they don't do it unless you're proactive. 

I know a landlord who puts all apartment viewings in an Excell spreadsheet. When a tenant no-show contacts him, sometimes years later, for a viewing, he checks his spreadsheet and if they had been a no-show calls them out on it. :-D

set above hold open houses tell everybody to meet you at the house at 2 o’clock 

 You stop wasting your time with appointments for each different perspective renter 

It also creates a sense of urgency and you simply state the people bring the money first and approved other ones will get the rental

@Thomas Robb Consider this a blessing. 

Only irresponsible people do things like that and you don't want irresponsible tenants. 

Also, excellent suggestion by @Michael Plante . We do group showings with all of our student rentals. 

Having lots of people touring a property at once will create an urgency 100x more than anything you tell be able to tell a prospective tenant. It also saves you time and if you have a few people "no show" then it's not a big deal because you were there anyway.

Yep. I consider it part of my screening process. I never follow up if they no-show. They're eliminated...unless they reached out to me prior and let me know a reason. If we agreed on Saturday at noon and they text me Saturday at 5 that they forgot or something came up, I don't respond. It's disrespectful and inconsiderate. 

Originally posted by @Linda D. :

@Thomas Robb,

Yes, it's 100% normal.   At first, I was offended, but then... after a while, you get used to it.. it's just the nature of the game.. I normally expect 20% of the people to actually show up.. .so with that, I only do big group showings.     One thing I'd suggest, is have 2 showings or "open houses" on the weekends, so they can pick which one is better for them.    If there are 2, 5, 10 people there, it creates competition and shows tenants it's a desired place!... and if only wastes 2 hrs of your time, if no one is  no-show verses multiple trips.   Unless someone is a very, very strong potential, we don't do individual showings.        In your email, tell them the qualifications, so  you don't waste their time, and it also narrows it down to those you want to see!

Also, create a reminder email and copy/paste to all your potential clients about 2 hrs before the showings.   Copy/paste is your best friend when it comes to potentials!    

 This is what we do. If we get 100 calls on a place, we expect 20-30 to show up at the "open house" (we don't call it that), 3-5 to actually complete an application. It's just a numbers game. If you read/listen to any business books, a 3-5% conversion rate would be considered good, so that's kind of what I go by (IE you need 100 people to gather 3-5 sales/apps/whatever). 

Yes @JD Martin , 100% spot on with the numbers!      

Also, make sure you require potential tenants to pay for their own background checks, it eliminates non-serious and helps narrow it down quickly!

@Thomas Robb I used to be 50% show rate and here is what I do now ( most of the the why is left out for now)

Require everyone to set appointment via text or call to a call capture phone number - you need their number

Text address and reminder when appointment is set  ( I use www.callaction.co Tell Jessie that Tim sent you)

Day of appointment call all prospects (confirmed & non-replies to get more appointments)

Show 2 days per week one evening from 6-7pm, Saturday usually from 11-12

Set all appointments ever 15 minutes, so that they think it's a special time just for them, when in fact you often have 3-4 people scheduled at the same time

Text reminder about 1 hour before showings start

A couple rules:

Never show one off people for any reason, I repeat any reason (too many downsides to mention)

Never confirm a showing via email (Zillow, Trulia, Craig's List all make it too easy to send an email + you can't text or call confirmation or cancel last minute if it rents if you don't have a phone number)

Always brag to prospects about your tenant friendly approach to scheduled block showings

Never tell them you have an "Open House" and "Just show up"  You want control, plus if there is no commitment on their part your odds of them showing dramatically decrease.

Always explain your 1 hour block time strategy to your current tenants and sell them why they should clean so that they only have 1 hour of showings and not 20 random interruptions in their life.

We get a few cancellations with the calls or the texts, but of the remaining, we have a solid 75-80%

Cheers

~Tim

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@Thomas Robb Yes, this is very common unfortunately. We send confirmation text messages the day of the appointment to avoid being stiffed as much as we can. When you are setting up an appointment let the candidate know you will be following up with a text the day of the appointment to confirm so they know it is coming. Here is an example of the confirmation text we send the day of:

"I just wanted to confirm our appointment for today at [time] at [address and town]. Please confirm you will be coming and if you need to reschedule let me know."

Combine that confirmation with a solid pre-screening process and you will very rarely get stiffed. I haven't had someone not show up in a while for an appointment using these processes.

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