For the women out there that actively manage properties: how do you feel secure and safe meeting potential tenants and showing the property? I am purchasing a property in a pretty decent area and I don't imagine problems. However, I do have hesitation showing the property alone. Other than buying in a "safe" area, screening potential tenants, and potentially not going alone (which is cumbersome) how do you combat this barrier?
Some general tips I use as a little guy... Do a quick pre-screen before you even go meet them (prevents wasting your time too).. Snap a photo of their ID's with your cellphone before you unlock the front door. If they refuse, stick to "policy" and dont show. Always follow them, let them be in front of you. EG, let them go in the front door first, down the stairs to the basement first, or up the stairs to 2nd floor first.. with you behind them... Then stay between the stairs and them. Or just stay near the front door to "not crowd them as they inspect the property" .. Trust your instinct! If you feel any weirdness, keep even more distance. Don't be afraid to be strict about not getting yourself into a corner, for example if they ask you to come down to the basement or whatever. You've got "bad knees", a cold, or you "just dont like basements." Once they leave the property completely, go back in and check all the doors and windows are still locked up tight.
Thanks Nicky... those are all great ideas. And I definitely didn't mean to imply that only women face this problem. Just feeling additionally vulnerable. A lot of common sense here. Love the ID idea. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I hold open houses, not individual showings. There are people in & out throughout the showing time. I also have a friend with me (if possible); if not, I make sure the neighbors know I'm over there & I ask them to pop over as time permits. (Getting to know your neighbors is one of the smartest things you can do, period!) Usually, I try to rent in the warmer months & leave all the doors wide open. Never have knives or breakable glass available in the kitchen if you've staged it. As noted, I don't go upstairs or into the basement - prospective tenants look around on their own. And lastly, I have a handgun on my person at all times. Yes, that's legal in this state. (All you anti-gun folks please don't get your panties in a twist - I'm just answering the question!)
Plan ahead & don't worry about seeming paranoid. Better safe than sorry.
Excellent question, thanks for posting because I have enjoyed reading it!
I'm with @Kathleen Leary , it's best to do 2 large open houses vs. individual showings. Unless the prospective tenant has passed the basic tests (FB/instagram, employment verification, basic background) I wouldn't do one unless A+, not worth the risk, and our properties are 45 minutes away. If it's ever just me, it's either early in the morning (8AM) or lunch time, never past 3pm, just b/c realistically, if something did happen there would activity of people coming home from work.
If there's ever an inch of sketchiness, I let them in and stay by the front door, and keep it wide open. I hand out the property flyers, so they have all the info needed. Telling them the next tenant/showing is coming in 10 minutes also, just so they don't think no one will come by. Also, I always hide a have a knife on me, just because you never know.
Always, always, always trust your gut, and if the area is uncomfortable, only doing open house showings or one with you and a friend.
I get the concern. I feel really uncomfortable once with alone in a house, in a bedroom with the couple near the door, never again. I use Showmojo.com now.
"God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal."
Get a gun, get a taser, get pepper spray. They all help. The gun helps the most. Kathleen said it well.
You're not going to shoot anyone if you can help it, you're not going to keep it in an unsafe place, you're not going to let anyone else use it, and you're not going to use it to threaten anyone who is not obviously committing an illegal act. You are exactly the kind of people who I would want to be armed in our society for the obvious benefit of all, in a society that refuses to be disarmed. Should the terrorist, the criminals, and those eager to bully others be the only people who have access to the guns in moments of crisis?
I am a large, obviously strong man. I'm looking at these comments and I feel ashamed.
Kathleen -- "I don't go into the basement on a showing." Well, I'm pretty good at wiring and plumbing. The first place I head for is the basement to check the panel and the stack. So if Kathleen doesn't come down with me to talk about how the panel was just upgraded, or listen to me talk about the condition of the stack, is she risking losing a possible lease?
Linda -- "I don't do showing unless I verify the prospective tenant." Well, what if you don't have time? Do you pass up the opportunity?
By what moral imperative are you constrained to have these worries about meeting and working with strangers and I do not? Because genetics handed me a bigger body and you a smaller one? If I can't believe in "the mere primitive doctrine that might is right," I can't believe that.
@Account Closed You are right that it's an unfair advantage to be born with a body that more naturally protects itself against harm. Women (not just in real estate) deal with this daily, and it sounds you are sympathetic and frustrated on our behalf which is nice to hear. It's correct to say that we could miss potential tenants by playing it "too safe". Thanks for the feedback.
I am a woman landlord and real estate agent. All of these tips are superb and a reminder how "comfortable" I have become showing homes to strangers that my guard has gone down a lot in the past few years. For some reason I have found myself only uncomfortable with potential tenants, maybe it is because it is a different clientele? More often then not when showing to tenants I typically have someone else (a man) with me. I usually stay close to a door and let the potential tenants look around. Good luck!
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