Showing a unit right away vs waiting after repairs are done?

10 Replies

I have a unit that is getting empty end of this month. I have already listed the unit online and obviously everyone wants to see the unit. My question and dilemma is, should I not show the unit when it is filled (with current tenant's stuff and mess) or wait until all the paint/repairs are done for better first impression? What does your experience tell you? Sometimes showing a currently filled unit can backfire if the current tenant is messy and you lose a good perspective tenant. One thought was I take everyone's information and filter out the ones that don't meet my criteria and schedule a showing once repairs are completed with one's that do meet the criteria (given that perspective tenant is still on the market). Any thoughts?

@Vishal P. My experience has not been favorable when showing an incomplete unit that needed work to be done. I always prefer to wait until the unit is "rent ready" with everything prepared for key delivery. In the instances where I showed a unit that needed paint and repair the feedback was inferior to a freshly painted unit.

Best of luck and let us know how it goes!

@Vishal P. I have never had any luck showing units that are occupied or needed repairs (unless the repairs are so minor that they are not noticeable during the walk thru.  Everyone hates vacancy, but if you rush, you might miss the right tenant.  For all of them units, I make sure that all repairs are complete and the unit is fully cleaned before I start showing the units.  Most tenants can not see past fixes and dirt in my experience.

Originally posted by @Vishal P. :

I have a unit that is getting empty end of this month. I have already listed the unit online and obviously everyone wants to see the unit. My question and dilemma is, should I not show the unit when it is filled (with current tenant's stuff and mess) or wait until all the paint/repairs are done for better first impression? What does your experience tell you? Sometimes showing a currently filled unit can backfire if the current tenant is messy and you lose a good perspective tenant. One thought was I take everyone's information and filter out the ones that don't meet my criteria and schedule a showing once repairs are completed with one's that do meet the criteria (given that perspective tenant is still on the market). Any thoughts?

 I show them occupied as long as there is nothing major.  I once had a tenant who I swear let her kid finger paint the walls with chocolate pudding, she was a hoarder too.  I showed the unit and leased it up when she was still there.  I just warned people and said I have 3 days before they move in and I had professional cleaners coming day 1, painters day 2, and it would look like new on day 3

I have also done this when I am redoing the hardwood.

If I was updating the kitchen or bath I would wait to show it until it is 90% done

Brie Schmidt, Real Estate Agent in Illinois (#471.018287) and Wisconsin (#57846-90)

Thanks to all for your insight!

@Vishal P. I think this is very dependent on your price point...if you are trying to go for more premium rental prices or bump up the rent, I'd wait until it was complete and "putting it's best foot forward"...a lot of people have a hard time seeing past certain things and people will be more discerning.  If you have a low rental price, it's generally a different demo looking at the units and therefore it can probably be rented even if it's not fully complete.

@Vishal P. , I think Brie is spot on about warning prospective applicants about the condition if you know it is going to be messy or some obvious repairs need to be done. You could try offering an incentive to your tenants to neaten up the place (provide an itemized list) by offering them a rent discount or cash payment per show. 

If your rental is in a hot area of town, and your tenants are cooperative in helping the property show well, then just do it. As long as you provide assurances and follow through that the repairs will be done and the unit will be professionally cleaned, applicants will understand if it isn't perfect. 

Penny Clark, Property Manager in CA (#01986692)
(916)670-2286
Originally posted by @Brie Schmidt :
Originally posted by @Vishal P.:

I have a unit that is getting empty end of this month. I have already listed the unit online and obviously everyone wants to see the unit. My question and dilemma is, should I not show the unit when it is filled (with current tenant's stuff and mess) or wait until all the paint/repairs are done for better first impression? What does your experience tell you? Sometimes showing a currently filled unit can backfire if the current tenant is messy and you lose a good perspective tenant. One thought was I take everyone's information and filter out the ones that don't meet my criteria and schedule a showing once repairs are completed with one's that do meet the criteria (given that perspective tenant is still on the market). Any thoughts?

 I show them occupied as long as there is nothing major.  I once had a tenant who I swear let her kid finger paint the walls with chocolate pudding, she was a hoarder too.  I showed the unit and leased it up when she was still there.  I just warned people and said I have 3 days before they move in and I had professional cleaners coming day 1, painters day 2, and it would look like new on day 3

I have also done this when I am redoing the hardwood.

If I was updating the kitchen or bath I would wait to show it until it is 90% done

 Uh.... hoarding is typically a sign of mental illness.... good chance that wasn't chocolate.

I would hold off on showing it. Sometimes people can't use their imagination. Another great idea is if this is an apartment in a multi-family maybe you can show a unit from one of you other tenants, if similar. I always try to do what I think you are trying to do and get people right in there not to miss a month's rent or more. Best of luck to you!

I would hold off until everything is ready. You are trying to set a system where if they are immediately ready they can sign up that day (and for a place at top price). I would only show the best finished product – with the expectation that this is the normal appearance (and everything is in order) it’s also what you except back after the lease is up. So you can have a completed property condition checklist already in hand on the viewing day too. It can take time to get the right people in and hopefully not miss a month's rent but you can also pro-rate into a month & you’re still collecting security. Best of luck!

It depends on the tenants and nature of repairs. If I have a super neat, design savvy tenant I will show a unit - sometimes it works out better, especially if there are rooms that a less creative person might need help figuring out furniture placement. Most of the time it has been best to wait, as the tenants who are leaving are a mess of boxes and scuffed up walls.

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