Best way and day to show a rental property

18 Replies

Please advise on the best way to actually do a rental property showing. I read in a book one time that the best day of the week to show a rental in on Saturday morning at 7:30am. The reason being is because all the drunken party animals will still be in bed and are not responsible enough to wake up and go see a property so earl. In having iit at 7:30 am, you will screen out 90% of all the undesirable tenants who party hard and are irresponsible, whereas anyone who will wake up that early will be a very responsible tenant who can rent long-term. 

Also, do you do a one-on-one showing, or do you have multiple applicants show up all at once so there is a feeling of competition in the air, which is good for the landlord.  Please advise, and thanks in advance for all the awesome answers I know you'll be sending my way!

I typically have a 1 hour window say on a Saturday afternoon and tell everyone interested the same time. That way it creates a sense of urgency when they see all the other people walking around at the same time. I often have people standing in line to fill out an application. Then proper screening and background checks is key to finding the best tenant possible. Get a larger deposit than 1 month rent so that they pay the last months rent and leave the place in good condition.

If they don't have all the move in money up front move on to next person. That is a huge red flag.

Here's another issue...and a possible solution.  What happens when you can't make schedules work, or you end up stretching out the scheduled showing to that famous "later date", or when (this is pretty common) you have to keep making trips out to do showings only to end up with no shows. late shows, or overlapping shows?

The solution I found, thanks to my Architectural background, is to do virtual walkthroughs  of all my rentals.  this allows me to do preliminary showings without having to schedule anything, meaning:

1 - no lates, 

2 -no shows, 

3 - no overlapping showings

4 - immediate showings.

I have a questionnaire at the end with a part asking for a formal showing (if they're interested).  This also puts all those that watched on a tenant mailing list for future open/vacancies.  Works great.

I do an open house as well.  I advertise it a week or so in advance and ask anyone interested to email me.  Then a day before I email/text everyone just to remind them.  If I don't find what I want I set up another date and do it again.  This did turn into a mad house once with around 70 people showing up within a 2 hour window... But I got a great tenant out of it. 

These responses seem like they are all dealing with vacant units.  Does no one show the unit before the old tenants leave so your vacancy time is reduced? 

I do the same as others.  One showing a week and I give everyone that same time.  Usually a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  I also tell everyone who says they are coming to call me or else I will not be there.  If no body calls, I don't go.  Typically about half the people who say they are coming actually show up, and most of those will call.  Don't bother calling them to remind them.  They will say "sure, we'll be there" and then no show.

Have applications and pens available and encourage anyone who says they're interested to fill one out and pay the application fee (in cash.)

Originally posted by @Tim Kaminski :

These responses seem like they are all dealing with vacant units.  Does no one show the unit before the old tenants leave so your vacancy time is reduced? 

 Showing occupied units is a terrible idea. Don't do it. It creates so many more problems then it's worth. 

  • Will your existing tenant clean the house?
  • What will be broken once tenant moves out?
  • Will it be clean?
  • Will tenant actually move out on time?
  • What do you do with new tenant who gave their previous landlord a 30 day notice & needs to be in the unit on the date you promised them but now your existing tenant decided they don't want to move out & you need to evict them?
Originally posted by @Bobby H. :

Please advise on the best way to actually do a rental property showing. I read in a book one time that the best day of the week to show a rental in on Saturday morning at 7:30am. The reason being is because all the drunken party animals will still be in bed and are not responsible enough to wake up and go see a property so earl. In having iit at 7:30 am, you will screen out 90% of all the undesirable tenants who party hard and are irresponsible, whereas anyone who will wake up that early will be a very responsible tenant who can rent long-term. 

Also, do you do a one-on-one showing, or do you have multiple applicants show up all at once so there is a feeling of competition in the air, which is good for the landlord.  Please advise, and thanks in advance for all the awesome answers I know you'll be sending my way!

You will be surprised at the amount of no show's you will experience in this biz so group showings are the only logistically feasible way to do it. Setup a time & date & tell everyone to be there at once. 

@James Wise    It seems like you're saying the same 2 things with your points.  Will the tenant clean the house and what if the tenant decides to stay.  Going to play devils advocate here.

  • No the tenant will probably not do anything extra but maybe they are clean regardless. As long as its not a hoarder tenant then your prospective tenants will get a chance to see how the unit looks when lived in and decorated.
  • You should have a confirmation, in writing, that your current tenant will/will not be renewing their lease.  If they violate that, then yes, evict. OR bump their rent up if they decide to stay.  New prospective tenant's landlord would probably be relieved they decided to stay.  

To me, reducing the time the unit is vacant is huge.  Maybe I'm way off on this but many of the places I've rented out in the past have been while the current tenant was still there.  When you're showing the unit, the current tenant will constantly be reminded that 1. The Property Management is moving forward with this turnover and 2. There is a lot of interest in the property.

I don't think it will work with every tenant, especially some that you have had problems with and may bad talk you to the prospectives, or some that you know are VERY dirty.  Just don't think the option to showing occupied units and significantly reducing vacancy show totally be ruled out.

regarding showing when current tenant lives in unit, I take that case by case. I've struggled a little lately with showings. I want to ensure I get the best qualified tenants and I understand doing a set showing doesn't fit everyone's work schedule so I don't want to miss out on an opportunity. I keep thinking about my time being valuable and wondering if there's a way I can do a short pre-screening prior to showing a house. Just today I showed a lady that doesn't have a job a $700 house and her current rent is $300. She was a mess, I wasted 45 minutes and immediately I knew she would never qualify.
Originally posted by @Bobby H. :

Please advise on the best way to actually do a rental property showing. I read in a book one time that the best day of the week to show a rental in on Saturday morning at 7:30am. The reason being is because all the drunken party animals will still be in bed and are not responsible enough to wake up and go see a property so earl. In having iit at 7:30 am, you will screen out 90% of all the undesirable tenants who party hard and are irresponsible, whereas anyone who will wake up that early will be a very responsible tenant who can rent long-term. 

Also, do you do a one-on-one showing, or do you have multiple applicants show up all at once so there is a feeling of competition in the air, which is good for the landlord.  Please advise, and thanks in advance for all the awesome answers I know you'll be sending my way!

 This is the method I use, and has worked well for me.

How we screened 300+ tenants with ZERO phone calls! For FREE!

Since then, I've also added a video to it. So people can now see the unit without me having to go out there. If they're actually really interested, then they will request to see it live. The video answers most questions for most tenants:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Mr9-azmlVW1ggwLrKrrfcN5AXMW8Cu0L

Originally posted by @Tim Kaminski :

These responses seem like they are all dealing with vacant units.  Does no one show the unit before the old tenants leave so your vacancy time is reduced? 

 Yes my leases allow a 30 day period to show them while inhabited. I give the tenant plenty of notice, and try to show it to as many people at one time.

@Bobby H. If at all possible I try and set up a time when multiple groups/people can come look at the house at once. It has been scientifically proven that one of the most powerful forms of motivation is the "fear of loss." If somebody that is interested sees another party that may also be it will cause the original party to act much faster on getting the deposit, signing the lease, etc. 

To each his own in RE, but I also respectfully disagree on waiting for the property to be vacant. It's been my experience than the number one killer of this business is vacancy. We use gift cards to entice current tenants to clean up the property and allow us to show the property on short notice. They love it and so do we. It's a win/win for both parties.

@Bobby H. The only thing I would recommend is having someone who is ready to show the apartment when a qualified applicant wants to view the apartment. If you do not have that kind of availability then I would consider hiring someone to fill the apartment for you.

I heard of some landlord's doing a financial prescreening before hand to not waste time. They would ask serious potential tenants to go to a site called Finret.com and do a financial screening to proceed. Once they passed they could move forward. 

@Bobby H. I learn something new every day.:)

We use Rently lockboxes which makes the property available 24/7.  We have never had an issue and if we ever do we will cover any damages for the owner. Rently makes it very easy for tenants to view, apply for a property and also allows us to screen tenants in advance because they can't get in without credit card and ID.  Rently is not cheap but if you have more properties it's very efficient way to show and rent. 

For the properties that are still occupied, we do open house every week until we rent it. Also, we started doing video tours of the property so interested people can view the property virtually. 

This works for us, it probably wouldn't work for all properties in all areas.