Showing Houses without being there

9 Replies

Hey BP nation, 

Question on property management... I am wanting to find a way to show our houses without being there mainly to be able to scale without having to drop lots of dollars on property management or employees. Some landlords leave a key at the property and have potential renters (highly phone screened) go and look at them. Some have codes on their doors that they change out. 

My concerns:

Squatters and having to evict.

Someone getting "injured" and suing 

Someone copying a key and then robbing the place later on


Have any of you found a way to combat these concerns or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Thanks!!!

-Zac

@Zachary Hendricks

This is a risky move in my opinion. You don’t know who you are letting into your apartment.

They will either know where a key is, know a code, or know your company shows apartments when no one is home.

You also have an insurance risk.

With the IoT coming around this may be possible in the future but for now... a lot of risk to save a little time.

You can work with a realtor to show apartments for you and pay them a loading fee. Just a thought

Originally posted by @Zachary Hendricks :

Hey BP nation, 

Question on property management... I am wanting to find a way to show our houses without being there mainly to be able to scale without having to drop lots of dollars on property management or employees. Some landlords leave a key at the property and have potential renters (highly phone screened) go and look at them. Some have codes on their doors that they change out. 

My concerns:

Squatters and having to evict.

Someone getting "injured" and suing 

Someone copying a key and then robbing the place later on


Have any of you found a way to combat these concerns or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Thanks!!!

-Zac

 Hey did you ever decide on or try any options that didn't require you to be there?

Originally posted by @Zachary Hendricks :

Hey BP nation, 

Question on property management... I am wanting to find a way to show our houses without being there mainly to be able to scale without having to drop lots of dollars on property management or employees. Some landlords leave a key at the property and have potential renters (highly phone screened) go and look at them. Some have codes on their doors that they change out. 

My concerns:

Squatters and having to evict.

Someone getting "injured" and suing 

Someone copying a key and then robbing the place later on


Have any of you found a way to combat these concerns or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Thanks!!!

-Zac

 This would be an ultra high risk activity. As someone with 1,000's of tenants & 60+ employees I can tell you that it'd be my dream to eliminate the cost of having a person there to show the rentals but the risk would be far too great. People are crafty, not only would they do the things you mentioned above they'd also go around & unlock all of the windows for easy access later on. When we train our staff we need to make sure they know they have to check every door & window before they leave as people will try & case the joint while staff is there in the home. Usually working in teams. One person distracts the leasing agent while the other cases the joint & sets it up for the break in. I can only imagine how vulnerable you'd be giving them freedom to roam alone. 

@Reggie Maggard No we sure didn't. We are still showing it. There are times when we will give a prospect the code to get in if we feel very comfortable with them, but that's not often and I wouldn't recommend it. There's just too much at stake with our assets and without proper security measures I don't feel comfortable doing it more often

Hi @Zachary Hendricks ,

Have you looked into any self-show services? I have no experience with using this, but it seems like an interesting and convenient concept.

As far as leaving a key...no way!!! Your concerns are legitimate.. that is a way to find yourself in such a horrible potential position.

I suggest video marketing, and sending a walk through video to everyone who is interested. Then encourage them to drive by the neighborhood, explain your rental criteria ect. If they are serious after all of that, then you could schedule to meet the renters for a showing. 

Another option would be to use a flat-fee rental service and that way any agent can show the property in your area. You could just use a simple lockbox, but only licensed agents with CSS could show.

Good luck:)

Originally posted by @James Wise :
Originally posted by @Zachary Hendricks:

Hey BP nation, 

Question on property management... I am wanting to find a way to show our houses without being there mainly to be able to scale without having to drop lots of dollars on property management or employees. Some landlords leave a key at the property and have potential renters (highly phone screened) go and look at them. Some have codes on their doors that they change out. 

My concerns:

Squatters and having to evict.

Someone getting "injured" and suing 

Someone copying a key and then robbing the place later on


Have any of you found a way to combat these concerns or am I overthinking the whole thing?

Thanks!!!

-Zac

 This would be an ultra high risk activity. As someone with 1,000's of tenants & 60+ employees I can tell you that it'd be my dream to eliminate the cost of having a person there to show the rentals but the risk would be far too great. People are crafty, not only would they do the things you mentioned above they'd also go around & unlock all of the windows for easy access later on. When we train our staff we need to make sure they know they have to check every door & window before they leave as people will try & case the joint while staff is there in the home. Usually working in teams. One person distracts the leasing agent while the other cases the joint & sets it up for the break in. I can only imagine how vulnerable you'd be giving them freedom to roam alone. 

 My plan is prescreen well or at least as good as I legally can. Get photo ID and current photo (assuming its real), setting up a time, and when they are physically there, open the unit and let them in, while FaceTiming or talking on phone with them, and driving there...prob arrive just about the time they are done. This allows me to never falsely drive to the property for a showing no show. Also, cameras everywhere...

But thanks for the tip to check all the windows...and the place will have a security system.

1. Identify the level of risk. I'm in a small, conservative town in Wyoming with great eviction laws so I'm not concerned about a squatter. If you are in Los Angeles, squatters and theft would be a major concern. @James Wise is correct that it could be difficult to control based on his size and market but I know other property managers with hundreds or thousands of units that have done thousands of self showings without an incident. You have to know the risk and determine what level you are willing to accept.

2. Mitigate the risk. Some managers screen the tenant on the phone, then require a copy of their picture ID, then require an active credit card (a 1-cent charge goes through to verify it's active). I require a picture of their driver's license next to the lock box so I can confirm I'm giving them the code for that particular box. I have them text me when they are done to confirm the unit is locked and the key is back in the box.

I've done fewer than 100 of these but it's worked without any issues and has saved me a lot of hours, particularly for homes that are 30-40 minutes away.

I am also blessed to live in a small conservative town.  I am showing a property tomorrow to prospective tenants and I am just leaving the door unlocked.  It is right next door to my personal residence.  There is nothing but appliances to steal, but we have not had 5 house burglaries in the last 5 years.  Most of the breakins we have had were things like liquor stores, and they were wild kids out for the booze.  I prefer to be present for showings, but have never had a problem with unlocked doors or unescorted showings and have done them for at least 12 years maybe more.  A lot will depend on your crime level, tenant base, and how well you know the prospective tenants.