Prospective tenants appear super interested, then flake

4 Replies

I have several multi-family rentals. I haven't had trouble finding tenants in the past, but I'm trying to fill multiple vacancies this summer and keep running into this issue: Prospective tenants express a great deal of interest during showings and tell me they want to sign a lease as soon as possible. But when I send them my application (which I send by email) they say they need to think about it some more, and then never contact me again. Or they've decided to go with another place. Or whatever.

The bottom line is they flake, despite having seemed very interested during the initial showing.

In some cases this has happened after I have agreed to do second showings for seemingly interested prospects, usually so they could bring more family members along etc. The double showings suck up more of my time, and make it extra annoying when they flake.

Any thoughts on what I'm doing wrong? Would it be better to have the prospects fill out paper applications on the spot if they are interested, before their minds wander elsewhere?

I also wonder if my problem has been that I've been advertising and showing my units 3-4 weeks before they are available for move-in. Renters looking for a new place 3-4 weeks out, as opposed to next weekend, might be more inclined to keep browsing because there is less pressure. But that hasn't been a problem for me in the past.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts. This is a new issue (I've run into this behavior occasionally in the past, but lately it seems to be happening with every other showing) and it is perplexing me.

There could be so many reasons, simply put yourself in their shoes; when would you flake even if you are initially interested?  Just thinking out loud, a reason could be that more research from tenant shows they can get better values, either lower rent for similar house in the neighborhood, or same rent but a bigger/better house.  You have called out another one which is the timing.

Following up with them to get some feedbacks wouldn't be so hard?

Don't take it personally and don't waste your time trying to convince them of anything. Send the application and instructions and move on. Either they apply or they don't. This is a very common occurrence, just assume everyone is lying about their intentions, and keep looking for a qualified renter until you have money in hand.

Thanks for the comments. I have asked for feedback when they flake. The only one who gave a meaningful answer just cited minor stuff in the apartment (like not liking the color of the tub, etc.). She said she thought the rent was fair.

Maybe I have just been luckier in the past in finding tenants quickly than I realized. It helps to hear this is a common issue.

I’ve found that if you’re ‘losing’ interested tenants, the rent might be a bit too high. Maybe not too high for what you’re offering, but there are other options for them that are cheaper. Most tenants would rather save $50/mo for an older apartment.

When I have that issue, I usually drop the rent $25 or $50, and have multiple applications fighting for it.