Lots of interest - no applications! Is this normal?

16 Replies

Hi everyone!  We're working on getting our second buy and hold property in Allentown, PA rented and are finding it harder getting applications in. We've been showing the property for the last 3 weeks (just starting our third weekend) and had a ton of interest (probably over 200 inquiries) as well as a good number of showings where we get generally positive feedback on the property.  We also have lots of people asking for applications, which we do online using one of the common platforms, but only 1 application so far, which was unfortunately unqualified.  Any thoughts on what might be going wrong?  Or is this normal for the process and we just need to be patient and hope for more applications as we get closer to the end of the month?  Really appreciate any feedback!

Generally when this happens it’s because the price is a shade above market, but it’s hard to say without knowing more details.  What are you doing in terms of marketing?

@Ryan Frampton

Share your listing with us and we can tell you if you're overpriced. A lot of us have rentals in the Lehigh Valley and can provide constructive feedback. FYI--the hundreds of inquiries is normal in this area. I think you will save yourself some time and energy by only doing showings once a week within a 2 hour time block.

I was thinking the same as Kris. Maybe the pictures make it look better than it is in real life. 200 views is a lot and a clear demonstration something is wrong. 

1. Market is saturated with options

2. Property is over-priced compared to the competition

3. Pictures/video make it look better than it really is

4. House is too nice for the community it sits in

5. They don't like you as a Landlord

6. It smells funny

With 200 showings, you should have been asking for feedback. See if you can contact some of the more promising prospects and ask why they didn't rent. It would only take a few responses to narrow it down.

I have a bunch of units in Allentown center city. This is not the norm.

What price is it listed for? 

What utilities does it include? 

& what size is the unit? 

My last vacancy I filled in 5 days. 

In center city allentown my ratio has been for every 100 inquiries 10 people show to look at the place and there is usually only 1 qualified applicant out of those. I do group showings only.

Originally posted by @Shelby Ek :

In center city allentown my ratio has been for every 100 inquiries 10 people show to look at the place and there is usually only 1 qualified applicant out of those. I do group showings only.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work lol.

I usually get 20 inquiries the first 3-5 days. Vet them over the phone quickly & have about 10 people show up for a group showing. Usually have 3-4 qualified candidates to pick from.

My requirements are: 3x income, no evictions, no criminal record. 

In center city as well

Thanks everyone for the feedback!  For marketing, we have it on all the major sites (zillow, craiglist, zumper, hotpads, avail, apartments.com, realtor.com, etc.) and a sign out front.  We haven't done 200 showings - more like 20-25, which sounds consistent with the funnel/conversion rate @Shelby Ek described and the feedback is almost always positive. We do give out info on the application process which we thought was pretty standard ($45 app fee which goes to third party credit/background check; 600+ credit score; 3X gross income; no evictions; no smoking; positive references and background check). Tenant's responsible for all utilities and yard maintenance/snow removal as it's a small SFH townhouse. We have been limiting showings to 1 night a week for a couple of hours and about 3-5 hours on one weekend day (including an open house). We thought the pricing was assertive (i.e., not under market) but not out of market as there are certainly some comps at or above what we're asking, but maybe that's the problem, although the feedback we've heard is that Allentown market is pretty tight for good rentals right now.

Check out Rentometer or another rent calculation site. I did a quick search of the property and it does look like you are slightly above market for that area. If showing this weekend doesn't bear any fruit, I would knock off $25-50 and see if you get more qualified applicants.

@Ryan Frampton You have gotten some really insightful responses that should help you out a lot. I think you also ought to take a closer look at your process. Your goal should be to eliminate potential candidates as early as possible. You can do that by stating base requirements up front; phone interview, do some online checking-facebook etc. 

Don't show the apartment to lookers. Showing is one of the last things in our process-we say yes or no to them and not the other way around. All the best!

If this was my property in the price range your asking I'd take down the weird curtains, paint the  walls with a modern neutral color like a light gray or beige.  I'd definitely replace the mismatched kitchen appliances.  Maybe straighten up the fence/backyard area a touch as well.  This should give you a much broader audience to rent to in my humble opinion.

@Ryan Frampton If your property can stimulate lots of people's interest, I think the most reasonable reason is that your price is higher than the average price in the market, or they think your property doesn't worth the price. Try to reduce the price in a suitable range and see whether it works.