My first tenant turnover. I'm a little confused.. Please help

19 Replies

My tenant will be leaving October 15. I have a family that wants to move in Nov 1st. The new family would like to see the property before they commit to it. And I would need to screen them. 

Do I need to wait until the current tenant moves out and I've repainted the place before moving forward with the potential new tenant (showing, application)? I think they'll have to give their landlord a 30-60 day notice. 

Or do I show them the property while the current tenant is there (it's a moving mess right now)? 

Thank you in advance! 

what does your lease state in regards to showing the property during the 30 day notice? Most templates have something written that allow you to show the property once notice has been given.  But, if the property is in bad shape and could be a turnoff to applicants, I would wait and refurb the second the tenants move-out. 

Originally posted by @Moises R. :

My tenant will be leaving October 15. I have a family that wants to move in Nov 1st. The new family would like to see the property before they commit to it. And I would need to screen them. 

Do I need to wait until the current tenant moves out and I've repainted the place before moving forward with the potential new tenant (showing, application)? I think they'll have to give their landlord a 30-60 day notice. 

Or do I show them the property while the current tenant is there (it's a moving mess right now)? 

Thank you in advance! 

As long as your current tenant is OK with you showing the place AND the prospective tenant understands that the apartment will be delivered in better condition, I would show it.

The prospective tenant gets "first dibs" on an apartment that hasn't even hit the market and while you await Nov. 1, you'll already have an application in hand (and hopefully an approved tenant). You'll cut your holding costs significantly as you'll only have the place vacant for 15 days while you clean and repaint. 

Its a win-win... again, as long as both tenants are OK with this. 

Have you done any pre-screening yet? At this part I am not sure what these prospects have done - did they just contact you in response to advertising, or did they fill out a full application. Did they pay an application fee? Are you pre-marketing with photos from when it was last vacant?

I disagree that anyone has first dibs before a formal and complete application (according to whatever application process you have in place) is in.

Regarding the showings, check the lease and also use your judgment. If the lease allows you to show the property but it's in poor shape, weigh that against the fact that these prospects are not likely to wait a month before finding another place to rent. If the lease is silent on the matter, simply ask your tenants if they'd be amenable to a quick showing. Try to find out how often/what days and times they're open to, as this may not be your last inquiry before they vacate.

@Moises R.

Unless the unit is in near-perfect condition, I would NOT show it.  Most prospects (most people) have no imagination as to what a unit might look like after it is cleaned/renovated.  You can show previous photos of the vacant unit, take applications, but I've found showing an occupied unit in most cases is a waste of everyone's time.

Thank you all for the answers! The potential tenant is someone who got my number through a neighbor. I've only pre-screened them over the phone.  

I think the potential tenants would be turned off by the messiness of the current tenant's moving process. 

If I were to send the potential tenants photos of when it was last vacant, would I also have them complete a rental application before seeing the place in person? And would I offer them them place, take deposit before a walk through? 

It almost seems like a walk through right now would be easiest

There is no commitment on either end at this point, or even after you send pictures, let them do a walk-through, or receive a complete application. I think that since the current tenants are not moving out for a month, you almost don't have much to lose here; these prospects are not likely to lease the property sight-unseen (if they do, that's a huge red flag), and they also likely won't still be looking when the unit is finally vacant, re-painted, and cleaned 5 weeks from now (if they are, that's another red flag). So, you could send them pictures, explaining that the place may look slightly different once you re-paint. You could try to do a walk-through as well.

If they don't like it based on either the pictures or the messy-mid-move walk-through, I don't think you'll have lost anything because the alternative is waiting 5 weeks, at best. If they do like it, you can make the application available to them. They'd pay the application fee, you would screen them, and then you'll know, before the property is vacant, if they qualify or not. At this point, they still haven't committed; if they really love the place they can give you a reservation fee/holding deposit/security deposit - whatever process you have set up for this - and sign a lease. I think there is always some risk in signing a lease before your property is vacant; your tenants could conceivably be late moving out, or you could run into some issues getting the property rent-ready right on schedule. 

Definitely share in a similar thought as Marc; wait to show the place when it is ready. Definitely ok to use the photos, but I would focus on getting the place together once this tenant has left so you can get it listed and rented as soon as possible. As far as the family, I can understand them wanting to see the place before signing anything (always a good idea to view a place before signing a lease for it). You have some time, so do things right; make sure you properly screen everyone.

I advertise before a unit is vacant with a date for occupancy and a date for showings.

i don't show a property until it's vacant for a variety of reasons.  Messiness during the move, not knowing who you are showing to could also result in you showing the refrigerator to one person and the other person may pocket an iPad in the bedroom, or your current tenant being there during the visit like "yeah that garbage disposal jams all the time"!  The only time I would make an exception is if it's a personal referral from an existing or ex tenant, then I would show with a "pardon the mess" warning.

i don't ask for an application until i have pre-qualified them during the showing.

@Moises R. showing an occupied property can be a problem if the current tenant isn't taking care of the property. However, I do show my properties before vacant and I do that to avoid vacancy. I usually end up with back to back tenants. If the property requires painting, repairs or cleaning, it is often not possible to avoid vacancy.

I do high level prescreening before showing properties, but not full application. Some rental agencies do full application, but that is when they have multiple properties available. For just one property, it seems excessive to require full application to just show it. 

I would never take a deposit before showing the property or approving an application. I did that early on in my investing career and it lead to problems.

Originally posted by @Moises R. :

My tenant will be leaving October 15. I have a family that wants to move in Nov 1st. The new family would like to see the property before they commit to it. And I would need to screen them. 

Do I need to wait until the current tenant moves out and I've repainted the place before moving forward with the potential new tenant (showing, application)? I think they'll have to give their landlord a 30-60 day notice. 

Or do I show them the property while the current tenant is there (it's a moving mess right now)? 

Thank you in advance! 

 If it's okay in the lease, I don't see why not. The only thing is that you may scare some potential applicants way if the house doesn't look nice. Some people can't see past the messy-ness. 

@Moises R. Unlike most of the others, I show my properties before they are vacant. However, my handful of properties are A, maybe B type places with tenants who decorate nicely and keep things in great shape. I believe that has actually helped my rent the places, although I have had little turnover so same size is small. Also it helps keep vacancy times to a bare minimum.

@Moises R.   I also show my places while they are rented.  Most leases allow you to show the property with 24 hours notice.  Try to minimize the disruption to the current tenant.  Explain that you will be repainting (if that is true).  On the other hand if the condition of the home due to the current tenant is a mess...that's another story.  If all you plan on doing is painting, I'm guessing the place is in good shape.

@Moises R.

It’s a catch 22. If you show it now and it’s messy, people most likely won’t like it. But if you wait, those same people will most likely find another place to rent anyway.

I say go ahead and show it. If it doesn’t rent, you’ll have new customers when it rolls around after you’ve cleaned it up and it’s empty.

I’m going through the same thing right now. I’m choosing to show it, even though a few things need to be fixed after tenant moves out. I have posted photos from when it was empty, and I’ve explained to people; “if you’d like to see it now, it is in the middle of a move and not show room clean. If you’d like to wait for a couple weeks, let me know, but it may be rented by then”.

@Marc Winter completely agree here. Also, found that showing our property before we cleaned up had good tenants passing and questionable ones interested. After we waited until it was cleaned up and right, the prospective tenants that we interested were better quality for it. Well worth the wait in my opinion.

I'd never show a house with a tenant who was adverse to it. That being said, my lease requires them to allow showings and to keep it clean during their last month.

My typical procedure is to notify the tenant that I will be placing the sign in the yard(with a coming soon sign rider). I will also tell them I would like to reserve Sundays from 2-4pm for showings. I'll list the unit and begin screening and scheduling showings. I've had good success doing this and have had turnarounds as little as a day.

Don't credential until after they see it and want it. Showing timing all depends on if the place is well in order and clean when the potential tenant wants to see it and if you have an agreement or know the tenant is cool with others looking at the place. Sometimes it is actually a benefit for a potential tenant to see what the rental looks like with someone in it. If your tenant did a great job decorating and utilizing the space tastefully than that will definitely be a plus to a visiting potential. If its a mess or damaged than its a no go.

@Moises R. Given the info you have provided this is how I would proceed:

1. Run the new prospective tenants through the normal credit, criminal, eviction, income checks to make sure they even qualify before putting to much effort into them.

2. If they qualify tell them the property will be available to show after the current tenant moves out. You only get one shot to make a first impression in terms of the condition of the house. Make it count.