How to avoid no shows for unit viewings

34 Replies

I have had a lot of trouble with no shows for unit viewings lately (mostly at multi-family properties, not big apartment complexes). I go through the process of initial contact with someone who puts in an inquiry (via email, text, or through zillow/trulia listing), follow up with talking on the phone and setting up a date and time for a showing. The evening before or morning of the showing I text them to confirm. I've had a number of people not respond (in which case I don't send someone out - usually the property owner - for the showing), but in many cases the person confirms and then just doesn't show. 

How can I avoid this happening? It is such a waste of time and extremely aggravating. 

Any input/ideas are greatly appreciated! 

My company manages a good number of units in Central NJ. This is the process we use that works very well.

#1 we create an open house. Real life example is one we're doing this Sunday 12-2pm. That is the time.

#2 We ask the tenant what time they want to book between 12-130. Once booked we ask them, PLEASE text us an hour before to confirm they're coming.

It's amazing how many people don't follow directions. 95% of the time, people who don't confirm, don't show. If you're only going to show once or twice a week, I would suggest our open house format. If you're showing multiple times, then DO NOT go to the property unless they text you. That's for A-C class stuff.

For D class properties, throw this all out the window.

@Dana Boyes

It is super frustrating. I do something similar to what @Peter Tverdov does but I do an even shorter time frame. If it is a vacant house then I do an open house but just tell everyone the same time. I want everyone there at the same time to increase competition and minimize my time spent in an empty house. My convo goes like this "I will be doing showings on Saturday at 12pm. If you would like to see the house you are welcome to stop by at that time. We review all applications based on a first come first served basis, so if you think you might be interested in putting in an application I would recommend getting there right at 12."  

For individual showings on properties (I only do it this way if the house is occupied), I will only confirm the showing once they send me a picture of their photo ID. I let them know I will be reaching out to confirm the day of and if I don't hear from them no one will be there to show the house. I usually text about an hour before their scheduled showing to confirm that I still need to send someone over to meet them. If they don't respond, no one goes out. If they do respond and confirm, it's unlikely they are going to flake out.  

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I group showings together, and at a time convenient for myself.  3 or 4 people together, so it increases my chances someone is showing up.

@Dana Boyes when it comes to tenants viewing properties, most of them have plenty of times and windows to check out places.

Most people who call after a post, I tell them either very soon would work or we also have showings available between this or that time, what time do you want to set it for. I use that same window for all the shows and I do not mind if I double book. A lot of time one fails to show up anyways. If a potential tenant can only see it during very limited hours, I would want to take the time and show them but realistically you can’t do that for everyone so you nudge them to your time schedule.

Mini open houses have been great!

It's happening a lot. Nowadays people are thoughtless, inconsiderate and rude. To combat this, tell all applicants "the leasing agent will be doing an Open House Saturday between 11am and 2:00pm."

If they don't show up, they weren't serious applicants.

@Dana Boyes I hold open houses usually on a sat/sun around noon. Even for me, i would rather go to an open house than contact someone, set up dates, etc. It kinda forces you to be like ok this is the easiest way to view the property, i gotta go.

Open houses only....

The only time I will do a "appointment" is if I have something to do at the unit anyway......need to fix something, drop something off etc..... I need to go there anyway, so if they no show I just do what I needed to do and leave

If you want to do the "no contact or I don't show" technique, I would recommend you have a short window...... i.e if you don't text me or call me an hour before the appointment time, I want be there.......
If they "confirm" at 8 AM but the appointment isn't until 1 PM, that's too long for them to bail.

Open house group showing is best...... they show up or they don't.....

This actually happens a lot. Although there are so many tenant inquiries, not so many people come in and see the property. You can set up an open house time and tell all the tenant inquiries at that time so that they can come once. That way you don't need to wait for them for different times. 

I've heard of landlords using automated software (not sure of the specific product) that automatically sends the potential tenant(s) a text reminding them of the time and for them to respond with a yes or a no as to whether they will be there at that specific time to view the property. 

When someone is a no-show I note their name and don't show that person any properties in the future. 

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@Dana Boyes

I will book numerous people for the same time. If 1 shows I didn’t waste my time. No shows are the worst, especially when the property isn’t 5 mins away..

I've had people text me that they were on their way and would be there in xx minutes. Never showed, then they go dark with no response to text, phone, etc.
So now, since we refurb the properties ourselves, I start listing it about the time we will have the inside completed. I'm usually working on the property daily and people that have self screened themselves with our tenant profile can stop by between x and xx if they want to view it. If they don't show, I just keep painting or pounding nails or whatever. Stops my time from being wasted. I've driven 35 minutes one way to meet a no show and realized I needed a new system.

ive gone out at 9 at night to show a property and my homes are an hour away ! Guess what ? they didn’t show ! Talk about frustrating . Then I got smart and took the advice your reading on here . Do group showings bundle 3 or more folks for the same time or in 15 minute increments apart .

@Dana Boyes this past year I had to completely re-lease a 19 unit building locally here in Berwyn. I did only group showings on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. I do everything electronically and only schedule people who have passed the pre-screening questions. I normally tried to schedule a minimum of five people, but have had as many as 10-12 on the schedule. This allows me to always have someone there to show the apartment too. I was able to fill the whole building while we were renovating it, and I never had a time where I was alone for the showing!

@Dana Boyes I think you are doing everything the way I would do it except the text the day of. Text them closer to the appointment time, 2-3 hours before. A lot of tenants do not plan their lives any more in advance than that so if they are confirming the night before they are coming they either forget by the next day or just choose to do something else. 

@Dana Boyes

If they've prequalified and everything looks good, do a virtual showing. Have them snap a pic of their drivers license and send it to you, then give them the lockbox code so they can go in and view the property. Have them call you afterwards to confirm the key was put back, and answer any questions they might have. Trust me, you'll free up a ton of your time.

@Dana Boyes I instituted a policy that requires prospective tenants to complete a (free) application including an upload of a drivers license and paystub before we schedule a showing. We schedule at least 2/day (usually 3/day) showings over two or three conscecutive days for the first 5-9 pre-qualified applicants. Once I show the property we offer the property in order of application to interested, pre-qualifed applicants and charge a $25/per person background check at this time. I have had only one no-show since I started this process. This is possible (I think) because we usually have some of the nicest looking units in each neighborhood/price point where we compete.

To pre-qualify, we verify employment and do the free court records checks for evictions and criminal history. Sometimes people will state an objection to providing so much info before seeing a unit, but I explain that it is for my safety -- I'm meeting strangers often at vacant apartments, or in the case of an occupied unit, for my tenant's safety since they wouldn't want criminals going through their home. Most people get it when our policy is expained.