How long to receive applications?

8 Replies

I have a vacant unit that I've been advertising for 2 weeks now - CL, Zillow network, and a sign in front of the property. It's in a small town of about 2,000 people.

I get 1-2 calls every day, and I've had quite a few showings now, but no one has submitted an application yet. Should I have had some applications by now? 

Should I lower the rent? Should I start some kind of special offer? I'm not sure if this is normal or not, as it's my first property.

Have any of the showings said anything negative about the property or the price?  Anything you can glean from comments?

That's a pretty small tenant pool.  On the other hand, there should be decent demand for rentals, unless it's unlike other small towns I've known.

There's something about the property that's putting people off, is all I can figure.  The way it's laid out, or your rules, or the price?

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People will come to see something that looks like it is priced right.

1. Are you pre-screening that they are suitable for the unit. I could have lots more people looking if I did not remind them of points in the ad on the screening call. Availability date, pet policy, income.

2. Are you discouraging people from applying by what you are saying or the length of your application? You want to come across selective but not rigid.

3. Lastly, If they show up and there is something that is always mentioned in the showing chance are that is the issue. You need to discuss that point before they come to see it, it will save you some time. Also if you leave out an important policy in your ad it has the same effect showings to people who won't rent from you. In the end you may need to adjust your price point on a negative feature.

One thing you can do is followup with an email to get feedback.  It can be neutral basically an email confirming.  I showed you the apartment at location x let me know if you have any additional questions or interest.  This may help answer what is wrong with the property although many will just not answer some are brutally honest.

One other caveat is in smaller areas if you are at a  certain lower price point you will get everyone in the county looking for housing.  Some think they can afford it and can't, some are looking for a screaming deal and expect a palace.   You need to weed those out in pre-screening.  I have one older home that I have to make a few points clear about old homes upfront to save me some time. 

@Sue K. I think part of it is I am not properly pre-screening. Actually, that may be a big part of it. I need to explain more about the property on the phone. Are there any sample scripts for pre-screens on the phone? When I answer, some people just say, "When can I see it?" How can I gently tell them I need to learn more about them first before showing it to them? What I've been saying is, "Do you have any questions for me?" but perhaps I should also reiterate everything else on the ad.

I think I will do what you say about following up! I have not been doing that. It seems most people here prefer to communicate via calling or texting, so I would have to follow up that way. 

Thank you everyone for your advice! 

I review critical points in the ad, you recall this is (insert ad title), price, etc. You are looking for yourself? they usually volunteer something about their situation. (this also helps you to insure you show to a complete group).   I then have a simple set of questions # people, # and type of pets, # cars, are you a smoker. I then let them know about income requirements, credit ect.  I let them know about any problematic aspects of the property.  Age, no onsite Laundry etc.  Once you know any issues for people try to mention it. say-there is no onsite laundry if that is important to you. not overemphasizing  just letting them know.

I agree with @Colleen F.  I put as much info in my ads as possible.  Then, when they call, go over the points in the ad including qualifications and info about the property.  I had a lot of people call who couldn't even remember which ad they were calling about, so I'd have to remind them of what was in the ad.  

The apts I rented out were also bare bones with no balcony, first come first served parking in a lot that wasn't big enough for everyone's cars, so they could end up parking on the street, no dishwashers, showers only, etc. And laundry across the street at the laundromat.  And no elevator (2 floors).  It does help to run this by them.  Some will still come hoping I was lying, I guess LOL.  And say things like, Oh, no balcony?  Sheesh.

You'll still get people who come who won't qualify, etc., or forgot there's no balcony, etc., but doing this does cut down on those people.

Originally posted by @Michelle O. :

Thank you, @Colleen F. and @Sue Kelly. This has all been very helpful! I'm going to start pre-screening with all of this in mind, and I'll start following up tomorrow and hopefully figure out what's going on.

 Good luck!