Scheduling a one-on-one tour with an applicant may be the fastest way to fill a vacancy, because it takes advantage of a prospect’s own sense of urgency. Other advantages of a private tour include the ability to interview the candidate more in depth, and to protect the privacy of the current tenant.
When conducting individual tours, DO:
Evaluate the candidate before you agree to give a tour. That way, you don’t waste your time with unqualified applicants;
Show up early for the appointment and do a quick walk thru. If something isn’t right, call the applicant and reschedule.
DON’T meet the candidate for the first time at the property tour. That poses a significant risk to your personal security.
There are two advantages of an open house showing over the traditional one-on-one tour:
Open houses can create a sense of competition between candidates; and,
The landlord may be able to fill the vacancy with only one visit to the property.
DO take the time to advertise the open house is a number of different places to improve turnout. If you can’t generate interest, then you won’t create a sense of competition or urgency that scores multiple applications. In multifamily properties, you can ask other tenants to invite their friends or co-workers who may interested in moving. The more bodies in the rental during the open house, the better the chances of closing a lease.
DO stage the property so those touring can follow the flow on their own.
DO ask each attendee to sign in and get contact information.
DON’T host the open house alone. Meeting strangers at the property is risky. Bring along co-workers or friends, or stay in touch with someone by phone or computer during the open house.
This is a relatively new way of showing properties, taking advantage of technology to do the legwork. For example, Rently.com offers automated showings using a lockbox, eliminating all time spent touring properties. ShowMojo allows prospects to schedule showings on a pre-set calendar. These services take advantage of the popularity of using the Internet and mobile techology to search for rentals.
Advantages of these auto lead generation services is catching these busy applicants while they are searching, at times that you would miss them using only the phone, driving more traffic to the vacancy. It’s this same anonymity, however, that has the potential of creating problems for landlords, who may find they are showing to unqualified candidates.
DO work closely with the service so that your tenant qualifications are clear.
DO monitor the results, including any comments from visitors.
If using an auto-showing service with a lockbox, DO check the property routinely for any damage.
The showing service also may offer online rental applications or leases along with the showings. DON’T lease to a tenant you have never met in person, and follow your our tenant screening and leasing policies.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.