Part of being a successful landlord is learning to treat owning a rental property as a business. If you want to turn your rental property into a successful business, you need to separate yourself from the regular landlords. Regular landlords just show up, successful landlords have their ducks in a row!
Get Your Ducks in a Row
Rather than just tell tenants about the property when they show up, or hope they remember everything from an ad they may have seen, prepare some info sheets on your property. Then as they arrive you can hand the tenants the property information.
Most tenants have multiple properties they are trying to choose from and this is a great way to stand out from those other properties. If you provide them with a handout that has large color pictures captured in the best possible way, details on the neighborhoods schools, shopping, bus information and everything else you can think of, who will stand out? Especially when they compare your information to their vague recollection they have of the other properties.
If you don’t think this would be effective, why do you think realtors have all those color info sheets at homes they sell? There is also an extra bonus that comes with preparing your info sheet. You’ve now become even more familiar with the area and it’s far easier to answer any questions that can pop up out of the blue.
Take it to the Next Level
After you’ve been a landlord for several years, hopefully you’ve had many happy tenants and provided a great home for them. If you fit into this category, it shouldn’t be a problem to get a few testimonials from your former tenants before they have moved onto their next home.
Why not take these testimonials and have them set up in various spots in the rental property? We’ve purchased several of the acrylic display stands from office supply stores for just this purpose. Having some positive words about you as a landlord on display can have a huge impact on a tenants’ decision.
We try and get testimonials from all of our tenants just for purposes like this. The more positive indicators a tenant has about you, the higher the likelihood if it comes down to your property versus another the odds will be in your favor of getting chosen as the preferred destination. By being more prepared than most landlords, you will put yourself head and shoulders above them.
Book Crowds – Build Excitement
If you’ve ever read any psychology books that talk about crowd behaviors, this is right up your alley. This is also directly comparable to the situations you often see at auctions where bids get pushed up just because of the environment.
One caveat with this, this particular landlord tip can really depend on the state of the rental market and the property, but if you can schedule viewing periods for prospective tenants to all show up at once or in a certain time frame, you are set. Usually this is most effective the first week your ads are running and the majority of calls are coming in. It becomes harder as the ad gets older and traffic and calls decrease, so it’s important to implement this immediately.
You can make this work by booking times when you will show the property and then booking viewings into those slots. As people call in, and after they get through your screening questions, then them know the two time slots you have available for viewing.
I like to pick a Friday evening from 7 until 8 or 9 depending on the response to my ads, (OK, I don’t like to work Friday evening, but hey it’s a business and if I sacrifice one Friday to get it filled versus twenty different days, I’m happy!) and then a Saturday afternoon from 1 until 3. This covers off the best times for tenants to view, although I will also show units on a Saturday and Sunday as well if it works better for me. This also works best if there are two of you showing the property.
I also prefer to book the viewings in 10 to 15 minutes intervals depending on how many people are coming to view. This creates a sense of urgency as I make sure to tell people there are people before or after them, whatever the case may be and raises the concern of potential tenants that someone else may get the property instead of them.
Whichever you choose, use the time you have with them to show the features of the property and get a feeling as to whether these prospects would make good tenants for you. It’s very handy if you have your list of questions along with the notes you had during your original prescreening chat with them. You can re-ask the questions for clarity and to confirm you receive the same answer!
As your prospective, new tenants view your property, you should be able to gather a sense of whether they will be a good fit for you or not. Once the tour ends, you can have them fill out one of your applications right on the spot, if you like them and they may be a good fit. Your goal should be to gather three or four good applications with each set of showings, but this really depends on the current rental market, your advertising and your times.
The other tactic I use with less than stellar potential applicants is to hand them the application (if they even ask for one) and ask them to fax it back to us. Realistically, if they don’t fit the profile you have for your renter, you shouldn’t focus too much on their application. Unless someone was crunched for time the applications filled out in person receive first priority, plus you can review them while they are there and clarify any messy hand writing or unclear answers.
The biggest aspect of coordinating the showings like this is to get that excitement going, it’s all part of the complete system of putting new tenants in as quickly as possible and ensuring your time isn’t wasted.
If you’d like to read more about how psychology can help you as a landlord, I’d really recommend you check out the book Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. I actually use several of the techniques in that book within my landlording business.
Bill Biko has become “the Educated Landlord” through both training and the school of life. With almost a decades experience of land lording Bill’s been mentoring and assisting landlords for the last five years and you can find more of his tips and articles to make your life as a landlord easier, more profitable and less stressful at www.TheEducatedLandlord.com.