Once you’ve decided how you’re going to show your rental, you need to make sure the prospect meets you there with as much of their needed information as possible. You don’t want to make unnecessary trips showing the property if you can help it, and having all needed paperwork and information required by you at the time of the showing will go a long way toward preventing these extra trips.
When you have the prospect on the phone, either from your initial interview or when you call back to schedule a showing, you need to tell him or her this: “I’m going to ask you to bring some things when you come to see the unit. Please grab a pen and paper and write down the following…”
Tell them you’ll need three personal references from each adult who will sign the lease, including names and phone numbers (I want to speak to at least two references, so I always ask for three. Parents and grandparents don’t count.) Ask them to bring the following:
¢ Past landlord’s names, addresses, and phone numbers.
¢ Copy of a current driver’s license or photo ID
¢ Recent pay stubs (I recommend asking for two months’ worth.)
¢ Solid verification of other income source, such as alimony check stubs, regular pension, or government support check stubs, and so forth. (You want concrete proof that they have solid, reliable income. Have them show you proof that they have solid, reliable income. Have them show you proof for at least two recent, consecutive months. This is a must, because you don’t want to be chasing government agencies on the phone trying to verify this.)
¢ If self-employed, a copy of the last two years’ tax returns and three to six months of bank statements.
¢ One or two current utility bills with their present address on it (optional).
¢ One other source of ID or credit card (optional)
¢ Bank name and phone number (You might want this to verify they have an active account. This may also be optional. Some landlords want bank account numbers, but with the increased identity theft, tenant prospects are more reluctant to give that out. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t give out any account information, either, but you can ask.)
¢ Cash for their credit check and for the holding deposit (if you require that deposit at time of showing). If your rental market is extremely hot, I would think about collecting a healthy deposit to hold a unit.
¢ Any other bits of information you require that are not mentioned here.
Last but not least, let prospective tenants know they will need all adult parties present who will be occupying the rental. Also let them know to plan for at least 30 minutes for the showing and to fill out paperwork if they like the rental.
Once this list is given and verified as understood by the prospect, set the appointment time. Give precise directions, including north, south, east, and west, notable streets, and easy-to-locate landmarks on how to get there. Remember that not all people are good with compass-type of directions, so include left and right turns, number of stoplights or signs, and approximate mileage between these streets and landmarks.
If you can’t do this properly, drive to your rental from all possible directions and write a complete set of directions down. (You could get your directions off MapQuest, although it may not have the designated landmarks.)
You should keep this set of directions in your file of paperwork on that rental so you have them for future reference. Don’t lose a great prospect because you gave poor directions. As you conclude your call, again give prospects a precise meeting time and your cell phone number. Have them repeat what they need to bring, the complete directions, the time of your appointment, and your cell number.
Ask them to call you 30 minutes ahead of their scheduled time (or whatever time you need before you leave your house) to confirm that they will still be on time. Also, be sure to thank them for their time. Unless you live within walking distance of the rental, use these techniques. You’ll be glad you did.
The above tips are shared by Don Conrad, a regular adviser to MrLandlord.com and author of the audio CD How to that Find Quality Tenant, available at LandlordBooks.com. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.