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It’s little secret that the internet age has fundamentally changed the real estate market. According to a joint study by Apartments.com and Google, 72 percent of renters start their apartment search online. But even as real estate goes increasingly digital, it’s important to remember the importance of a house showing. Sure, you can post your property on every real estate website known to man and spruce it up with professional photos, but there’s nothing more convincing for a potential tenant than walking through the property itself, experiencing it for themselves. So when you have potential renters on your doorstep ready to see if your property is right for them, it’s crucial to make a positive and lasting first impression. Doing so requires avoiding some common pitfalls.

Additional Reading: How to Improve Your Rental Website

Do… make sure every part of the house is accessible. If your property boasts ample storage closets or a detached garage, make sure potential tenants won’t have any trouble getting to them. The garage might seem more of a nuisance if they have to weave their way through your DIY lawnmower renovation project only to find that the garage is filled to the brim with other loose odds and ends. If there’s a closet with a lot of space, make sure it shows.

Do… let the viewers know what perks there are living in the neighborhood. Remember that the guests are trying to envision if they could live in the area, not just the property. Do they have a dog? Make sure to mention the pet store just a block away. Find out what their priorities are. A Realtor.com 2013 survey found that over 50% of home buyers were willing to give up accessibility to shopping in exchange for good neighborhood schools. A renter’s priorities might be different, but keep in mind what potential renters are looking for.

Additional Reading: Renting to a New Generation: Are You Ready?

Do… be honest when answering difficult questions. Even answers that might be technically true can still be disingenuous, and you don’t want to mislead potential tenants or earn a bad reputation. If potential tenants walk out of your showing with a bad taste in their mouths, or sign a lease under false pretenses, they’ll be telling their friends about it.

Don’t… be the “helicopter landlord.” Potential tenants don’t want a landlord or realtor hovering over them every step of the way. Allow them to tour the property at their own pace. If something needs explaining, feel free to do so; otherwise, if they have questions, they’ll ask you. Guests of a house showing will wonder what kind of landlord you are based on your behavior. Don’t give them a bad first impression.

Don’t… surprise your current tenants (if you have them) by giving them short notice of a house showing. First of all, it’s unfair to them. They have their own schedules, and, after all, are paying to live on the property. Always give them advanced notice, and if something comes up, ask them politely if they can help you out on short notice.

Don’t… be willing to accept the first person or group to say yes. It might be a relief to know someone will be renting from you for another year or so, but don’t forget about the concerns on your end about tenants. Will they be a good fit for your property? More importantly, are they trustworthy?

The bottom line… be attentive to your showings.  It’s an important step in the rental process and may be one of the few times you directly interact with your tenants at any length.  Treat it as a marketing opportunity for yourself and your business.  Remain professional, honest, and considerate, and you’ll be in great shape!

 

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