A rental showing is a landlord’s first chance to meet interested renters in person. During showings, you’re able to walk prospective renters through the unit, hit all their sell points, and answer any questions renters might have. Few renters want to sign a lease without physically seeing the property, which makes rental showings a must.
Showings come in two forms: individual showings and open houses. Individual showings are one-on-one tours that you schedule with renters who contact you asking for a tour. Because renters typically request showings of this kind, you know they’re at least moderately interested in actually signing a lease.
Open houses, on the other hand, are open to any renter who might want to walk through your unit. With these, you set a time and advertise the open house through your marketing channels. Open houses can effectively stir up interest among renters in your area. However, there is a chance that passersby will stop in with no intention of signing a lease.
Individual showings are more common for rental properties, but either showing type can help you lock down applicants. Beyond persuading renters to submit applications, showings also provide you with the opportunity to start forming relationships with interested renters and begin pre-screening applicants. And even if renters choose not to apply for the property they tour, doing showings connects you with local renters and improves the visibility of your business.
Below, we go over everything you need to know about showings. From what to do before and after the tour to the showing itself, this guide will make rentals showings a breeze.
Components of Showings
Showings can be broken down into three sections — the pre-tour, the tour, and the post-tour. Here, we take a look at these three components and everything you should be doing for each.
The pre-tour section of showings is easy; all you have to do is schedule a time. We have a few tips to make sure your scheduling is effective.
Scheduling an individual showing mostly requires you to coordinate your availability with the renter’s. Although you’re both busy people, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Just be sure to allocate enough time to tour the entire unit and answer any questions they might have.
For open houses, you’ll want to set a time that will work for most renters. Typically, open houses are held on weekend afternoons and last about two hours. No one wants to work on the weekend, but this will increase your chances of getting a good turnout.
Regardless of whether you’re doing an individual showing or an open house, showing an occupied unit can be tricky. Many states have laws about how much notice you have to give tenants before your scheduled showing, but it’s best to provide them with plenty of time to prepare. This way, they have a chance to tidy up and make plans to be out of the unit.
Once you’ve scheduled your showing, it’s time to think about the actual tour. Being prepared ensures renters will be impressed with the showing and increase the chances that they’ll request an application at the end.
Because showings are often the first time that you meet potential renters, you want to be sure to make a good first impression. Greeting renters with a smile will make them feel welcome in your rental, and dressing professionally will show that you value their interest in your property.
Arrive on Time
You should never be late to showing. In fact, it’s best to get to the unit early so that you’re prepared when renters arrive. Showing up late appears unprofessional and gives renters a bad impression.
Personalize the Tour
Personalized showings demonstrate to renters that you’re grateful for their interest in your property and that you’re committed to providing them with a quality tour. An easy way to individualize your tours is to learn and use renters’ first names. You can also ask renters friendly questions about themselves in order to get to know them better.
Provide a Handout
At the start of the showing, provide renters with a handout that includes all of the detailed information about the property. You’ll likely go over most of the information during the tour, but the handout will allow them to reference any information that you skip over and any details they may forget.
Don’t be Overbearing
Although most of the tour will consist of you walking renters through the unit, you should also allow them a little time alone. Due to the risk of theft, it’s important not to let renters stray too far, but you don’t want to be overbearing either. Give renters space to view the property at their own pace, but be there to guide them and answer their questions.
Be a Resource
When renters attend a showing, they expect the landlord or property manager to be an expert on the rental and its neighborhood. As such, you should know all of the important information about the property and location so that you’re ready to answer any questions that might come up.
Questions about the property might include when it was built, the square footage, how old appliances are, and whether previous renters had pets. As for the location, renters may want to know about nearby schools, local restaurants, the neighborhood’s crime rates, or the area’s nightlife. These are all questions you should be prepared to answer.
Ask Questions when Appropriate
When giving a showing, it’s important to remember that renters aren’t the only ones gathering information. Throughout the tour, you should begin pre-screening renters to see if they meet your criteria.
Pre-screening involves assessing the renter’s character and asking questions when it’s appropriate. Take note of whether or not they arrive on time, if they seem prepared and interested in the tour, and what their overall demeanor appears to be.
If given the opportunity, ask about whether or not they smoke, if they have pets, how many people will be living in the unit, and what they do for a living. Be sure your questions come up casually, though. You don’t want renters to feel like they’re being interrogated throughout the showing.
Post-tour, there are a few things you can do to encourage renters to move forward with the application process. We discuss these post-tour tips below.
If you can tell by your pre-screening that the renter won’t be a good fit for your rental, however, you may want to skip these steps unless they ask you for a rental application. In that case, it’s best to allow them to apply and then deny them once you’ve completed the full screening process. This way, you don’t have to worry about any fair housing claims.
Discuss Next Steps
Once you’ve completed the showing, be sure to provide renters with the forms they’ll need to submit an application. This will likely include a rental application sheet and forms for credit and background check authorization. Giving renters these forms after the tour increases the chances that they’ll apply. It also reduces the time it will take to screen and approve them.
Provide a Brochure
Even if renters aren’t ready to apply directly after the showing, it’s important to make sure they have a way of remembering the property. To do this, provide renters with a pamphlet that includes the rental’s basic information and decent photos of the unit. You don’t have to break the bank creating these brochures, but you do want them to be high enough quality that renters leave with a good impression of the property.
Implement Showings into Your Marketing Approach
You should now be fully equipped with a plan for how to approach rental property showings. The last thing you want is to find an interested renter, just for them to sign a lease with another landlord. In order to lock down applicants and secure high-quality renters, effective property showings are a must.