Last week, we detailed some elements of first component of the tenant rental cycle, tenant qualification. This week we will continue with this component. Today’s blog will focus on how to show your property correctly and detail what the right information is to get from the tenant at the showing for qualifying purposes.
After the initial call, if the tenants pre-qualify and they are still interested in the property,it is now time to schedule a showing.
Before you do this, it is important that you disclose any significant, obvious and relevant information regarding the property that may be different from normal. This is because unusual circumstances could deter some prospects from renting your property. However, it is smart to disclose potential issues up front to save your time.
A common example of smart disclosure would be letting a prospect know if the rental property does not include a refrigerator. This could be a deal breaker to a prospective tenant. However, if you disclose this up front, at least you know it’s a no go before you waste time driving out to the property and waiting there while the people look at it.
If you have more than one group interested in seeing your property (or anticipate enough interest that you will be showing to a multiple groups), we have found that it is much better to schedule group showings. Group showings will not only save you time but it will also show the prospects that this is a hot property and if they snooze, they may lose out on it.
It is also a great idea to e-mail an application over to the prospect(s) for them to fill out prior to the showing and let them know if they need to have cash or a money order for the application fee (if applicable) and appropriate income documents. There is no point in waiting at the showing for people to slowly fill out the application or for them to go to the bank to get the application fee.
Make sure that the person you schedule the showing with has your phone number in case they need to cancel. Also inform them that you will be calling one hour to confirm the showing and it is important that they confirm. Let them know that and if they do not answer your call or give you a call back of your message within 10 minutes that you will not be showing up. Arrive at the property 10-15 minutes prior to the showing.
Once you arrive at the property, make sure the temperature is acceptable. In the summer in Phoenix, there is nothing worse than driving in 110 degree heat to see a property where the a/c is not running or set to an uncomfortable setting. As a rule, keep the property 85 degrees while vacant and kick the a/c down a bit for the showing. If you want to keep the temperature at the property higher while vacant, you’ll have to arrive much earlier to get it to an acceptable show temperature.
It is a good idea to open the blinds and turn on the lights. If they property has any kind of an off smell, open the windows (if weather permits) and spray some air neutralizer. We have found that being pleasant without being over-bearing is the right approach. It is important that the prospect feels comfortable and knows they can ask you questions.
If the prospects don’t like the property or appear disinterested, you are not out of line to ask them what they don’t like about the property or why they don’t want to move forward. They may not want to apply simply because of personal preference but they may point out something that could be valuable to get the property rented to another party.
If the prospect likes the property, they can now give you the application, employment documents and application fee. It is important that the application is completely filled out and signed by all prospective tenants over 18. Make sure you have the following information on the application:
1- Applicant Information- Name, cell #, e-mail, SS#, Driver’s License#
2- Employment History- Current employer and previous employer if first employment is less than 2 years.
3- Residential History- Last two years landlords, rent amount and phone numbers.
4- Bank Account #
5- Ask on app whether they have ever been evicted or didn’t pay rent
6- Ask on app if ever asked to move out by landlord or broken a lease.
7- Signature to obtain credit report and rental history.
The other documents that you will need are last two period pay stubs if they are W-2 employees and bank statement (2 months) and tax returns (2 years) for self-employed people. It is up to you if you will accept a check for the application fee. We won’t. We only take cash or money orders.
An application fee is a good idea as it helps you recoup the cost of running the app. It also helps ensure the people are serious about being a potential renter. Once you get the required information it is important to communicate when you will get back to the tenant with an answer and what the next step will be if they qualify.