If you’ve got it, then flaunt it!
I’m sure you’ve heard that before, well it’s good to keep this in mind when you own a rental property to ensure you attract those ideal clients.
Curb Appeal is Important
Make sure you keep up that curb appeal. Along with getting the word out with that custom-made For Rent sign, make sure you keep up the lawn. Here is how you can spend $30 or less to keep your property looking great.
Go to your local dollar-type store and buy two plastic pots, the kind you put flowers in. Next, make a trip to your local hardware store and pick out a few of the brightest colored flowers you can find. While you’re there, grab a couple of bags of bright-colored mulch.
Return to your property and stick those flowers in your two pots, placing one on each side of the front door so it is in view from the road and entrance to the property. Then spread that mulch in the beds closest to the door. Now admire how good that looks! For less than $30, you have just created a brightly-colored entrance that attracts the eye as well as makes people feel happy and alive when they see the property. This is great for when people come for a showing too – it shows them you care about the property which shows them that you will care about them when they are your tenant.
When you have the property rented, your $30 can go along way, as you can use those potted flowers on your next rental vacancy, or take them home.
Personal Story: I once overheard a landlord say that they never spend money on their rental property when it’s vacant, they don’t even keep the lawn looking nice. The problem is that we cannot rent a property that looks like crap, certainly not for a reasonable price. Also, we want to make sure we are attracting the ideal tenants who see the appeal of the home and we want to create that sense of urgency. My ideal tenants (and hopefully yours) will not want to waddle through foot-high grass to get to see the inside of a property that doesn’t seem like it’s been looked after. So show off what you have and attract that perfect tenant.
Fielding Phone Calls from Your Listing
After you get the word out and post your listing online, you may get a flood of calls from several different sources. Maybe you are in another meeting or showing with another potential tenant, and you aren’t able to answer the phone. You don’t want to miss that potential lead do you?
I have a Google Voice number for my rental prospects. This is a number that is FREE to use, and you can link your cell phone number to it. The advantage to using this is that when callers contact you, the message is transcribed and emailed to you. You can read it and respond via text to multiple numbers at once, and keep a record of all calls.
Plus, you don’t have to give out your personal cell number. You can also use multiple numbers if you want to have one number for your advertising on Zillow and a different one for Trulia. This makes it easier to know which website is giving you the best response. I love this system!
Showing Don’ts and Showing Do’s
First, do not ever show a property after dark.
Not only for your safety, but also because potential tenants won’t be able to see all the property. You do not want them walking away with any second thoughts or confusion because they could not see the property. Make sure you are able to show off all of the property’s features and allow enough time for your potential tenants to walk around, review, and ask you questions.
Don’t work on the numerous tenant schedules:
As you start to get phone calls about a property, these are generally to see the inside of the house. Because you are eager to get the home rented, you will feel the tendency to allow the tenant to tell you when they want to see the property, but this could cause a lot of back and forth with the potential tenant.
You will also have numerous interruptions in your day and an awful lot of gas wasted if you work on someone else’s schedule. Say you have 4 showings in a 24-hour period, but the last potential tenant comes to the showing and wonders why there isn’t any interest. They may wonder why you haven’t had any offers to rent it yet, when in fact, they don’t know that you’ve driven out there 4 times since the property was listed. There is a better way.
Do set up an “open house”:
I’m sure you’ve heard of open houses when someone is selling a home, but it is a great strategy for renting homes too. Unlike the traditional open house, this does not require you to sit for hours, serving cookies and lemonade as potential tenants look at the property. What this means is you just have set up back-to-back times for interested tenants to come see the property.
Take the scenario above where you listed the home and get 4 phone calls. That first phone call comes in and they want to see the home on their lunch hour today. You let that person know you aren’t available then, but can meet them tomorrow at their lunch hour. From that time, when others call you let them know that you will have the home open for showings between 12 noon and 1PM the next day after that first caller has set the time.
This is where the magic happens. First of all, you only drive to the property once (money saved on gas). Secondly, you are generally there for an hour (time saved). And I saved the best for last, you are creating demand for this property. When all 4 prospective tenants see the others coming to the property, they begin to feel a sense of urgency and they are more willing to pay the full asking price rather than negotiate.