Several months ago, we wrote a series of blog posts detailing how to rent your home in Ventura County. These posts were pretty much a step by step guide starting from getting your house rent-ready to signing the proper paperwork with a new tenant and handing them the keys. Recently, we came across some tips that could save all the landlords in Ventura County a good amount of time when trying to fill vacancies in their rental(s). We all know that vacancies can be one of the biggest detriments to your bottom line, so filling them as quickly as possible is a must. However, filling vacancies can also be a time-consuming process if you are managing your own property and have to show up for every walk-through for potential applicants. Today’s post will provide a few tips that you might be able to implement to help you save time and show the property to only those potential applicants who have a high chance of renting your property in the future.
What Not to Do
Unless you have an unlimited amount of time on your hands, you probably don’t want to spend time showing your property to applicants that you will never end up renting to. When you add up the time that it takes to drive to your property, meet the applicant and give them a tour, and then drive back home or to your office, you’re easily talking about at least an hour of your time for each showing. Most people usually try to get as many applicants as possible, so these showings will eventually add up to a good amount of time. If you are fortunate enough to have an assistant or other kind of help, this person may be able to do the showings for you, but then again that is time that they could also spend doing other tasks. So instead of showing the property to any and everyone who calls, you might want to consider one of the following.
One option to save yourself time when showing your property is to allow potential tenants to view the property without you being there. When I was younger, I was able to view several apartments where the property manager gave me the code to a lockbox that had the key inside. I was then able to view the property and decide if I was interested in submitting an application. This, however, may not be the best idea in every situation. By allowing people unsupervised access to your property, you lose an amount of control on what goes on inside the home. Giving a lockbox code out opens up the possibility that anyone can get this code and get inside your property. This means that unscrupulous people could damage your property without you knowing or you may find yourself with unwanted squatters. Also, there are of course legal implications if someone gets injured on your property. If anyone has access to a vacant property, people will try to find a way to take advantage of you. If you do choose to allow self-showings, make sure you fully understand the risks of doing so. Instead, the next option might be a better one.
No one says that you have to wait until applications are filled out and submitted to make sure that applicants qualify for your rental. In the 3rd part of our series, we gave some suggestions on qualifying standards you may want to implement for your rental. If you want to save time and only show your property to the most qualified applicants, you can do some prescreening on the telephone when applicants call to ask to see your property. A good way to do this is to tell them that you will be happy to show the property, but first you want to make sure that they are aware of your minimum qualifying standards. Some applicants may not be aware of the qualifying standards and some may have hoped that they could somehow slip past them, but by stating them on the first phone call, it informs applicants that you do have qualifying standards and that you enforce them. Prescreening should help you filter out most of the applicants who would not qualify before you spend time showing them the property. If after the phone call an applicant is still interested in seeing the property, there is one more trick that will also save you time.
Instead of spending time showing your property to each pre-screened applicant individually, another tip that can save you a lot of time is to do group showings. You can block out an hour or two on the day of your choosing and tell all pre-screened applicants that you will be showing the property during this window. Not only will this save you time, but it may also have the added effect of showing applicants that they need to have a sense of urgency in applying when they see that other people are interested as well. If you are not comfortable with having more than one applicant there at the same time, you can also stagger the appointments directly after one another. This will of course mean you have to spend time with each applicant individually, but at least you can get it all done in one afternoon and not spend time driving back and forth to the property.