Showing your vacant rental property to tenants is an important part of the rental property marketing process, and a critical component to leasing your home. Most of the tenants who schedule showings have already seen your listing, and they’ve likely seen it online. So, they understand the relative size and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms.
When they arrive for an in-person showing, they want to imagine themselves moving right in.
If you’ve been intensely focused on marketing and listing your home, it’s easy to forget about the importance of showings. You have to be responsive, available, and willing to let tenants see the property on their own time and when it’s convenient for them.
Our experience managing rental properties in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, and throughout the East Valley has given us some insight into what works best when we’re showing homes.
Here are some of the best tips we can provide.
Before the Showing: Pre-Qualifying Potential Tenants
Before showing your property to a prospective tenant, do some degree of pre-qualification while talking to those interested parties. Gather a little bit of information to confirm their identity and schedule a showing appointment. Ask about why they’re moving, when they plan to move, and what they’re looking for in a home. Ask how much they can pay in rent and how many people might be moving in. Do they have pets?
This is a good time to share your rental criteria. Save yourself and your prospective tenants a lot of time by letting them know what you’re looking for in terms of credit, income, and criminal, eviction, and rental histories. You should have this written out, and you should share it with all interested tenants. It will protect you from fair housing claims and ensure you keep your process objective and consistent.
Offer Self-Showings to East Valley Tenants
There is plenty of self-showing technology available to landlords and property owners who want to make it easier for tenants to see their homes.
As property managers in the East Valley, we have noticed that self-showings have increased the amount of interest we generate in vacant properties. It’s brought down vacancy rates and attracted a larger pool of tenants. By offering self-showings, we’re able to eliminate the delays that can occur as schedules are juggled.
The smart lock system means you don’t have to be at the property with tenants.
If a tenant wants to see a property, the self-showing technology you’re providing will allow them to see it right away. Every lockbox and smart lock is different, but most of them have precautions and security features built in. Usually, the tenants will be able to install an app on their phone and upload their identification. Once you have that on file, you can allow access to the home remotely, and they’ll be able to spend a specific amount of time in the property.
Some of the available technology will link from the showing directly to the application online. Potential tenants can begin the screening process as soon as they see the home.
This type of self-showing technology has been a success for property managers like us so far, especially with properties that might have lingered on the market longer than we’d like. People can apply faster online, especially if they’re thinking about it at the moment that they leave their own showing.
We believe giving tenants the flexibility and ease of self-showings has really improved our leasing results.
During the Showing: Present a Clean and Functional Home
Potential residents are scheduling showings because they liked what they saw on your listing. You’ll want the property to reflect the pictures you took and the description you wrote. Hopefully, you provided a lot of great pictures and maybe even a video so your prospective tenants find everything to be familiar when they arrive.
This showing needs to let your tenants imagine themselves moving right in. The home has to be move-in ready.
It’s crucial that everything is working the way tenants expect. If a prospective tenant turns on a sink and there isn’t any water coming out, you won’t make a great impression. Don’t promise the people viewing your property that you’ll replace the refrigerator before they move in or that the floors will be cleaned by then. Take care of all maintenance issues and repair needs - no matter how minor - before you begin showing the home.
You also want the property to be obsessively clean. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook smaller cleaning tasks like dusting or vacuuming. Hire professionals who will be extremely detail-oriented, and make sure that the home looks as good as possible.
Connect with Tenants Emotionally During Showings
You want your prospective tenants to immediately feel like they are walking into their next home. To create that emotional connection we talked about earlier, you need to make sure they like what they see, smell, hear, and feel.
The home has to look good. It also has to smell good. There shouldn’t be an obnoxiously loud hum coming from the refrigerator.
Here are some of the ways to make your showing a sensory and emotional experience for possible residents:
- Make sure the property is bright and the lights are on. Natural light is great, and you should open the curtains and the blinds. But, keep all the overhead lights on, too. You want tenants to get a good look at every room.
- Pay attention to how the property smells. No one will want to move into a home that smells musty, dirty, or old. Turn on the air conditioning if you have it to chase away any stale smells. You can also consider some scented candles or more subtle plug-in air fresheners. Fresh smells are good, but don’t overdo it. Some people may have sensitivities, and they’ll be turned off by anything that smells too strong.
- If you’re present for the showing, it’s not a terrible idea to have a Bluetooth speaker and some light music playing during walk-throughs and showings. Something acoustic or classical will help those tenants relax as they move from room to room.
- Encourage tenants to touch and test things out. Let them open closet doors and put bare feet on the new carpet.
All of these details will contribute to a pleasant showing for you and your potential tenants. It also prevents them from distractions so they can focus on the property and what it offers.
Curb Appeal Counts During Rental Property Showings
Curb appeal counts because it’s a first impression, and an important one.
Here’s how you can get the right kind of attention for your curb appeal when you’re showing your property:
- Pay attention to paint
Most properties need new exterior paint every 10 years, so evaluate the condition of your paint. If the property looks old and worn, you might need a fresh coat of paint. Fresh paint is a great way to increase your curb appeal as well as your rental value. If it’s faded, chipped, or simply unattractive - schedule some painters to give your exterior paint a modern, clean update. Maybe just painting the trim or the front door will get the job done. Make a decision and then bring in your painters.
- Cleanliness and power washing
A quick power wash is inexpensive and easy. There’s likely to be a lot of debris, dirt, pollen, and wayward leaves clinging to the outside of your rental home. Your driveway and sidewalks can usually use a good cleaning, too. Pavement tends to get darker as the dirt accumulates.
The washing will rinse away everything old and dirty and give your property a clean and fresh look. If you don’t have your own power washing vendor, you can rent the equipment or hire a service. It won’t be too expensive.
- Update landscaping
Offering a well-landscaped home is an excellent way to earn the highest possible rent and attract qualified tenants. You want it to look clean and pretty, but also low-maintenance. Don’t try to force a lush, green lawn onto an East Valley rental property. Instead, work with rocks and stones and mulch and elements commonly found in hardscaping. As long as the property looks clean and free from debris and trash, it will look great.
After the Showing: Follow Up With Prospective East Valley Tenants
Find out what your prospective tenants thought about the property. If they liked it, offer an application. If they didn’t love it, find out why. This feedback might help you appeal to other prospective renters a little differently.
When a tenant finishes a remote showing, send a text. Invite them to complete an application and give them instructions on how to do so.
These are some of the things you can do to ensure your showings are effective and more likely to invite applications from good tenants. If you’d like some help implementing these things, we’re your team. Please contact us at TCT Property Management Services. We manage homes in the East Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, and Phoenix.