When do you decide to actually show a rental to a potential tenant and what do you do before you meet them at the property? Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals. Here is this week’s question:

Dear Landlord Hank:

We just listed our rental and have been covered up with 10 potential tenants who want to see the property in the first two days. We don’t want to waste a lot of time showing. How do you decide who you will actually show the property to? What is your criteria for showing a property?

–  Ellen

Dear Landlady Ellen,

You are in a fortunate situation to have such a desirable rental.

I talk to each prospect as they call and make sure that what I have fits the tenants’ criteria.

Prospects often don’t read the ads closely. They don’t see that property won’t be ready for six weeks or they want a furnished property and ours is unfurnished. Or, they may have a pet and we don’t allow pets.

What I want to know before I show a rental

If the property I have available to rent is what prospects are looking for, I qualify them to see if they fit my criteria:

  • Do they make enough money?
  • Do they have decent credit?
  • How many people are in their family?
  • Any criminal history?
  • Do they have good rental history?

If I have what they want and I would consider them as tenants – pending background screening – then I make an appointment for the earliest time to show.

I ask prospect to be on time. Then I will schedule another appointment 15 minutes later.

Best to make a true assessment in person when you show the rental

Even though everything seems like a good fit on the telephone, it’s best to make a true assessment in person at the property.

The prospect will be able to see the property and the neighborhood and location of stores, schools, etc. You will be able to assess prospects:

  • How do they act, dress and speak?
  • Are they pleasant and reasonable?
  • Are their kids hanging on the walls and climbing cabinets?
  • Did they take the bus to the property or drive up in a Mercedes?

Also see Hank’s previous post on tenant screening here: How To Improve Your Tenant Screening And Selection

In this post, Hank sets the stage for when the landlord/investor has the property ready to rent-everything has been repaired and works properly, the unit is clean and looks great, inside and out. You have shown the property to a tenant prospect that seems to fit your criteria and can move in quickly. So what is the next step?

This step is CRITICAL and if this step is not handled properly, the landlord will know first-hand why the landlord role is not for everyone. Read the full post here on what comes next.

About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do You Decide When To Show A Rental To A Prospective Tenant?

Photo credit Fizkes via istockphoto.com