How To Show Your Rental Units With Success and Less Stress

Showing a rental property can be stressful, and things will occur that you cannot anticipate. For example, a power outage leaves you and your guests in the dark or the twelve applicants you expected at the event balloons into thirty people. Although you can't prepare for every mishap, you can put safeguards in place so your showing goes smoothly and you get the end result you want -  a filled vacancy.

Arrive Early

Eager applicants will often arrive five or ten minutes early, so you should be there well before them. Plan to arrive at least 30-45 minutes before show time. This allows you time to turn on lights, raise blinds, rake carpeting, open windows, check that amenities are running properly, inspect for cleanliness, lay out paperwork and add any decorative touches to the unit.

Create A Workplace

Although many applicants will choose to apply on line, there will be those who will want to pick up their application at the event.  Nothing is more inconvenient than having no where for people to sit or write down information. Set up a small folding table with a couple chairs. Insert an application, information sheet about the area, and your written rental criteria in a two pocket folder. Put together more packets than you need. You can always keep them on hand for future vacancies. Spread a few of these folders in a fan shape on the table.  Don't put more than three to five out at a time - more than this number looks desperate.  Include pens in your packet for applicants to use. Request anyone that shows up to sign in and leave you with their contact information.

Bring Supplies

Other than your rental packets, you will want to bring some cleaning supplies to spruce up the unit prior to showing. Fill a small bucket with sanitizing wipes, glass cleaner, a soft cloth and  scrub sponge. Also bring a dust pan and extra wide paint brush to sweep up floor debris or dust off blinds or window sills - this is less cumbersome than a full size broom. An extra light bulb or two is helpful to have as well as a working flashlight in case you lose power. Keep shoe booties in your car for applicants to use if needed. Other handy items to have with you might include a pocket knife, screwdriver and a BBQ lighter. Do a last minute wipe down of countertops and fixtures, and brush the cobwebs out of the corners too. People like to explore an area using their sense of touch. They can't resist running their hands along a unit's walls and surfaces- and when they do, you'll want those surfaces to feel smooth not sticky!

Appeal To Their Senses

Applicants generally shop within a certain price range, and many of the rentals viewed - including yours- will have similar features and amenities. To ensure your rental stands out, make it sensually appealing to those who view it. Place a pretty red vase filled with yellow sun flowers on the kitchen counter. Hang matching embroidered hand towels in the bathroom (don't forget to have toilet paper in case the applicant wants to use the bathroom). Plant a  new brightly colored "Welcome" mat in front of the doorstep. You can give this to your future tenant as a house warming gift. Lightly spritz a room with lemon scent. Consider bringing a CD player; Soft Zen style music playing in the background creates a subtle touch that applicants will remember.

Involve The Community

Before your showing, contact the neighborhood pizza place or grocery store around the corner from your rental.  Tell them you are doing an open house and offer them your business card.  Ask them to give 10 percent off of their service or product to applicants who present them your business card with your signature. Most businesses will welcome this idea because it promotes their business to new customers. More importantly, it will keep your property in the minds of potential tenants long after the showing is done.

If you have any showing tips that work for you, please share them!