In busy real estate markets, rental properties go like hotcakes in a crowded diner. But when the inevitable slow spells come, it can be more challenging to find tenants to fill vacant properties. Knowing how to wow them on the spot can help you avoid the cash flow problems that come with empty rental properties.
6 Ways to Wow a Prospective Tenant
Most people think about the tenant-landlord relationship in terms of the former impressing the latter. However, there are also times when landlords have to pull out the stops and wow prospective tenants. Having some of following tricks and techniques in your back pocket will allow you to keep your properties occupied regardless of the state of the market.
1. Spruce Up the Curb Appeal
Whether it’s buying or renting, first impressions play a key role in real estate. When someone pulls into the driveway or parks on the street, what does your rental property tell them? Does it say tired and dilapidated, or fresh and appealing?
Landscaping is one of the first keys to curb appeal. Not only should the lawn be freshly mowed before showing the property, but it’s also helpful to add some fresh flowers and mulch for a new look. Another idea is to add a fresh coat of paint to the house.
“Fresh paint instantly makes a house look clean, bright and welcoming. Painting your house’s exterior should be top of your list of things to do to increase its curb appeal,” says Abhi Golhar, member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. “Cracked and peeling paint gives buyers the impression that a home is tired and poorly maintained. Giving it a fresh exterior isn’t about deceiving people — it’s about showing your house in its best possible light.”
Additionally, be sure to declutter your porch, yard, and outdoor living areas. A simple, clean look is the way to go.
2. Make the House Smell Good
While we’ve been told otherwise for years, the truth is that smell is by far one of the strongest human senses. Humans can discriminate roughly one trillion different odors and may actually be more sensitive than certain rodents and dogs. Thus, it would make sense that you attend to the smell of your rental property.
From the moment a prospective renter enters your property, they should be hit with a pleasant, inviting smell. A pleasant smell will put them at ease and make the rental seem more appealing.
Problem areas for bad smells include food in the refrigerator, dirty clothes, pets, a dirty HVAC system, and a lack of overall cleanliness. To make a property smell good, conduct a deep clean (including carpets and HVAC system), diffuse essential oils, and consider using air fresheners in vents.
3. Smile and Act Warmly
Do away with the notion that you need to be super strict and stoic in front of prospective tenants. While you certainly don’t want to act unprofessionally, loosening up a bit will put everyone at ease.
Be sure to smile and act warmly to prospective tenants. Ask them questions, tell stories, and make them feel at home. Your personality can totally shift the mood of a property showing.
4. Dial Up the Pressure (But Tell the Truth)
Nothing gets a person to take action quite like some pressure. While you never want to be dishonest or deceitful, you can take advantage of this fact by dialing up a little pressure when you sense a deal is close to being made.
One effective trick is to mention all of the other prospective tenants who have seen the property (as well as the ones who have scheduled showings for later in the day or week). When an individual knows he’s competing against others, his competitive instincts are likely to take over.
5. Make a Time-Bound Offer
Nothing puts the pressure on a prospective tenant quite like an offer that’s bound by time. If you feel like you’re close to getting a tenant to sign a lease, you can always kick things into high gear by setting a deadline.
For example, you may say something like, “Listen, I really want to get you into this property, but I have to know by 5 pm tomorrow if you’re going to sign a lease. Otherwise, I’ll have to explore other options.”
Another option: “If you sign a lease agreement before tomorrow, I’ll lower the monthly rate by $50 for the first year. Otherwise, we’ll have to stick with the full amount.”
In both instances, you control the time frame, which lets you back the prospective tenant into a corner (for lack of a better term).
6. Have Lease Agreement Papers On Hand
One of the worst things you can do is be unprepared to make a deal on the spot. Letting a tenant leave without signing an agreement gives them a chance to see other properties, think about cons, ruminate on doubts, and have other people chirp in their ears.
Always have a lease agreement on hand so that you can get something in writing. While you’ll rarely sign something on the spot, it’s nice to be prepared for these instances.
Let Green Residential Help
You aren’t superman – though it often feels like people expect you to be. Whether you have one rental property in downtown Houston or dozens spread around the surrounding area, you’ll never be able to be a proficient landlord on your own. There’s a time and place for seeking out help and at Green Residential, we would love to partner alongside you to ease the burdens that you carry.
With more than 30 years of experience in the Houston real estate market, it’s our goal to offer comprehensive and dynamic residential property management services. We do this by handling contracts, rent collection, maintenance and repair coordination, accounting, property marketing, tenant screening, property inspection, and around the clock support – all for an affordable flat rate management fee.
If you’re interested in finding out more about what it would look like to work with Green Residential, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!