How To Find Tenants Without A Real Estate Agent
As a landlord your top priority is to keep your property filled with good tenants. Where and how you find those tenants is entirely up to you. One option at your disposal is to lean on your local real estate agent. Although this can be effective it can also be quite expensive. On average real estate agents charge a full month of the rent received for the use of their services. This is a viable option in extreme circumstances when you are starting at an eviction but for the other times you should consider finding tenants on your own. With the increase in technology and resources it is easier than ever. Not only will you save money but you will have a much better idea of exactly who you are renting to. Here are five ways you can find tenants without using a real estate agent.
- Focus On Presentation. How you advertise your property goes a long way in determining lead volume. If you look at your local newspaper or various online sites you will see plenty of generic rental property listings. These listings give you the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and maybe the rental amount. Generic ads like these can be more trouble than they are worth. The alternative is spending time crafting a listing that fully details your property. Start by noting every room in the property. From there think of any amenities and distinguishing features and add those as well. You may not think that a dishwasher or washing machine makes a difference but it often does more than you think. You should provide plenty of pictures and even consider a brief video tour. If you are not generating call volume from your ad you are either priced too high or your listing is poorly written.
- Capture Leads. It is imperative that you provide a contact phone number or email at the bottom of your listing. It is a good idea that you establish a dedicated email address for your rental listing or portfolio. Without it you will be inundated with phone calls and emails and won’t be able to capture the information you need. In addition to an email you can also consider a website for the specific property. The cost of the website is much less than you think and since you are only using it for one property it can be easily put together. You want to include your videos and photos as well as any frequently asked questions you can think of. You can be sure that prospective tenants will ask about pets, smoking, parking and security deposit requirements. You should also have an application available so you can weed out any negative tenants. The more information you can get out of the way before you actually talk to a tenant the easier your life will be.
- Initial Screening. As you call your tenants back you need to see where they saw your listing from. This is important so you can get an idea which websites work and which may be a waste of time. You also want to get an idea of if they saw your website and filled out an application. If they did not you shouldn’t halt the call and wait until they do. If they did and it is up to your satisfaction you should try to get some specifics on the table. Talk about security deposit requirements, move in & out dates and any items on the lease that are important to you. Answer any questions they have before you schedule any showings. Between the pictures, videos and information on the website they should have enough information about the property to know if they are interested in seeing it. Don’t show the property to every person you talk to. If you do this you will get frustrated at the number of people who aren’t really interested. Only show the property to people you have pre-screened after receiving an application.
- Showings. Showing the property is a delicate balance between you, your current tenant and the interested party. It is important to not get frustrated if your prospective tenant cannot make the time you offer. Not every new tenant can see the property during work hours or after hours. Sometimes a weekend is the only viable option. Make sure you give your current tenant at least a few days’ notice prior to any showing. In a perfect world the showing will simply be a formality and the chance to tie up any loose ends. If the house isn’t in the best condition you need to stress that you will have it professionally cleaned before anyone moves in. This may require you to start the lease on the 3rd of the month rather than the first. Ask if there are any issues or concerns with the property. If there are you need to address them if not you need to seal the deal and move to the final step.
- Lease Signing/Security Collection. If there is mutual interest on both parties you need to set a date to sign the lease and collect the security deposit check. Ideally you want this done as soon as possible. Tenants have a tendency to change their mind from time to time. It is a good idea to email the lease first before you meet with them. This gives them a chance to review the lease and ask any questions they may have. It is important that the full security is received before they are in the property. If it is a struggle to receive security it can be a sign of things to come.
Finding tenants on your own takes just a little bit of time and commitment. For just a few hours of time you can save thousands of dollars in commission.