6 Tips to Host a Successful Rental Open House
Story by: Jennifer Chan
As a landlord or property manager, you’ve probably spent countless hours showing your property to prospective tenants, one by one — not to mention the time you’ve lost dealing with the inevitable cancellations and no-shows.
Hosting an open house can be an efficient and effective alternative to scheduling private showings. A successful open house requires more than just putting up a sign and unlocking the front door, however.
Here are six ways for you to take your rental showing to the next level.
Offer residents an incentive to clean
Showing your property while the current tenants are still living there reduces the length of vacancy, but that doesn’t mean your tenants will be motivated to tidy up. Offer residents financial incentives to clean up the property and give you access for an open house, such as a discount off the month’s rent.
Give a time for the open house, not a time frame
State a specific time for the open house (e.g., 2 p.m.) instead of a time period (e.g., 2-4 p.m.). This will create a sense of urgency and encourage people to come earlier instead of showing up for the last 15 minutes.
Create printouts for visitors to take home
Not everyone who attends your open house will have seen the listing. Have a stack of printouts available, and make sure they include high-quality photos. Having a handout to review will keep your property top of mind for visitors once they’ve gone home.
Make follow-up easier with a sign-in sheet
While some prospective residents will have already contacted you for details about your open house, you’ll also want to capture the contact information of everyone else who walks in the door. Use a sign-in sheet to collect the attendees’ names, phone numbers and email addresses so you can follow up later.
Have applications ready
Some of your future renters will have already done their research and are eager to apply when they arrive at the showing. Make sure you have the right application materials so they can get the leasing process started on the spot.
Create a relaxing atmosphere
In addition to cleaning up the home, you also want to make your property welcoming to prospective residents. Pleasant lighting and warm scents are easy ways to make a memorable impact on visitors. Open the curtains and let in natural light, or bring in floor lamps to brighten dark rooms. Use scented candles, serve cookies, or simmer vanilla and water in a saucepan to make the home smell inviting.
With a little preparation, an open house can save you time and effort — and provide you with a pool of potential tenants in the course of a single afternoon.