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Don’t Just Show Your Apartments – SELL Them! 19 Great Tips for an Open House By – Jeffrey Taylor

Posted on 01. Jun, 2019 by in all

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In a competitive environment, the way you “sell the value” of your properties, not just “show” your properties, is critical. I often get asked by landlords who are frustrated, “Why can’t I get it rented?”   The landlords believe their properties are in excellent condition, they even include WOW factors. But yet, they show their rental and few, if any, fill out an application.

It is important to understand that while your properties may be in showcase condition, the “Wow” factor in any sales environment, first starts with you, the salesperson. YES, being a landlord, like any other business, involves selling. And the better salesperson you are, the more effective you will be at renting properties.

If you find that very few are filling out an application when you show the rental, it may not be that the property is not great, it may mean that you are not an effective salesperson. If that is the case, may I strongly suggest that you have someone else show your rentals who is a better salesperson, perhaps your spouse if she or he is involved in your rental business, hire a leasing specialist OR, you begin reading and learning how to be a more effective salesperson. In today’s economy, you MUST be able to demonstrate effective selling techniques.

I’ll now share some key sales principles and suggestions. First off, here’s what you don’t do if you want to rent the property fast. You do not tell prospective residents to drive by and call you if they are interested. It’s human nature for people to look for a reason why they should NOT rent from you. It therefore makes no sense to decrease your odds of success by hoping that people will like the place without any input from you. I understand that everyone will not fall in love with your rentals, but you can bet that if I have a place sitting empty and I have very few prospects calling, I’m going to be right there when the prospective resident shows up to point out and “sell” all the positive reasons why my place is a great place for them. No, I won’t persuade everyone. However, if ten people were to simply ride by my rental over the next week, and ten others came when I was there, I guarantee you more of the second set will fill out a rental application by the end of that week and my place would be rented.

Now, if you have tons of folks calling you for the one place you have vacant, sure, have everybody simply go by your place, and call back if interested. In that scenario, even if only a small percentage call you back, you will most likely still be able to rent your place. My focus is on filling vacancies within 72 hours and how to “increase the odds” of getting property rented in the shortest time frame possible!

In the same way you don’t want prospective residents to simply drive by the property and leave it up to their imagination of how great the property may be, you also do not want to simply open the door and ask prospects to walk through and see what they think.

That’s the problem, you do not want people to have to think and leave it up to their own thought process to persuade themselves. You are there to do the persuasion and influence them of the value of renting that particular property. You, as the landlord, need to be proactive and provide them reasons why they do want to rent this property from you.

Providing information means much more than just providing basic information, like number of bedrooms and price. When selling value, you don’t simply lead the prospective resident through the home saying: This is the kitchen, this is one of the bedrooms, this is the bath…. DUH, that will not help persuade the prospective resident to rent from you. You need to sell by building value as you communicate information.

In the same way you don’t want prospective residents to simply drive by the property and leave it up to their imagination of how great the property may be, you also do not want to simply open the door and ask prospects to walk through and see what they think.

That’s the problem, you do not want people to have to think and leave it up to their own thought process to persuade themselves. You are there to do the persuasion and influence them of the value of renting that particular property. You, as the landlord, need to be proactive and provide them reasons why they do want to rent this property from you.

Providing information means much more than just providing basic information, like number of bedrooms and price. When selling value, you don’t simply lead the prospective resident through the home saying: This is the kitchen, this is one of the bedrooms, this is the bath…. DUH, that will not help persuade the prospective resident to rent from you. You need to sell by building value as you communicate information.

How do You Build Value?

1) Build interest in the property until you get a commitment. Do you have a website that you utilize in your rental business? Directing prospective residents to a GOOD website with lots of great pictures, selling points or even testimonials about your property is one way to build interest even before prospects get to your property. When talking to prospective residents over the phone, you can build interest and excitement by simply saying to the resident, remind me to tell you about the move-in gift that we give to all new residents.

When prospects come to your rentals to see what you have, if you also create a competitive environment, that will influence the interest level of the prospects. Aim to always have at least two prospects at any showing at the same time. When people believe something is desired by others and that there is a limited supply of what’s available, that adds interest and value to whatever is being sought. When more than one applicant is present, prospects will be far more likely to take action immediately and fill out the rental application at the time of the showing.

2) Secondly, you need to build trust. Trust is first established by how you personally communicate. Your smile, your enthusiasm, and a neat appearance all builds trust, makes an impact and helps to establish a positive rapport with the prospects. Share any personal credentials: i.e., the fact that you have been servicing the community for many years, that you are a “certified” professional landlord or manager or any other professional designation or resident testimonials. Regarding the property; provide additional “bonus” handouts beyond the basic elements info, like records of low utility bills, information on resident rewards programs or maintenance guarantee offered.

3) Build a connection with you and the prospect and help connect them to the property. Use the prospect’s name often in the conversation, discover what the prospect is looking for in their home. Tie in what the prospect is looking for whenever possible to what your property offers. Point out the unique amenities of the rooms, i.e. spacious walk in closets. Help the prospect visualize moving in by asking where certain pieces of furniture will go. Share the top three rental or neighborhood aspects enjoyed by other previous residents.

All three of the above elements, building interest, building trust and building a connection with your prospective residents are all vital elements that will help you to build and sell the value of your rentals, so that you can rent your properties far faster.

19 Great Tips to Implement When Conducting a Rental Open House 

  1. Put signs with flags on busy streets. Put several signs and flags in the front yard. 
  2. Lock your purse in your trunk. 
  3. Don’t forget to check out the cars of prospective residents.  
  4. Have plenty of applications on hand along with extra pens. 
  5. Try to get all prospective residents to sign a visitor sheet or guest cards. 
  6. Market like a crazy person — The plan is to get as many bodies in there as possible.  
  7. Use multiple signs, streamers, balloons, etc. 
  8. Have property flyers and informative sheets to hand out. If they leave with nothing, you have not done your job. 
  9. Don’t worry about getting a flood of prospects.  All you need are a couple of good applicants.  
  10. Have the place rent-ready–super clean. A good rental must say “Welcome!” from the curb. 
  11. Have the place smelling great.  We just use Plug-Ins. If you do bake cookies, NO CHOCOLATE CHIP! The chocolate goo can get on your carpet! 
  12. Advertise on Craigslist. Have someone with you for the Open House
  13. Have either you or a helper take pictures of the visitors because you may get some shady folks. You never know. 
  14. Put out your Open House signs a day or two before the actual open house. 
  15. I make sure the neighbors know beforehand that I am offering a Rental Open House. Pass out at least 50 flyers in the neighborhood.  Offer a referral fee as people prefer to live next to people they like. 
  16. Have the associated costs on the table on a sign so everyone knows how much they will be paying. I only negotiate up, not down. 
  17. You can also buy scented candles at the dollar store that have a cookie smell. A Christmas cookie, Cinnamon, or Vanilla scents are good choices. It’s often better than having the real messy thing. 
  1. When people respond to my Craigslist ad, if there is an excessive number that respond, I’ll stager the times the house is being shown. That way, I won’t have everyone show up at the same time. For example, I’ll tell the first 10 people that the Open House is between 10:00 am and 11:00 am. The second set gets the times between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. Everyone wants to be there when I first open the door. This way, they all get their way. 
  1. Under most circumstances, I tell everyone the same thing. It won’t be so crowded that you cannot talk to them and when they see that others are interested, this breeds a little “Get it quick before it’s gone” attitude.  I would say “Open House at noon” and they all came then. It’s usually over in about 35-45 minutes.

The above tips are shared on the MrLandlord.com website and in the Mr. Landlord newsletter from landlord contributors and real estate advisors and authors featured on MrLandlord.com. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.

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