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Tip # 229: Lining Them Up

When filling a vacancy, landlords typically chose one of two options: either schedule individual appointments, traveling to the property each time, or set up an open house and talk to all applicants at once.

Individual appointments are inconvenient, especially if the unit is occupied, but offer the best chance to test if an applicant is qualified. The advantages of the open house are reducing the number of times you have to give notice and travel to the property, and attracting a crowd of people will create a sense of urgency for would-be tenants.

But there are several disadvantages to holding open houses:

Personal safety is an issue if you wind up in the unit with a stranger;
If the property is occupied, it’s much harder to prevent theft;
The people touring may not be qualified — they may just be curious; and,
You miss red flags about an applicant that you would have caught one-on-one.

One way around the dilemma is using a hybrid method of showing properties. Choose a day, clear it with current tenants, and then schedule individual time slots throughout the day. That eliminates the need to travel to the property repeatedly, is less stressful for the current tenant, and also creates a sense of urgency for applicants — who may vie for the earliest appointment times.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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