As a landlord, you can do everything right — buy the best properties, make the necessary renovations, and take care of routine maintenance. But if you don’t have renters to occupy your property, you don’t have a business. There are a few different things you can do to attract renters, one of which is hosting an open house. This allows you to show the home to potential tenants in its best state and hand out applications to interested parties. There are just a few things to keep in mind to make it successful.
Choose the right day
Your open house should be on a day when most people can attend. This will usually be Saturday, but Sunday afternoons or weekday evenings are also acceptable. Just make sure you avoid holidays, big community events, and bad weather if at all possible. If you own a complex, you have an advantage over other property owners in that you can host your open house for more than one day if you have a manager available. Once you’ve chosen the day for your open house, you’ll also need to choose the best time. Two to four hours is the customary length of time, and afternoons seem to work best for most. So you might hold yours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., or keep it open until 6 p.m. to accommodate people who need to come after work.
Stage the home
Staging a home is important for both buyers and renters. According to most agents, it makes it easier for them to visualize the property as a future occupant. And you don’t have to stage the entire house to be effective. The most common rooms to stage are the living room, kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom. Ideally, your open house will be held in a vacant property, but if it’s not, you’ll have to work around your tenants’ belongings. If you are working with an empty house, though, you can bring in some attractive furnishings. These can either be items you already have or you can often rent them from local stores. Many stores will even let you borrow them for free in exchange for advertising. For example, someone might lend you fine furniture from a home design showroom in Morristown, NJ, if you agree to put their information out at your open house. In some cases, they’ll even deliver it and set it up.
The important thing is to keep it simple. For the bathroom, you can hang fluffy white towels on the bars. In the kitchen, place a couch and chair with some attractive pillows and a throw. And in the bedroom, make the bed up with billowy comforters, pillows, and blankets. Most importantly, make sure the house is spotless. Dust the fixtures, open the windows to air it out, and clean all counters and floors thoroughly.
Spread the word
Your open house won’t do you much good if nobody shows up. So, find ways to spread the word to people who might be interested. If you’re using a real estate agent to list your property, they’ll probably be in on the open house and the marketing efforts. But if you’re doing it alone, start with social media. If your community has a Facebook group dedicated to properties for rent or sale, post your open house there. Also, post it to all your own social media profiles and ask people to share it. Other ways to get attention for it include running a short ad in the paper, hanging flyers, or sending out mailings.
Prepare for interest
When people show a true interest in the property, you’ll need to be prepared. First of all, print out a fact sheet with the property description, photos, contact information, rental costs, and any available amenities. Secondly, print out plenty of rental applications for them to fill out. If you’re using a program like Turbo Tenant to screen your applicants, you should be able to get all the necessary information from there. Typically, this includes the names of all occupants, contact information, birth dates, and social security numbers. You might also wish to get references you can contact to verify their information.