There are lot of different ways to screen tenants, but one of the best (and least understood) ways to ‘screen’ is to attract the highest-quality prospects you can in the first place. There are a few solid techniques for doing so — setting a high bar on your prequalifications, for example. Another is to go all-out when you show a property — make it clear that the place deserves someone who loves it as much as you do. That’s why these 13 things belong in your “showing kit.”
- Air freshener, in the form of something Febreeze-like or a strongly-scented candle you can place as a centerpiece or other good-looking accent.
- Multipurpose cleaner, or at the minimum a spray bottle with a 4-to-1 mixture of water to vinegar. With a paper towel or a clean rag, spray over counters, banisters, or other dusty spots that are likely to be looked at carefully or touched.
- A loaf of sourdough bread, to pop into the oven and warm up to produce a pleasant, welcome smell in the kitchen.
- A microfiber cloth, to wipe off ceiling fans, dusty blinds, or other surfaces that need an instant dusting.
- A hand-held vacuum, to eliminate dead spiders, massive dust bunnies, or other potentially off-putting things they may find.
- A few 9v batteries, just in case the smoke, carbon monoxide, or other detectors are beeping when you arrive. Nothing screams ‘neglect’ like constant background chirping.
- A trash bag, just in case the last people who showed the place left something behind that you didn’t notice on your way out.
- A measuring tape, to help them determine if their existing furniture will fit in their new space.
- A can of WD-40 or other similar spray grease, to stop any squeaking doors (including the ones on the dishwasher/trash compactor/fridge if necessary!)
- A floor plan with room measurements, to help them plan out their new space.
- A copy of the lease agreement for them to review (but NOT for them to sign until after you’ve run them through a thorough background check!)
- The rental application, which they SHOULD sign on the spot so you can begin said background check.
- A business card, for them to take with them so they can easily contact you if they decide that your house is the place for them.
Now it should be obvious reading that list that you’re going to want to show up at the house at least fifteen minutes before they do — a half-hour is better if your schedule allows it. Get there, light the candle if you go that route, pop the bread in the oven and turn it up to 200 or so, replace any batteries that need replacing, and start looking for things to wipe down and/or vacuum up. As you go, take note of any squeaking doors you come across, and hit them with the WD-40 after you’ve wiped and vacuumed.
Get everything except the candle, measuring tape, and paperwork back into your car before they arrive if at all possible, and you’re ready to show!