One of the many things that amazed me about the management side of real estate investing was the "No Show." The No Show is the prospective tenant who calls to say they drove by the house, love it, and would like to sign a lease right away. You make arrangements to show them the house, confirm the appointment 1 hour before the allotted time, and then they don’t show up or even call. This happens over and over and over again. It’s still a mystery to me why that don’t exercise the common courtesy to call us to cancel the appointment. So we’ve come up with a way to address this issue, at least in part. I’ll explain what we do in a minute, but first, here are some other types of prospective tenants we’ve encountered over the years.
The Negotiator: "I see you’ve listed the rent at $1,295 a month. Would you accept $800?"
The Credit Risk: "I recently filed for bankruptcy protection. I’ve also been evicted from my last 7 rental units. Will that be a problem?"
The Out-of-Towner: "I am moving to your area and will be in town Saturday to look at homes. Can you show me the property that afternoon at precisely 2 pm?"
The Anxious: "I’m very interested in the property and must move by the end of the week. Can I see the property today?" These prospective tenants almost without exception become No Shows.
The Planner: "I see the property is available April 1. I need a place beginning in July. Do you think your property will still be available?" God, I hope not.
The Cash Cow: "Can I pay $15,000 up front to lower my monthly rent?" While always exciting, these folks never work out. And if a tenant is paying you in bricks of cash, you may wish they had become a No Show.
The Scam Artist: Contact is always made via email: "I’m from the UK and will be moving to [insert any mid-sized town in Podunk, U.S.A.] at the end of the month. I’m very interested in the property you’ve advertised. I can pay with a money order, and would like to write it for 5 times the actual rent. Please send me the balance in cash as I’ll need it for moving expenses."
The Murderer: One of our prospective tenants was a convicted murderer. I let Mike call him to reject his application.
The Story Teller: "So any way, my husband lost his job two years ago, and we’ve been running an eBay store to get by. If you’re ever looking for handmade booties for your cat, you’ve come to the right place."
The Dreamer: "We won’t rent for ever. Our plan is to build a 10,000 square foot home next year once we get our credit cards paid off."
Well, you get the idea. So back to the No Show. What Mike and I did this past week was to hold an open house for our property, The Problem Child. As prospective tenants called or emailed us about the property, we told them about the open house. Some wanted to see the property at a different time, but we declined. Part of that was due to the fact that the property is still occupied. But regardless, we gave them a 2-hour window on a Saturday afternoon to see the property. If one or two didn’t show, so be it.
In terms of traffic, the open house was a success. We had several couples come by to see the property. And it sure beats driving out to the property for one prospective tenant who fails to show.