If you’re anything like me, you despise having to find a new tenant. Whatever way you look at it and even with the increased rent you may end up getting, it’s still a hassle plain and simple. You have to find the old ad, make the necessary changes, find your password for Kijiji, take a tutorial on how to post an ad on Facebook, then when it’s all over, you wait for the replies.
One by one the emails and messages start to come in. Faster and faster they come like this chocolate factory episode from I Love Lucy.
The first few might reply with “Is this available” – you politely write back yes. By the seventh “Is this available” you mumble “idiot” and want to sarcastically reply with “Sorry, in the 10 minutes since I posted this ad, I showed it, called their references and rented it.”
And heaven forbid you published your phone number. Oh my, don’t ever do that unless you are bored and really want to talk to 30 people a day. Even after your place is rented and you remove your ad, you will get phone calls. The internet holds on to this information F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
Okay, so now you’re weeding through the jungle of respondents to your rental ad and have found a few good ones. You phone them back. You ask some questions to pre-screen them, and then find out they have 4 cats. You pull some excuse out of your hat and try to hang up faster than the speed of light. That was close.
Does this scenario sound even a little bit familiar? In the 15 years I’ve been doing this business, I’ve perfected the art of pre-screening. And because I’m an introvert, I go to all lengths to avoid phoning people. This may sound odd to all the bubbly extroverts out there, but this era of texting and emailing is a dream come true to many like me.
So now to the point of this article. The number one way to avoid the stress and hassle of pre-screening tenants is to simply insert two sentences at the end of your rental ad. Here it is, folks. Write this: If you are interested, please reply to this ad with an introduction about who would be renting this place. Suitable candidates will be contacted for a showing.
These two sentences will make your life so much easier. First, you will get a good sense of who the applicant is. The more information they give you, the better. It likely means they have nothing to hide. Indirectly, you can pick up a lot in someone’s style of writing – you may see glimpses into their personality, their education, and their respectfulness.
Secondly, depending on where you placed your ad, their response may also give you their first and last name. So before emailing them back, do some private investigation work. See our post on 5 Best Techniques To Investigate Prospective Tenants.
Thirdly, it lets them know in advance that if they don’t hear from you, they were not suitable. Therefore, you can stop feeling bad about not replying and even better – you can ignore all the replies that simply ask “Is this available”. If they can’t follow simple instructions in your rental ad, you probably don’t want to rent to them.
I truly hope you find this wee bit of advice helpful. It has been a game changer for me. I now find amusement in reading my rental ad responses and simply delete the ones I know are not suitable.