Holding an open house is one of the most effective ways to attract new tenants to your property.
At first, this may seem like the easiest process ever. You might think that all you need to do is open the doors and let whoever shows up walk inside and look around.
But it isn’t always that simple, especially if you want your event to be a success.
Success means that after the event, one (or more) of those visitors was so impressed that they decided to take you up on your offer and move in.
To help you achieve this, our Maryland property management team has created a guide to help you get the most out of your open house.
How Landlords Can Hold a Successful Open House
1. Use Technology to Your Advantage
If you want to get the word out about your open house, use every available medium at your disposal.
If you don’t already have a social media presence, create accounts and pages for your properties, and post notices to those pages about your event.
Include tempting details in the posts as well, such as:
- A special deal for tenants who sign new leases during the month of the event
- Details about the property’s attractive amenities
- A promise of snacks and refreshments at the event
Your goal is to make sure as many people as possible know about your event ahead of time and will be excited to attend the event.
The more people who see it and hear about it, the more likely you are to find a new tenant.
2. Use Proper Signage
On top of spreading the word through the internet, you can also make use of an old-school advertising method: signage.
Some people trying to attract tenants may simply put a “For Rent” sign in front of the property or hang a promotional banner over the entrance and leave it at that. But, if you want to have the maximum possible turnout, you can also attract traffic with “Open House” signs.
“Open House” signs are usually only around $7, and the potential turn around on that initial investment could be a lengthy and profitable lease agreement.
Using one of these signs for a few days in advance of the event can generate more people, especially if you can include the date and time of the event on the sign.
3. Make Sure the House is Clean (And Smells Like It Too!)
Before letting visitors into the property, be sure it is cleaned to perfection. That way, you can show off the property at its finest. Here’s what you must remember when preparing for an open house:
- The floors should be swept, mopped, vacuumed, and even waxed if necessary.
- Clean all sink drains, making sure there are no stray hairs or pieces of old food.
- Repaint walls if necessary, and repair all damage to walls, trim, and flooring.
- Open some windows in the hours leading up to the open house, or consider leaving a window open during the event for airflow so it doesn’t get too stuffy.
- Light scented candles in bathrooms and the kitchen to get rid of bothersome odors.
Be as thorough as possible, and double-check the cleanliness of the property before anyone goes inside at the beginning of the event.
Also, be mindful of the dirtiness and odors that occur as the event goes on as so many people travel in and out, and actively try to combat them.
4. Consider Staging
If you aren’t sure that showing your property bare and basic will convince potential renters, consider that staging may help you demonstrate its full potential. One web site study even found that home staging resulted in a 586% return on investment.
Through either the use of a professional staging company or your own clever arrangement, you can show the visitors at your open house exactly what the property could look like once it has furniture and appliances in place.
This allows your potential renters to get a better understanding and mental image of what their belongings could look like in the property if they were to sign a lease.
5. Improve Your Security
Let’s face it – open houses can sometimes bring out the worst in people. If you aren’t careful, you might end up dealing with a robbery.
To avoid this, consider locking rooms where more valuable items or pieces of furniture are kept, only opening them during tours and closing them back up securely after they’re over.
Also, make note of everything on display, and check afterward to make sure nothing is missing.
Some properties may have security guards on site that can be used to monitor people going in and out to look out for anything suspicious, but you should use this option only if you feel it absolutely warranted. Otherwise, you may create an uncomfortable atmosphere for prospective tenants.
6. Provide Required Landlord Disclosures
It’s important to know what disclosure forms you are legally required to present to prospective renters or buyers. The smartest course of action is to prepare these forms in advance and have them on hand at your open house event.
Maryland landlords are required to provide these disclosures:
- Move-in and move-out inspection
- Security deposit itemization
- Owner/agent/landlord identity
By having these ready, you can feel confident knowing that you are adhering to the law. Plus, you will be more capable and prepared to present your property to potential tenants.
7. Get Contact Information of Visitors
When potential renters visit an open house and are confronted with landlords, they may feel uncomfortable and could be hesitant to commit to anything without some thought. That’s why it’s so important to collect the contact information of visitors and follow up on their contemplation.
Place a sign-in sheet near the front door so your visitors can easily see and use it, and consider placing a bowl of mints or other candies beside the sheet to attract more people. You may also want to fill out the first line of the form with stock information to make your visitors more likely to fill it out – knowing that someone else has already done it will help ease their concerns about giving up information.
After a few days, you can look at the list of everyone who signed and work your way through their phone numbers, seeing if anyone had an interest in the property. If a prospective tenant shows interest, offer them another private tour to discuss their options.
Tip: Check out this blog post to learn how you can deal with and prevent costly no-shows when showing your property to interested tenants.
Holding a successful open house can be a good way to attract a new tenant to your property.
Not only can it convince one visitor to move in – it could create a stream of new tenants thanks to word of mouth and your clever salesmanship.
And remember, if you need help with property management in Maryland, consider Bay Management Group. We can help you with maintenance, rent collection, tenant screening, and much more so you can avoid unwanted responsibilities and get the biggest return on your investment. Contact us today to learn how we can help ensure your rental property business is a success.