Landlords & Professionalism Replying to Ads

January 21st, 2018 · Tell Me What You Really Think Here · Property Management, Rental Property

Recently I’ve had occasion to help a few friends with the rental process and it’s been terrible. Experiencing the rental process from the other direction made me realize that we are doing a lot better than most other landlords but we can still improve a lot. It also explained a lot of “annoying” responses that tenants had been sending. It also explained a lot of newspaper articles about bidding wars. The experience has made me change my approach to the advertising process.

Here are the major issues I encountered…

  1. No reply to emails
  2. No reply to phone calls
  3. False Advertising
  4. Underpricing for the purposes of making a bidding war.
  5. Inactive Ads

So when you respond to an ad, you have a default message, such as Is this property still available? or Hi, I am interested in learning more about 83 Brenda Crescent at 83 Brenda Crescent, Toronto ON, M1K 3C5. Some landlords have taken to not answering these default messages because they feel like the tenant can’t be bothered to put any effort into the rental process. What most landlords don’t realize is that tenants are getting about 1 response for every 20-30 emails they send out. It’s kind of hard to write your whole life story when you get less that 5% of responses back. No I’m not exaggerating.

My Solution: Reply back even if it’s a simple message like “Sorry the property has been rented” or Sorry we have an application in process and will let you know if it falls through”

So when tenants call no one calls them back and I too am guilty of this. It can take a lot of time to call everyone back. It’s annoying especially if the place is already rented.

My Solution: Send a text, it doesn’t take much time.

I can not tell you how many people have said to me throughout the years… “The property looks just like the pictures.” We take pictures of the actual property with the actual number of rooms, etc. We present the property move in ready in good condition. Apparently this is not a common practice in the landlord business. I’m not sure why, I wouldn’t want to move into a dirty rental and I don’t know anyone who would. Finally if you misrepresent the property, you’re wasting both yours and the potential tenant’s time.

My Solution: Don’t be a douche.

I responded to ads such as a 3 bedroom whole house with excellent pictures on Dufferin Street, priced at $1800 per month. At least the landlord answered the phone, it was a real estate agent who told me they had a lot of interest and would be accepting offers. I laughed and said “No thanks I don’t participate in bidding wars”

My Solution: Flamethrowers or Just SAY NO!

There are often delays with the rental process such as pending applications that are taking 3-4 days to process or you’re waiting to do a showing and haven’t gotten back to people. I’ve had some ads with hundreds of responses. Then it can take a few days before pulling all the ads down. Life happens. Finally with us we have a lot of advertisers, so we can easily forget to pull one ad down from one of them.

My Solution: Take your ads down, reply in the meantime such as We have an application pending etc.

Helping other people find and look for rental properties made me really appreciate that tenants are not getting responses from 90+% of communication efforts with landlords. This made me change my own business practices to respond to tenants even after the property is rented. I encourage other landlords to be more professional in their tenant communications.

I learn a lot about the difficulties tenants experience when trying to respond to ads to see places, and I for one am going to change the way I communicate and deal with tenants trying to rent. Finally I feel like a lot of landlords may just be avoiding uncomfortable situations by “ghosting” tenants instead of telling them directly their application is not accepted.

Be Professional – No Ghosting

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