In this video, Eli discusses the various ways that you can show rental properties to a prospective renter when you live out of state.
This information is an excerpt from the Landlord Gurus Ask Us Anything Free Webinar.
Here’s a question from Ed, from Ohio/Florida. So, Ed lives in Florida and he has a rental property in Ohio. And the question is, “How do you show your home when you live out of state?”
So, fortunately, there are a lot of developments in recent years that can help with that. There are some services, all of these are partners of ours, which we call kind of a hybrid property management service. Often, there’ll be a flat fee per unit.
So there’s Hemlane and Marble. In the Northwest, there’s RentalRiff as well, and they’re expanding. These take up the space between a do-it-yourself property management software tool and full-service property managers.
So Hemlane, for example, will connect you with a local realtor and facilitate that connection.
Marble, I believe, has that available as well.
RentalRiff has a little different model where they have people in the markets where they operate, who are kind of handy people/the local face of the rental. So, that’s a nice combination, I think, because you need people to be able to locally attend to renters’ needs and often there are things to fix.
The other thing that’s developing quickly, and I think is going to be a bigger and bigger asset to landlords is the invention and evolution of smart locks. So Marble, which is rentmarble.com, by the way, uses a smart lock that they can program remotely. They can give time-sensitive access to people. People have to have their phone, which has a code, that will give them access to the unit so that they can tour it on their own.
Now, before that, Marble has created a protocol for vetting anybody who goes to a property before they ever have the address. There’s an upload of the photo ID. I believe there’s a credit check. There’s a credit card on file. I believe they have a six-point, step-by-step process for vetting people.
If you want to do this, there are lots of smart locks out there. They usually have a 9-volt battery, but they can either be a manual keypad that you program and then you go back and you change that code when you’re not showing it anymore. So inappropriate people don’t have access. You can have wifi or Bluetooth-enabled locks. You can make the changes remotely.
I think a good way to go is anytime you’re giving people access to a space when you’re not there, is to have cameras around. And, I’ve set up Ring cameras. There are lots of different varieties, but I’ve set up Ring cameras around rental properties. They’re now pretty easy to install, and much less expensive than a whole security system used to be.
Along with that, I would recommend actually doing a tour with the potential tenant where you’re on Zoom or FaceTime on their mobile device so that you can talk them through it, as they walk through the property. You can say, “Okay, well, no, over there. That’s where the storage room is,” or, you know, “This is where your packages would be delivered.” And that type of thing.
Along those lines, it’s a really good idea to pre-vet people, pre-screening is the term we use most. That can take a couple of forms. We recommend this no matter what your process is, whether it’s in-person showings or not.
When you have contact with a potential renter, you ask some vital questions right up front. That will indicate to both parties whether or not this is likely to be a fit. So for me, it’s just very simple four questions. I ask, do you have any animals, and I don’t say pets, because I’d like them also to tell me if they have an emotional support animal.
And, do you or anybody who will be living at the space smoke or vape in any form? Do you earn X number of times the monthly rent? I use two and a half, but then I caveat that should be after any really large payments, like, a large car payment, or, student loans and that type of thing.
I think Chris uses, a debt-to-income ratio. Maybe he can chime in on how he does that. And then, more recently I’ve started asking “When would you like to move?”. Because I found that, if I forget to do that, then all of a sudden I’ve got somebody who wants to move in 2 months.
And they’re looking at places now and, that I have available now, so best not to waste anybody’s time. Along with that, especially if you’re virtually touring, it’s a good idea to have a video tour that you put up. And on any listing, it really helps to have a video tour that you put up, that people can see for themselves. “Is this something that really I’m interested in?” before they ever take any action to step ahead.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.