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The Pros and Cons of Apartment Self-Showings

Arguably the most critical part of the leasing process is actually showing the property to a prospective tenant. It’s also one of the most complicated. You have to align schedules, pray for good traffic, plan for tenants who may or may not be home (and may or may not have the place in a great shape.)

 

Self-showings remove the middleman – meaning the property manager – from the equation by allowing a tenant to view the property at a time that’s convenient for them. It’s a bold concept, and often a very useful one…but it can have some drawbacks. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management explains why.

 

First, we need to understand how self-showings work. The simplest method is for the property manager or owner to have a lockbox at the property with a key inside. When a tenant wishes to view the property, you provide them with the combination, they let themselves in, and return the key on their way out.

 

If you’re willing to pay a premium, companies like Rently provide fully remote controlled access. You can restrict showings to certain times of day, and the services handle particulars like security deposits and identity verification. Their authentication methods can also go beyond a simple lockbox; for instance, users may have a unique code sent to their mobile device.

 

Pros

The benefits of such a service are obvious. For one, it significantly simplifies a property manager’s schedule: rather than have to show up for multiple viewings per day, they can be managed remotely or even by a third party, leaving more time for other work. It also lets you easily acquire new properties, with the knowledge that you don’t have to micromanage.

Such a system also lets prospective tenants view properties immediately while they’re still enthusiastic, and lets them make decisions quicker, decreasing your vacancy time. They can also view your property multiple times without bothering you or feeling guilty.

 

Cons

However, the disadvantages are equally obvious. A stranger viewing your property unsupervised opens the door for all kinds of trouble: theft, damages, and more. These are mitigated through third-party services, but lost keys and simple accidents can still happen. There’s also the issue of showing units you currently rent, as you can’t have strangers walking in on your tenants.

 

In addition to risk to your property, it also puts distance between you and the tenant – both literally and figuratively. They may have questions you aren’t around to answer, and means your first impression may be a digital one. Not always bad, but not ideal for beginning a successful relationship.

 

Self-showings are a powerful tool, and like any tool should be used responsibly. If you manage many properties and find yourself with too little time, they may be the right solution for you.

 

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Arguably the most critical part of the leasing process is actually showing the property to a prospective tenant. It’s also one of the most complicated. You have to align schedules, pray for good traffic, plan for tenants who may or may not be home (and may or may not have the place in a great shape.)

Self-showings remove the middleman – meaning the property manager – from the equation by allowing a tenant to view the property at a time that’s convenient for them. It’s a bold concept, and often a very useful one…but it can have some drawbacks. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management explains why.

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