Penny-Wise, but Dollar-Foolish Property Owners

2011-11-06

Penny-Wise, but Dollar-Foolish Property Owners

A dollar on fire.We know of a property that’s been up for rent for around 4 months.

The property is on a main road, so it gets a lot of visibility, being exposed to morning and afternoon rush hour traffic.  The owner has a sign in front of the house with a phone number and extension.  The number is the owner’s business line and the extension on the sign takes you to their desk.

So, how come the property is still available after 4 months?

Well, we decided to snoop and find out.

We Googled the property address and found nothing online advertising the property – not a website, a posting on Zillow or even Craigslist.

We pretended to be an interested tenant and called on the property around both the morning and afternoon rush hours.  We thought someone would be manning the phone as that’s when the property would get the most exposure.  No such luck, we got a business voicemail greeting that didn’t even mention the property..  We also called in the evening, as someone would if they drove by it in rush hour traffic on their way home and didn’t want to call from their car.  Again, just voicemail.  So we called after the morning rush hour.  Voicemail again!  Finally we called on the weekend, and wouldn’t you know – voicemail!

By the way, we left 8 messages with different names and phone numbers, we even left messages saying how many times we’d left messages, and only got one call back.

Well we figured this property owner really needed our services as they were obviously too busy to rent out their own property, so we contacted them.  And contacted them.  And contacted them.  We left numerous voicemails and mailed them a brochure.  We’ve never heard back from them.

You might think the owner wants a lot of rent for their property, but they’re actually asking too little in our opinion.  Of course, any amount is too much if you don’t follow up with any prospects and expect them to pursue and beg you to rent your property.

After losing a potential $10,000 in rent by ignoring the property for the last 4 months, the owner held an open house on a recent Saturday.  We stopped by and unofficially inspected the property posing as a prospect.  It’s a nice property and we confirmed our thoughts that it’s underpriced.  Maybe the owner is finally getting serious about renting the property out?

So what’s the lesson here?  This property owner is trying to DIY (Do It Yourself) and pinch pennies to avoid paying a placement commission and/or a monthly management fee.  By trying to save a $2500 placement fee, they’ve lost $10,000 or more.

We live in a social media fueled instant gratification society today of instant messaging, email and texting.  If you don’t get in touch with a prospect within 1-2 hours of their call or you can’t schedule a showing within 48 hours, you’ll miss around 70% of the market.

You can try to sugarcoat this by thinking, “then they aren’t tenants I want”, but that’s foolish thinking and leads to prolonged vacancies and lower rents.  Just ask the property owner who’s lost $10,000 and counting.

If you’re frustrated or worried that you can’t get ahold of a decent percentage of callers or you’re getting stood up on too many appointments, then perhaps it’s time to contact a professional management company like us.

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