When it comes to showing off your rental property, you’re going to want to take some common sense precautions. Most of the advice out there seems obvious, but there are some key pointers that might surprise you. Staying safe means planning for the worst and considering all the possibilities.
The very first step toward safely showing off your property to a prospective tenant is to pre-screen over the phone. If you know your client is qualified because of the information you’ve secured about them, you’ll feel more confident meeting them in person. A potential criminal is not likely to act, knowing their identifying information is out there.
Another important step to take is to ensure that you’re showing off your property in the light of day. It’s common sense, but something that can be left by the wayside when schedules pile up and a showing after hours looks enticing. If you must show a property after dark, be sure to advise associates on your whereabouts beforehand, then turn on all lights and leave all shades or blinds open. You want to be as visible as possible.
Next, be sure to have a prepared scenario in the event that you feel unsafe with the potential tenant. This means setting up a phone call to come in while you’re there, or an appointment you need to be at, so you’ve got a quick and easy way to say, “I need to go right now,” when the need arises.
Similarly, it’s a great idea to get to know the neighbors, if possible. If you’re renting out a multi-unit building or a house in a neighborhood, some familiarity with the neighbors can work wonders. First, it helps ease their curiosity if you’re going to be in and out of the area for a while. Second, it means they’ll recognize you when you’re bringing potential tenants to the property. When the neighbors know you, they’ll be much more likely to show concern if anything starts going sideways.
Another key tip when showing your property is to leave an emergency exit as accessible as possible. This means leaving the front door unlocked - or any exterior door for that matter - so that you can make a quick exit if need be. Additionally, as you show off the interior of the property, stand near the door as you enter each room. This reduces the chances that you could be locked into a confined space.
When showing off your property, you’ll want to minimize any temptations as well. This means leaving your purse or bag locked in the car before you arrive. Bring only non-valuable, necessary business items on your person, remembering to leave especially expensive jewelry or watches at home. Of course, keep your cell phone on you, as its importance outweighs its value.
Finally, if the property has a driveway, just park at the curb. When your car is on the street, you’ll have a much easier time getting away. In a worse case scenario, when you’re running to your car, you’ll be much more visible heading toward the street than you would be confined to a driveway.
Keeping your situational awareness is probably the biggest factor here, but it’s important to do as many precautions as you can ahead of time. Minimizing risk in the first place will mean that you never have to actually employ these emergency strategies.