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8093 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: May 28, 2012 8:20 AM by hush64 RSS
New Member 7 posts since
Jul 15, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 15, 2011 10:34 AM

Telephone questions to potential renters

I am new to the property rental business, so I'm trying to do all my homework.  I intend to speak with potential rentors over the phone prior to sending the rental agreement.  What questions should I be asking in order to weed through undesirable rentors?  What would be the red flags to keep an eye out for? and lastly, if the potential rentors does give off a red flag, how do you back out of the potential agreement over the phone?



  • New Member 14 posts since
    Jul 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 15, 2011 11:00 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Telephone questions to potential renters


    I have 3 rental properties and book approx 150 reservations each year and speak to no more than 5 people total!!

    I do it all via email, in writing. In my opinion talking to people is a waste of time and opens you up to emotional situations and negotiations that are easily dismissed by email but harder to deal with by phone.

    My renters are only given my phone number once I email them  a Word file with my rental agreement, and by then we've already built a wonderful email report.

    I have email template answers for pretty much every question I can be asked saved in my outlook folder and simply copy & paste and change the name or date.

    With very few exceptions the only reason someone will insist on talking with you is to try to negogiate the price or your pet policy!!!

    All the best.

  • New Member 14 posts since
    Jul 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 15, 2011 11:03 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Telephone questions to potential renters

    I almost forgot... ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT ABOUT RED FLAG SITUATIONS... To back out of a deal email that theres been a flood or roof damage or bedbug infestation... Or, simply email that u screwed up and your wife already booked that week with her girfriends!

      • New Member 14 posts since
        Jul 15, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Jul 15, 2011 11:40 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
        Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

        Here. I'm saving you hours upon hours of experience & time.. Cheers!




        Because I'm in a good mood




        Good luck, Robert






        1. Dates already booked:


        Thanks for your inquiry but unfortunately those dates are already booked.


        Please let me know if there are any other dates that work for you after

        reviewing my availability calendar: PASTE LINK HERE




        I hope you find a wonderful place to enjoy your vacation, and please

        bookmark my 3 rental properties for any future vacation needs!
















        2. Departure #1






        I hope you enjoyed a fabulous get-together with your family/friends and all

        was good and as expected at the house & property!




        Please let me know if there's anything I need to know as I depend on guest

        feedback to make sure all's in perfect condition and kept up to date.




        Best regards,










        3. Departure #3






        I've mailed back your security deposit so please keep a lookout for it!




        I'm glad you and your guests had a wonderful stay and found everything to be

        as promised (both the house & my organization).




        I'd really appreciate if you'd write a short review for others who are

        considering renting my house. Something about dealing with me and the

        quality of accommodations would be great. Here's the link: REVIEW LINK HERE






        Thanks for being fabulous guests & hope to hear from you again!










        4. General Inquiry Reply






        Thanks for your inquiry; yes those dates are still available.




        - 2 nights (Friday - Sunday) = $ Total.


        Rates = All-Inclusive: Taxes, Cleaning, Laundry




        Reservation, Rent Payment Schedule & Security Requirement


        -          A signed Rental Agreement with $300 is required to lock in your

        dates and guarantee your stay.


        -          The Rent Balance is due 60 days prior to arrival.


        -          Security: I accept a credit card "swipe" like hotels, or $500

        paid with personal check 10 days prior to arrival.


        -          Payments can be made with personal check or credit card.




        Please click here to read past guest's reviews: GUEST REVIEW LINK HERE




        If you want me to hold your dates please email me the following information

        so I can complete and email you back our Rental Agreement to review.




        Arrival Date:


        Departure Date:








        Phone #'s: Day + Cell


        Total # of People in Group =


        Ages:   0-17   =


                    18-23 =


                    24-30 =


                    31+    =




        I look forward to having you as guests at the Bald Eagle Lodge and please

        email me with any questions or if you require additional information!












        5. Rental Agreement






        Thanks for choosing to vacation at my property, I'm positive you and your

        guests will have a fabulous stay.




        I've attached the Rental Agreement in a Word file; Please review, sign and

        return along with the Rent Deposit within 7 days while I hold the dates for





        Because I'm honoring your request and am holding your dates for you, if your

        plans change for any reason; please let me know ASAP so I can make the

        property available for someone else.




        Thanks again for choosing my property and feel free to contact me if you

        have any additional questions.


















        Thanks; I acknowledge receipt of the signed lease and $500 payment towards

        the $1100 rent amount.




        Please bookmark the following payments with enough advance notice to allow

        for on-time postal delivery:


        -          $600 rent balance due January 26


        -          $500 security due February 19




        After receipt of the final payment and 1 week prior to your arrival I will

        email you a "Welcome Kit" with directions, key combination and detailed

        house information.




        Best regards,








        7. WELCOME KIT






        Thanks, I just ran/received the $500 security deposit.




        I've attached the Bald Eagle Lodge Welcome Kit; it includes the directions,

        key code, emergency contact numbers, and detailed house information,

        check-in & out procedures, local shopping and other miscellaneous info.




        Please print out this page + the attachment, review and let me know if

        something isn't clear or if you have any additional questions.




        *Remember: Check-in is at 4pm and Check-out is at 12noon. This is very

        important so to allow the cleaning crew enough uninterrupted time to

        complete a thorough cleaning for all our guests!








        1. LAKEFRONT:


        The lake is communally used by the community owners on lease from Hunter

        Mountain Resort. So technically, the lake and all the land immediately

        around the lake are communal for swimming, playing ball, Frisbee, etc. No

        owner owns any of the lake or land and we always try to be respectful of

        each others space. I own two rental homes and have built two docks with

        small beachfronts separated by 5 feet of shrubs. Please access the lake

        using the dock directly below you and be aware that my guests in the log

        home across the street will be using the one to the left.




        2. TOWELS:


        Please tell everyone to bring beach towels. Do not use the house towels down

        at the lake!




        3. BOATS:


        I have supplied 1 canoe, 3 kayaks & 1 pedal boat. These are for guests at

        both homes to use and enjoy... If only you and your guests are at the lake

        feel free to use them all. but if the other guests are also on the water,

        please share the toys accordingly




        4. NOISE:


        Please be conscious that this is a residential area in the country and noise

        travels. Come 11pm please move the gathering inside!! I have excellent

        relations with my neighbors but due to a few groups who were very loud into

        the early morning hours I've been warned that if neighbors keep getting

        woken up after 11pm they'll be forced to call the sheriff.




        5. FIRE PIT:


        New York State law is very clear that all open camp fires must be no wider

        than 4 feet and no higher than 3 feet and it is illegal to leave an open

        fire unattended.


        - The fine for either is $3000 (yes, three thousand dollars) plus risk of

        being arrested!!!




        There's a very good reason for this. All fires create some sparks but once

        they get above 3 feet high the fire, heat, and intensity gets compounded and

        the sparks become bigger and fly farther creating a real danger. If you make

        a fire that burns private property, injures or kills someone, you will be

        held libel and charged. this is no joke!




        We are on a mountain IN THE WOODS. If you make a bonfire or leave an open

        fire unattended, my neighbors who don't want their homes burned down by

        ignorant idiots will call the police. and you will be fined $3000.00 and or

        arrested on the spot!








        So if you are inclined and know how to make a reasonable campfire, NY law

        says ok. But be smart and responsible. and never allow the "drunk guy" to be

        in charge!




        Thanks again and have a fabulous stay!


        Best regards,

  • Active Contributor 343 posts since
    Nov 18, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 15, 2011 12:19 PM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Telephone questions to potential renters

    Hi scvaca@mb17,

    We have an entire forum on Community devoted to discussions related to Screening Your Renters. I hope some of the conversations in this forum will be helpful.

    Also, you might check out this article on Trusting Your Instincts, as well as Renting to Spring Breakers.

    Best of luck, and happy renting!


  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 29, 2012 11:48 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Re: Telephone questions to potential renters


    I rarely speak with tenants by phone. I email answers to their requests and follow up a few days later.


    If my gut tells me the answers seem weird or suspicious, I call. Always listen to the gut. Knows best.

    • mauioceanview Contributor 250 posts since
      Jul 22, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Mar 29, 2012 12:16 PM (in response to marilyn)
      Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

      wow. I insist on speaking with my guests before I accept a booking. I will usually have sent out the rental agreement by that point, however in my rental agreement it says 'your reservation is confirmed once I receive and accept your signed rental agreement and your deposit clears our bank.' I recently had a guest who didn't return the rental agreement until after I had spoken with him, he had five people listed on the agreement (I accept only four). Had to then follow this up with a follow-up phone call.


      I like the personal contact, it puts a voice to the guest, but also to me as owner, guests feel they have a bit of a personal relationship and treat the condo with more respect. Also it makes sure we are all on the same page. The call usually lasts only 2-3 minutes, but most guests appreciate the personal touch.


      good luck!

      • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
        Nov 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Mar 29, 2012 12:44 PM (in response to mauioceanview)
        Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

        In my emails to them, I list my office and cell # should they wish to contact me. I personally greet every guest at check in and therefore there is a voice and a face to go with the reservation. We start email confirmations once we receive a deposit. We do not prepare any paper work until deposit reserving my homes is received. We allow our guests 48 hours hold on the home pending receipt of their deposit check.  After that, home is fair game.


        Many of our guests are not available by phone due to work etc.



  • New Member 14 posts since
    Jul 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2012 10:12 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

    FOLLOW UP: Putting your phone # on a public website is like putting your phone # on a bathroom stall... You will be continually called at the worst possible times 24/7.  I only give out my number after I have all their information and a committment to rent my property.

    • mlbmaine Active Contributor 910 posts since
      Mar 2, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      May 8, 2012 11:01 AM (in response to hush64)
      Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

      I list my telephone number on my VRBO listing and have only received one telephone call from a potential renter in three years of renting. Every other initial contact was via e-mail.  To help thwart scammers, VRBO tells potential renters to call the property owner at the phone number in the listing to verify that they are contacting the actual owner.  Obviously, potential renters aren't doing this in my case.  However, I include my phone number in my e-mail response to inquiries, and perhaps the renters are comparing it to the number in the VRBO listing to make sure they are the same.

      • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,358 posts since
        May 25, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        May 8, 2012 12:29 PM (in response to mlbmaine)
        Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

        Mlb, I also provide my office (cell) #, on my listings on several sites, and have never had a problem with calls 24/7.  I find that the only "cold" calls I get come from people looking for last minute rentals, and I can easily screen any call going to my cell #. They either leave a message, or they don't.


        I always speak with our guests before any financial transaction takes place, since it makes ME feel better.  Once a transaction is in place I want them to know they can reach me at a phone number with any questions, etc.


        And since I manage my own home, I'm fine with calls from all "in house" guests,_ I actually REQUIRE that they contact me if they encounter any problem -  but then I only have 1 place. I guess everyone has to figure out what works best for them.


  • New Member 14 posts since
    Jul 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2012 11:54 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

    Ref: mlbmaine: Wow... I'm on HomeAway, Vacation Rentals & Great Vacations, but not on VRBO. I average 60+ rentals per property x 4 properties per year... Prior to taking my number off the website I was deluged with calls!! For example: New Years'... Im already booked at 3 of my 4 properties... between now and December 26 I'll receive at least 100 emails inquiring for NYr's (because most people don't look at the calendar)... If people had my phone number I'd be getting 100's of calls from people at all hours of day and night right up until the 28th.... And being that there are 52 weeks in a year with plenty of holidays and peak weeks... forget about it!! Of course this is my experience, but since eliminating my phone # I've simplified and streamlined the inquiry and rental process.

    • hotnachocheese Contributor 40 posts since
      Apr 25, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      May 8, 2012 1:24 PM (in response to hush64)
      Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

      Ive done both- cell and no cell number.  I deal with 2 summer rentals, and get an overwhelming number of kids calling for Senior week in June- they start calling in September.  I found if I dont add my number to the ad till January, the kids are done calling and I get mostly adults.  I just cant handle the volume of calls from the kids.


      My other observations- adding a number does help me book.  Im always booked anyways, but I book earlier if I do add a  number.  I didnt like having my cell number, which has a voice mail that identifies my regualr profession, so this year I got a Google Voice number.  Its perfect.  Free, and forwards anywhere I want it to.  Right now, it forwards to my cell- caller Ids the caller, tells me its a google call so i know its a beach tenant call, and i can accpet immediately or screen the call as they leave the message.  I get an email with a transcript of the message, and i can call out from my cell thru the google number- so they only know my google number.  In addition- in the summer, when i have a local person looking out for my place, i can forward the google calls to his cell- so they only need to  know 1 number.  Im thinking I will post the number in the houseses as an "emergency" contact.

  • New Member 5 posts since
    Feb 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 27, 2012 10:26 PM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

    Firstly, I think the decision to take calls really depends on the nature of your own property, it's location, and your own preferences and renter types.  In our case, we only have 1 property offered for rent right now, which is entirely manageable - and the location is in a small community with very particular amentities.  It rents primarily to locals (people who live within a couple hours away usually).


    We prefer to do at least one quick phone call to get a feel for the person's intentions and honestly to be sure they are not a very young college kid.  These are some of the things we ask them to probe a conversation, and let them fill in the rest:


    - Have they ever been to the area before or are they familiar with it..

    - Will they personally be staying in the home and who else will be staying with them (sometimes a family member books on behalf of someone else)..

    - Will they be bringing a boat.. (we have a boat dock)

    - Will they have any pets.. (we have an array of questions about the dog)


    Most of the time, the people who have called us have been great and the conversations were easy.  We only had a couple of poor experiences so far (people who just keep calling asking more and more questions and sometimes at late hours).  The only ones that annoy us are the ones that could have easily been avoided if they would just look at our calendar and see that all the holidays are already booked.

  • New Member 14 posts since
    Jul 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 28, 2012 8:20 AM (in response to scvaca@mb17)
    Re: Telephone questions to potential renters

    After reading the many posts I agree with JSINEX... It very much depends on your location property desirability as to if and when one offers a phone number. Because my primary rental pool draws from the New York city, New Jersey and Long Island area I cannot stay sane by advertising my phone number until after people have already committed by replying via email with there contact information first... People around here are awake 24/7 and have no consciousness to call at all hours of the day & night. Additionally, because my properties are extremely desirable I start receiving inquiries 1 year in advance and book out long before the arrival dates. This is a blessing and a curse because 50% of the people inquiring don't look at my availability calendar so I get deluged with last minute people who literally will call me days prior to their desired vacation. Another good reason to only accept inquiries via email is that I can then reply via email informing them that the property is reserved along with a list of my other properties for either cross-selling and or to keep in mind for future vacation needs... This cannot be done via phone and often generates more business from these people!

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