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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?
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.
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!
Thanks for responding. I’ll have to put some effort into developing those cookie cutter email responses. They probably will save me time in the long run.
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.
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.
Phone #'s: Day + Cell
Total # of People in Group =
Ages: 0-17 =
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.
6. PAYMENT RECEIPT
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
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!
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.
Please tell everyone to bring beach towels. Do not use the house towels down
at the lake!
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
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
- The fine for either is $3000 (yes, three thousand dollars) plus risk of
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!
Also. DO NOT THROW BOTTLES, CANS, GLASS, ETC INTO THE FIRE PIT!!!
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
Thanks again and have a fabulous stay!
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.
Best of luck, and happy renting!
Like Robert, I communicate with my renters almost exclusively electronically. That's because that's how I don't like or feel the need to talk about it, either as an owner or renter. When renting, for example, I will not even look at a property if I have to call on it. For me, it's just less intrusive. A phone call brings you out of whatever you're doing, while email is checked, read, and responded to on your schedule. That's my view anyway. I know others feel differently.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!