vacant rental home

A Vacant Rental Home Story

When you have a vacant rental home, your job is to find a great tenant as quickly as possible.  If you have an effective marketing campaign, you will get a large number of phone calls, texts and emails asking for information about your vacant rental home.

Using a lock box on a vacant rental home isn't as easy as I thought it would be! Click To Tweet

I can get more than 50 inquiries a day when we have several rental properties available.  Most of the people I talk to are great!  They have smart questions about the vacant rental home and are enjoyable to talk to.  However, because of the large number of people that I talk to, I have run across some people who have trouble doing basic things, like figuring out how to open a lock box.

vacant rental home

Process To See Vacant Rental Homes

When you have a vacant property, one of the things that consumes more time than anything else is showing it.

If we are renting an occupied rental home, there is no way around it. Someone has to meet every single person who wants to see the house.

But, for a vacant rental home, we ask for a copy of a valid ID and then we give out the lock box code or the code to the door.  This allows us to know who is in the property and allows prospective tenants to see the homes at their convenience.

Tip: Get a copy of from anyone wanting to see your vacant rental and give them the lock box code. Click To Tweet

Using A Lock Box Is Simple, Right?

This is usually a simple process.  Once the prospective tenant has provided their ID, he or she is given the code to get into the house. This allows applicants to see the rental home on their own schedule.  I get to do things that are more productive and they get to see the vacant houses.

I used to believe that operating a lock box or a combination door lock was something that everyone could do easily. 

Guess What?  I Was Wrong!

One problem that I have been running into a lot lately is that the homes with a lock box and the homes with Schalge combination door locks don’t seem to be as easy to use as I once thought.

This just happened the other day.  True Story!

I had been texting back and forth with someone wanting to see a vacant house.  She provided her ID and I gave her the code for the lock box.

She texted me and said that the code wasn’t working. I double checked the code because I do rotate all of our codes every few days.  I verified that she had been given the correct code and asked her to try again.

Keep in mind that I get on average 40 requests a day to see our vacant rental properties and I was texting with more than one person.  This lady kept texting me saying she couldn’t get into the rental house that she wanted to see.

User Error

I finally called her and asked her what the problem was.  

She said “How am I going to open the box thingy without a key?”  Yes, she said “thingy”.

Turns out that the problem wasn’t with the code or the lock box but the user.  She didn’t understand how to use the numbers I gave her to open the lock box!

I then went into teaching mode and explained to her that she needed to open the black cover, spin the dials on the front of the box so that they matched the lock box code I had given her.

I then told her to push the button down and open the box.  Then I stated that the keys for the house would be in the box.  Assuming she was able to get the lock box open, I continued talking to her and explained that the keys fit the front door.

She finally screamed in frustration and put her friend on the phone. I explained the process to her friend who was able to follow my directions and gain access to the house.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

How Do You Solve This Problem?

Honestly, I wish I knew!  I have now had two more people just this week who were unable to figure out how to open a lock box.

To make this even more frustrating, I had another person and a contractor call me to say they punched in the code on Schlage lock on the front door and it didn’t open.  I had to explain to the last two that, after punching in the four digit code, you have to actually turn the knob to open the door!

Several people have told me to not consider these people to rent the house. That would be a great option if they had terrible credit. One of these people actually applied and had outstanding credit!

This is where a sense of humor comes in handy because if you can’t laugh then you really will lose your mind!

Remember that when people wanting to see your vacant rental home start driving you crazy!

Want to know how to spot a bad tenant?  Click here for some tips on spotting bad tenants before they rent from you.


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