You saw the perfect new home on Craigslist (or Rentals.com, or HotPads, or wherever). You've been calling and emailing and still no one has contacted you back. A week goes by and suddenly the ad disappears. Then you drive by the house and see that the new residents are moving in. What's going on?
Why didn't the landlord return your calls?
Or maybe you did speak to the landlord. Perhaps you even saw the house and submitted an application. But somehow you never got the call that says "It's yours. Come and get it."
Well, we've polled our landlord colleagues and have compiled the top 3 reasons why you're getting the cold shoulder from a landlord.
#1: You are impossible to reach
Most landlords have their calls forwarded to voicemail. This lets them provide basic info in the greeting without having to repeat the same details 20 times a day. Your voice message is going to be one of many, so take this opportunity to set yourself apart from all other callers.
First, be sure to mention where you saw the ad. That helps the landlord figure out which marketing methods are working. Keep it simple: "I saw your ad on Craigslist this morning." These are easy points to score. Just a few simple words get you one step closer to the landlord's good side.
When responding via email to an online ad, be sure to provide your first and last name, a working phone number with voicemail, and an e-mail address. Why a last name? Because, you're not the only "Bob" or "Mary" who has contacted them, and it's a major hassle to have to figure out whether you're a previous caller or someone new. So unless you're a music icon or Oprah, leave a last name!
If you are leaving a voicemail message, be sure to provide all the same suggested contact information as with email. Make a conscious effort to say things twice (speaking slowly and clearly), just in case the phone line cuts out and they can’t understand you the first time. Your best bet is to leave your contact info both in the middle and again at the end of the message.
#2: You sound kinda scary
First, let’s talk ring tones. When a landlord calls back and reaches your voicemail, they don’t want to be scared. That means no screeching death metal, no hardcore gangsta rap, and no profanity or offensive language. Smart landlords know that if it’s on your phone today, it will probably be echoing through their home's halls tomorrow.
Next, think of your voicemail greeting as the start of an interview, because it is! You want to come across as professional, mature, and responsible. Set up a separate phone line if necessary, but don't underestimate the power of a scary voicemail greeting to torpedo your chances of a callback.
#3: You are wasting their time
If you have voicemail, keep your greeting message short. No landlord wants to hear a 5-minute sermon or your favorite comedy routine before they can leave you a message. They've got a bunch of folks to call back. After about 30 seconds, they're hanging up and moving on to the next prospective resident.
Don't make the greeting too short, though. State your name in your greeting. Otherwise, the landlord has no idea if this is the right number or not. Remember, they're returning a ton of calls and it's easy to lose track of who they've already reached. Make life easy for them.
Also, if you have small children, please encourage them to let your house-hunting calls go to voicemail. Landlords really hate having to explain to an eight-year-old who they are and why they are calling. Plus, they know you'll probably never even get the message, so it's a complete waste of time for all parties. Except, the kids seem to get a kick out of it...
Still having trouble getting a landlord's attention? Leave us a comment below and we'll give you our take on your situation.