3 ways to make a great first impression

Written on October 11, 2017 by

small claims court landlordThe landlording business is all about people. But more accurately, it’s about relationships.

And relationships can get complicated. Others are always interpreting our words and actions. We’re always making an impression built from the previous one.

If you’re unaware of the signals you’re sending, then you’re missing an opportunity to set the tone for how you want your rental business to be perceived.

For example, if you want to portray yourself as a “firm and fair” landlord, you’ll want to create a firm and fair first impression.

Some things that happen during a lease term are beyond your control, but you can control your first impression. So take charge of it.

You’ve heard the saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” But when it comes to landlording, you really have three opportunities.


Savvy landlords know that you’re always marketing your properties – even when you have no vacancies. And although you’re busy living life, you need to make time for these two periodic tasks:

  • Keep your property well-groomed. Well maintained curb appeal telegraphs that the owner cares. And even if you’ve delegated maintenance to your tenant, you still need to make sure the job gets done. Make sure your property always sends the right message to your future tenants.
  • Manage your online reputation. Check your online reputation regularly. Address any negative comments you find; don’t let them go unanswered. If you don’t address negative comments, by default, they appear legitimate. So keep an eye on what the internet says about you.

This is how you proactively persuade potential tenants that your place deserves a premium rent. And if done well, these tasks will pay off in the form of shorter vacancies, higher quality tenants, and appreciative neighbors.

Related: The power of premarketing: how to host 70 showings in 7 days

The showing

Whether you meet prospects at an open house or your office, you need to be prepared.  This is when you can establish that you’re a helpful and reasonable person to deal with. You want to do the following:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Be on time – which means 10 minutes early to straighten up the curb appeal and interior.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Give a great handshake.
  • Be aware of your body language – smile.

Doing these things will help you better resonate with your prospects and collect more applications. After all, you’re competing with the landlord down the street. Make sure you compete to win.

Related: 6 tips for showing an occupied rental unit

Move-in day

Why should you give a move-in gift? Expressing goodwill, making an emotional deposit before any issues arise, and reducing any “’buyer’s remorse” are a few good reasons. But honestly, this new tenant is paying down your mortgage. The least you can do is express a little gratitude in a timely manner.

Consider giving a new tenant an inexpensive, yet thoughtful, gift. Let the following five categories inspire you:

  • Thank You Notes
    • Handwritten thank you notes
    • Notes with a small sum of money and wish for them to settle in and feel at home
  • Food and Drinks
    • Bottled water
    • Gift cards
    • Pizza (delivered on move in day)
  • Cleaning Supplies
    • Cleaning buckets
    • Sponges and cleaning supplies
    • Plunger and/or Zip-It clog remover
  • Useful and Considerate Personal Products/Decoration
    • Candles
    • Plants
    • Shower curtains
    • Toilet paper
    • Hand soap
    • Cutting board
  • Information Binder
    • Lease agreement
    • Phone numbers of utilities and service providers that your tenant needs to call
    • Information about favorite local restaurants and attractions
    • Important details such as trash pick-up days and local customs

The gift need not be expensive. Your well-timed thoughtfulness at a time when your tenant is weary will be something they remember for years.

Related: Give your tenants a practical welcome package


During these three major touch points, you can deliberately create then strengthen an awesome first impression. These windows of opportunity give you a chance to collect brownie points you may need in the future.

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