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Showing units before they are vacant

One thing I have always taken for granted in real estate investing is the apartment lease. Just after getting into the business I got a hold of a great lease and I guess I have been a little spoiled. One clause I am particularly fond of, which seems to be lacking for so many leases, is the right to show a unit before the outgoing tenant actually vacates.

While this might not be feasible in all situations, I have found it very helpful. When a tenant gives notice that they are moving out, I like to immediately get started putting a marketing package together for the unit: Pics, details, flyers, even video. By putting these up on craigslist and backpage early, as well as putting up a sign, you can get a jump on the process of filling the unit.

Depending on the tenant, showing the unit can be a bit of a hassle, but at the very least you can compile a list of prospective tenants and shuttle them through once the unit is vacant. In the lease I use, the clause that makes this possible allows for the landlord to show the unit within 30 days of the end of the lease as long as the tenant is given 24 hours notice. I try to avoid bringing people through too often, but if done tactfully, it is a great way to save money by limiting the time a unit is left idle. If this clause isn’t already in your lease, make sure you add it or find one that already has this point covered. You won’t regret it.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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