Showing the apartment that you’re living in…

I listed my place on Craig’s list last Sunday, and have had 5 showings so far (no applications yet…) At each of the first showings, I introduced myself as the owner, described the remodeling work that’s been done to the apartment, mentioned that I had been living there (thus facilitating the remodeling), and was moving out. If they asked why I was moving, I told them I was going to be living with my boyfriend, otherwise I would be staying, it’s a great apartment. I realized, though, after a couple of showings, that this situation might actually be weirding some of them out… A couple of people asked if they should take off their shoes; one asked if they could look in the cupboards, and everyone said goodbye and thank you in the living room — expecting me to stay there after the showing (after all, that’s where I live.) While from my perspective, I can see that having the owner recently living in your apartment would be a good thing (i.e. most problems have been identified and fixed), from their perspective I think it seemed like they were in a stranger’s house. Instead of looking at a neutral apartment, with a relatively detatched landlord, they were now faced with the prospect of renting someone’s home. Someone’s recently remodeled, painted, refinished, very clean home… a place that they might never feel like is their home, because they’re too worried about scratching the floor or getting it dirty.

Just a theory, of course, but I felt like it was worth it to change the mailing address on the applications to my office address. At the last showing, I waited for the new tenants outside the duplex (like always), but then simply didn’t disclose that I lived there. I even gave a quick knock on the door to the apartment before going in. I think that they did seem a bit more comfortable checking the place out and envisioning themselves there; it probably made me seem more like a legitimate landlord too. I walked them outside afterwards, and got in my car and drove away (and took a walk in a park nearby before going back home). No applications yet; they were looking at one more place this week… Either way, I feel better about showing the apartment this way. Let’s see if it works!

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4 thoughts on “Showing the apartment that you’re living in…

  1. Hey, thanks for making this blog and describing your experience! I’m doing some research since I have a contract to buy a duplex as my first home, but know nothing about being a landlord. Seems like I can do most of my shopping here…

    I think you were right – I’m sure the the tenants probably noticed the umbilical cord between you and the apartment. Maybe this is why more Realtors show the property instead of homeowners? Personally, I would rather have the owner show the property so I could quiz them…

    Question, what does your boyfriend think about you owning a duplex? Do you think you’ll own it long term?

  2. I am so glad to have found your blog! I’m a 24 year old single girl looking to take advantage of the buyers market, and I’m looking at buying a duplex. I’d love to ask you a few questions, if you can email me. Right away, I’m curious if you think it’s a horrible decision if I don’t have lots of cash saved up. The duplex was build in 1978 and has had some updates, but it’s sort of scary thinking lot’s could go wrong as soon as it’s mine. I’ll wait for your email! I really appreciate it!



  3. Just wanted to say I really like your blog … keep it up. I’ve been looking at purchasing a duplex for the last 2-3 months (what a buyers market out there!) and finally got an accepted offer on a place I’m really excited about. And like you, I’m looking at the owner occupied route so I anticipate visiting your blog with some frequency to try and pick up some tips from somebody that’s been there, done that. My question … why just the one duplex so far? Money is cheap now … I’m going with a 5/1 arm at 3.75% … and there’s plenty of inventory … from reading your blog I wondered if it was still just the one duplex. Again … keep up the good work … very practical/useful information on your blog!

  4. Pretty sad that you’ve abandoned this blog 🙁 I really enjoyed reading it, as a duplex owner-occupier myself. It’s been ~7 months since this last post… any chance you’ll be back?

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