Showing the apartment

I’ve started doing a few showings of the apartment upstairs. I sent a memo to my current tenants, asking them to do what they can to keep things looking neat and clean for the showings — the nicer the apartment looks, the fewer showings there will likely be.

So far, I’ve had three showings — two groups of two girls, and a couple that’s moving in together. Both of the two-roommate showings were one roommate only, which is always a pain, because it means another showing if roommate #1 is interested. However, it’s looking like neither one of the two-roommate groups are going to bite. One emailed me thanking me for her time, and the other I haven’t heard back from. The couple seemed extremely interested, however, so they may come around.

My tenants weren’t home for most of the showings; however, they were home for one, and something happened that I didn’t expect. The prospective renter asked me how much heat usually ran, and I told her that last time I’d checked, it was about $65/month on the “budget” plan — this was two years ago, before the current tenants moved in. But then, as the showing was ending, the prospective tenant asked my existing tenant how much she paid for heat — she said she’s paying $110/month! Still on the budget plan! At first I was shocked that they were paying that much (after all, they’re upstairs, and the attic is uber-insulated. I pay only $65/month DOWNSTAIRS, with a furnace from the 1940s). But secondly, I was put in a place where I looked like a big liar — quoting only half of what the actual heating bill would be….

I do happen to know that the current tenants keep their heat VERY high during the winter. The few times I was upstairs, it felt like it was almost 80 degrees. They don’t seem to be using their programmable thermostat, either, because this was when no one was home…

So, at the risk of looking like a ninny, I followed up with the prospective tenant, explaining that the previous tenants were extremely environmentally conscious, and the current tenants used the heat a bit more, so perhaps it should be looked at as a range of $65-$110, depending on their usage…. That’s what I’ve been saying to new tenants, and truth be told, it’s probably more realistic. As much as I want to sell the upstairs to people, I don’t want to get someone in it only to have them not be able to afford the heating bills…

I have a few more showings this week, looks like a group of two male roommates tomorrow, and then two groups of three female roommates that seem very young, later in the week. I am still expecting, though, to get applications from the couple… they seemed to be moving in already… but I can’t really stop showings until I have a signed lease. Even if I get applications, you never know when something could fall through.

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