4 Ways to Successfully Place a Sight-Unseen Tenant

4 Ways to Successfully Place a Sight-Unseen Tenant

Do you have a potential sight unseen tenant? For many landlords this is scary. How can an applicant possibly want to rent a house without evening looking at it?

I can tell you that many use online sites to find and reserve their dream rental. But in the beginning I had three cardinal rules…

Placing a Sight Unseen Tenant

First – Full Truth
This is not the time to “technically” tell the truth. Answer all questions truthfully. Heck, even go through and answer as many of the question in writing through email or text! Yes, it has carpet, or yes it has x. Tell the full truth and even the current condition.

Second – Provide the Warts
Always not only tell the tenants about the large elephants in the room so there are no misunderstandings (no garage, not fenced in, tiny back yard, etc.)– you want to also tell them about the cracked cabinet, the not so “manicured” backyard, etc. Trust us, the tenants will figure it out! So be up front now! Trust us the last thing you want is stress, and honesty saves a lot of stress.

Third – Honest Pictures
We are all guilty of not having the newest pictures but you don’t want this house to be one of those “match.com” jokes. You know where a 50 year-old women puts a picture of her in her 30’s. So show the true condition of your house!

You may do all of the above but yet have HORRIBLE move-in days!

The sight unseen tenant can be your best applicant, but nightmares on move-in day. You may find yourself admitting that if you survive that first day you’ll be alright.

You may try REALLY hard to be honest and open! Therefore your stress won’t be over deal breakers. It will be over little stuff like a few ants or a little dust.

A lot of people had this image in their mind of the house and if it wasn’t perfect they “complained”. Well, as a landlord this is super stressful and honestly not a lot could be done about it. They were always little things that wouldn’t bother most people, a few ants, dust on a top shelf, etc.

So the FOURTH cardinal rule is Sight Unseen Clauses are awesome for the ENTIRE process.

Fourth- Waiver
Create a “waiver” in your lease. This said you will do the best you can to accommodate the “little things”  but beyond that the tenants are on their own. Send the lease and spend a good amount of time reviewing every line of the lease with the applicant.

This waiver is the final piece that makes this process amazing! It sets the expectation.

****Disclaimer: As always this is personal landlord experience. This is totally NOT legal advice as we are not attorneys so always check local real estate laws and talk to a professional.

Here is an example of what to include in your lease.

Sight Unseen

The below is not pertinent as I have viewed the property in person.

Initials________ __________

The below is pertinent as I have not viewed the property in person.

Initials________ __________

In order to accommodate tenants unable to view the property before arriving, we the landlords, allow applicants to apply, be accepted and sign leases without seeing the premise. The pictures were taken and used by the landlord for marketing purposes only! The pictures are supposed to be used to determine whether or not to view a property, not the determinant on whether to rent. Although the landlord offers the pictures and answered all questions in good faith they acknowledge that pictures can be deceiving. Therefore the landlord recommends and encourages the tenant to view the property before signing the lease.

If the sight unseen tenant proceeds to sign a lease, then the tenant acknowledges, understands and accepts the risks of signing a lease sight unseen. They understand that the lease is binding and they are held to the lease under the fullest extent of the lease and thereby the law. The tenant is under no circumstance allowed to use “sight unseen” as a reason to void the lease and their obligations to the landlord. If at ANY POINT after the signing of the lease the tenant decides they want to terminate the lease then The Buy Out Clause located in this lease comes into effect.

I, ___________________________________________, have read and accepted the above. I understand the risks associated with signing a lease sight unseen. I understand that if I arrive and decide that I am no longer interested in this house that I can invoke the buy out clause located in this lease.

Tenants Name ___________________Signature___________________

Tenants Name ___________________ Signature __________________

What are your tips to placing a sight unseen tenant?

Related Posts

A wise person once said that I never shared the bad about being a landlord. While I felt I had […]

As a small business owner you are going to wear multiple hats. I am the ultimate believer in sweat equity and doing DIYs. My […]

This is the second post in a two part series about how to prepare your house for a Hurricane. The […]

Scroll to Top