The Biggest Leasing Mistakes (& How You Can Avoid Them)

After leasing thousands of units in the West Michigan and Kalamazoo areas and being in the property management business for almost 10 years, we have become experts in the field of property management.  We have included four of the most common leasing mistakes we see while leasing rentals. We will end with the mistake that costs our clients the most money and time!

#4. “Helping” to Lease

In an effort to “help” us, we will have owners try to post their own advertising for their property. Sometimes they even go so far as to show and accept applications! “What is wrong with this?” you may ask. First, fair housing. We use the same showing and screening criteria for each person for a property. An owner doesn’t know our internal procedures and doesn’t have access to our systems to be able to handle this consistently and correctly. Secondly, its confusing and unfair to the prospects. We can’t process applicants in the order received when we are not the one receiving them. We have seen this play out and either a unqualified applicant is lead on incorrectly or a good applicant is frustrated and turns away.

#3. Showing During Turnover

If you have been following our blogs, you will have heard this repeatedly. We DO NOT show a unit until it is what we term “Show Ready”. Turnovers take valuable time and during that time there is no income coming in. It’s important as an investor to account for this when you buy a property. Often we have owners ask us to start leasing during turnover and we have found it produces the following negative results:

  1. Wrong assumptions of the final result and unhappy tenants after move in.
  2. Missed opportunities because the prospect can not picture the final result and is turned off by the rental.
  3. Wasted time because of #1 and #2.

Our experience has taught us that it saves time and money in the long run to wait the extra week or two to complete the project on your rental before listing it.

#2. Leave Cleaning to the Experts

When you have shown enough rental properties, you will find there is a face that a prospect makes when they enter a dirty unit that is a mix of surprise and disgust. As soon as this face is made, you lost the sale. The cost to pay a legitimate cleaning company to do a final cleaning is nothing compared to the weeks of vacancy you will experience on a half-cleaned unit. Our cleaning vendors know the standard expected for a clean. They are quick and efficient. When we have an owner that decides to “clean” their own unit, we will almost always have to wait a week or two for them to complete it, inspect it again before listing, and then hire a cleaning company to bring it to “Show Ready” standard. Before you decide to clean yourself remember:

  1. Good residents will not rent dirty units.
  2. The cleanliness at move in sets the standard expected from the resident during the lease term.
  3. Pictures look better with a clean stage.

#1. Not Pricing Correctly

True Story: In Jenison, we had an owner contact us for services, we met with him, explained our services and gave him a rental quote. He met with a competitor who proceeded to give him a rent quote for $1000 more. Wanting a higher rent price, he choose our competitor. We watched his home sit on the market for SIX MONTHS before it finally rented at the same price we quoted him initially! He lost thousands of dollars because he didn’t understand the rental market. The moral of the story is: In order to rent your home the quickest, you need to price it at market rent. Market rent can vary depending on many factors including housing supply, economic forecast, time of year and location. If you need help determining market price for your rental property, give us a call (616-301-9450) or contact us through our website.

So there you have it. The biggest and most common mistakes we have seen while leasing. Do you need help leasing your unit or just have a question about leasing, give us a call at 616-301-9450 or email us at






About the author

Jennifer Bajema is the Co-founder of Access Property Management Group. She has worked in every part of the company, but now focuses on client education and business growth. Her experience in running a property management business is now over 10 years!