I had an interesting experience recently, when I needed to find new tenants for my small rental property. Not interested in paying huge rates to advertise in the local weekend newspaper, I found a well-used online website to advertise at a much cheaper rate, uploaded a few photos and the details of my property, and waited.
It wasn’t long before the replies from potential tenants started rolling in. Since it was advertised online, most of the potentials chose to reply using email, which was actually great for me – it was easy to collate the information about them and arrange a viewing with several of them at once.
As I read their emails, I found myself immediately screening them into good possibilities and bad. I discovered you can tell a lot about a person by what kind of email they write in reply to such an ad – whether they bothered to write a coherent message or just sent me a text-message style query without the normal politeness or niceties you’d expect. I arranged to meet some from each category, and interestingly the ones who hadn’t been professional about their communication with me generally turned out to be unreliable – and I figure if they can’t turn up punctually to a viewing, then they may also find it hard to pay their rent punctually. Those who treated their response to the ad more professionally certainly gave me a better overall impression – and it’s one of those responses who’s become my now reliable tenant.