Talking to Property Owners

Talking to property owners can be intimidating, especially if you have not had much practice. Below are some tips for reaching out to property owners and sample scripts for phone calls and emails.

Tips for reaching out to property owners:

  • Have your phone voicemail set up in case a property owner reaches out to you and you miss their call
  • Have a list of question ready
  • Be prepared with some times you are available to see the unit
  • If you are making a call, be in a quiet place with a good connection
  • If you are contacting via email, provide your phone number in case they want to give you a call
  • Check your email regularly if you are reaching out online or via email

Talking about the housing voucher (Section 8):

We recommend mentioning that you have a voucher after having a brief conversation with the property owner. Talking with them first will give you a chance to build a relationship.

Bring up the voucher by saying “have you ever worked with a tenant with a housing voucher before?” If they say “yes” ask them if they would be willing to work with you. If they say “no” ask them if they would be willing to try it with you.

If the property owner does not know very much about vouchers, give them some background information. Here are some examples:

  • I only pay a portion of the rent that is affordable for me, the housing authority pays the rest directly to you.
  • In order to rent from you, the place would be inspected by the housing authority first.
  •  I would give you a packet of information you fill out and turn into the housing authority. That lets the housing authority know that I want that your place. Then they will send you a letter in the mail with the inspection date and time.

Sample scripts

Phone call script

Hi, my name is [your name] and I am calling about the [description of the home] I found out about on [Zillow; Trulia; a vacancy sign].  I have a few questions that I would like to ask about it.

 [Ideas for questions you can ask:  How soon is the apartment available?  What is your policy on [fill in the blank]?  Are you offering a lease signing deal?  What amenities does the apartment offer?  This is a great time to ask about specific things that you are looking for in an apartment that the ad does not list].

Ending 1 [if you are NOT  interested in the apartment]: Thanks!  I will call you if I have any additional questions.

Ending 2 [if you are interested in the apartment]: Thanks!  When is a good time for me to view the apartment?  I am available [times or days you are available].

[Inform the landlord you have a voucher near the end of the conversation and ask if they accept the voucher and are willing to work with you]. 

Sample voicemail

Hi, my name is [your name] and I am calling about the [property address] I found out about on [Zillow; Trulia; a vacancy sign].  I have a few questions that I would like to ask about it.  Please call me at [your phone number].  The best time to reach me is [on weekdays after 5pm, anytime on the weekends].  I look forward to hearing from you.  [Repeat name and phone number].

Sample email

Hello,

My name is [your name], I am writing in response to your rental located at [address or identifying info or state where you saw the listing and any identifying info].   I have a few questions about the rental:

[List any questions you have]

I am looking to move by [state date you would like to move].  I would love to set up a time and date to view your rental.  I can be reached at [Phone Number] or by email at [email].  I am generally available [state a time and days that you are free].  I look forward to hearing from you soon.  Thank you. 

[Your Name]