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Reading the body language of your prospective tenant

Bodies talk. They even have their own language. You can probably already read some of this language during your day-to-day social interactions. For example, you may find someone slouched over a table during a meeting to seem unprofessional or perhaps when you ask a potential tenant’s reason for moving they stutter or mumble and look to the ceiling. You may have felt like they weren’t being completely honest. There are a few key movements a prospective tenant may make during a viewing or lease signing that can offer insight into how they are as a person so you can ensure they’re the right fit for your unit.

You can tell if a smile is real by a person’s eyes.

Interestingly enough, if a person’s eyes crinkle a bit when they’re smiling it’s a sign they’re being genuine. Many people may try to hide a distaste for a certain rule or rent price etc by giving you a faux smile. Usually though, if a person gets creases or crows’ feet beside their eyes while they’re flashing a grin it means they’re happy with what you’ve just said. If not, it may be worth it to probe further to determine whether there’s something they disagree with in what you’ve just said.

Certain “comforting” actions may actually be negative.

If someone is being responsive to you by lightly touching your shoulder or arm or subtly copying your moves and really getting in your space, oftentimes they’re deliberately trying to sell a false image. It’s actually quite common of experienced marketers or salespeople to pull out these tricks on their customers. Be wary of these overly friendly actions.

There is something to be said about posture.

You’re right to assume that someone slouching is probably unprofessional. But why do we see it that way? Well certain studies have suggested that a person who sits or stands up straight comes off as more powerful or in control of a situation. Someone who is slouching appears to be smaller or taking up less space and therefore unsure of themselves and their capabilities, trying to hide away from the other people in the room.

Highbrows or normal eyebrows?

If your potential tenant is looking at you with raised eyebrows, it’s safe to assume they do not feel comfortable with some information you’ve given them. Unless something you’ve said is truly shocking — perhaps you’ve given the tenant a monthly price 30 per cent higher than what was listed in your postings — raised eyebrows can almost always definitely be read as disappointment or discomfort since it’s scientifically difficult to raise your eyebrows during a relaxed conversation (try it).

Ultimately, body language or not, after conversing with your tenant and conducting proper tenant referencing and rental history checks you need to decide whether or not your new tenant is trustworthy and will respectfully maintain your property.

As much as body language can be helpful for this, thorough tenant screening will always be key to renting to a trustworthy tenant who’s the perfect fit for you.