Goofus or Gallant? Common Sense Tips to Get Your Property Rented

By Nelda SchulteGoofus scissors

Step into a time you interviewed candidates for a position in your business. In this article, I’d like you to compare that same process and mindset of interviewing candidates for your business to that of interviewing candidates for your property.

Before I continue, I’d like to share a little bit of my childhood with you. When I was growing up, my mother the teacher, used a comic book with 2 characters that demonstrated good and bad attitudes and behaviours. Of course, the teaching tool was for my brother, I was always the good one.

The comic was called “Goofus and Gallant”.

Throughout this article, I’ll be referring to both Goofus and Gallant to demonstrate both good and bad attitudes and behaviors in both interviewing/property rental that will affect your outcomes.

Who Do You Want to Attract?

  • Goofus has just fired his engineer, and in a rush, yells at his temp to hurry up and post an ad for a new position.

Unfortunately, her English isn’t the best and she puts up a sign in the window that reads:


Apply within, positions available


  • Gallant takes the time to write a professional ad based on the profile of the person he would like to fit into his company. Before he posts it, he checks for spelling, grammar and includes his company logo. Then he posts it in places Engineers look; Apegga, Linkedin, social learning networks and affinity groups.

The same principals Gallant utilized apply to your rental property advertisement. Write your ad based on the profile of the person you want to rent your property, check spelling and grammar, put good quality pictures (right side up!), and post it on sites where clientele look such as Rentfaster and Rentboard.

Have you Called Them?

  • Now that resumes are starting to come in, Goofus tells his temp to collect them, and he puts them in his “to do” file with plans to call them back sometime before 2018.
  • As soon as Gallant collects his resumes, he contacts candidates, pre-screens, makes a shortlist and immediately sets up interviews.

We took over a downtown Calgary condo that had been sitting vacant for 3 months (listed with “Goofus Property Management” fictitious name). As soon as we posted the ad, we had 2 calls from the same woman within the hour. When we called her back she said “thank you for calling me back, I called and emailed Goofus property management 3 times and no one ever called me back.” We rented it to her the next day.

What is Your 1st Impression?

  • During interviews – Goofus doesn’t bother to shower or change his clothes and his office is a pig sty.
  • During interviews – Gallant’s appearance is neat, clean, professional and his office is sparkling.

Your house is your handshake, the front yard is your appearance. If you want your property to attract good people, it’s got to look good and so do you during showings!

Does Everything Work?

  • Goofus’ office door knob falls off as he’s entering the interview room.
  • Gallant’s office is in ship shape, giving the impression of an efficient, productive work environment.

Dripping sinks, burned out lights, a door that doesn’t shut property, all add up to a bad impression. Just as a good employee will choose a professional work environment, a good tenant will choose a well-run property.

Are You Listening?

  • During the interview, Goofus’ interviewee mentions the wages he is offering are lower than the market rate. Goofus sloughs it off.
  • During the interview, Gallant’s interviewee mentions the wages he is offering are a little on the low side, Gallant asks her if the employee health spending account, workshift program and profit sharing incentives would entice her to join.

The people who walk through your property will talk about it. When you hear consistent comments i.e., funny smell in the entrance, price is too high for what you’re offering – listen.

I was having trouble renting on of my 2 bedroom basement suites. The comments were that it was overpriced for the size and it felt cold. I dropped the price, advertised it as a 1 bedroom + den, and turned the heaters on an hour before appointments. It rented.

Where are You Spending Your Time?

Goofus has predictably hired the wrong person for the job. During the process, he’s spent time and money paying for training, waiting for productivity that didn’t happen, and ended up firing her. He continues to rinse and repeat his mistakes, which of course, cost him considerable time and money. Understandably, his business is not thriving.

Gallant, on the other hand, put his time into hiring the right employee, and after a short training period, she is highly productive, which frees up his time to expand his already profitable business.

Bringing in the wrong tenant will cost you time dealing with tenant issues, eviction processes, property repairs, lost income and trips to the hair dresser.

Ultimately your attitude determines the work you do up front. Your good attitude will ensure you are putting thought and effort into your ad, promptly calling people back, keeping your property clean and in good repair and listening to comments. In the end, it’ll give you more profitable results and fewer gray hair.

Goofus or Gallant – which set of attitudes and behaviours will you choose to get your property rented?