Apartments – Are You A “Leasing Pro”?

NEXT……Let’s discuss how we “show” a vacant apartment!

May 20, 2016 – Are we ready to show that great 2 bedroom that just came available? Let’s do it !!

Here are the assumptions we will use before we get to the meat of the discussion:

  1. The apartment has been reconditioned (turned):

The apartment has been trashed out, any repairs/upgrades completed, prepped, painted, carpets cleaned/replaced. The apartment has been “punched out” (all maintenance performed), the apartment is professionally cleaned and all mechanical systems and appliances have been checked. Do yourself a favor and go see the apartment in person. Check for cobwebs by the entry door or on the exterior stairs, I am not kidding!. So Maintenance has “walked” the apartment with you and it is pronounced “ready”.

I want to emphasize here and forever…never, NEVER show a prospective Resident an apartment that is not READY!

2. We’ll assume that you have some advertising out there, so you are waiting on the walk ins, right?

Hmmm…….lets see:

Do you know from memory which voting district you’re in and the names of elementary, junior high and senior high schools?  If you do not provide utilities, do you have all the information your prospective Resident might need for electric, cable, telephone, etc? You need to know where the desired shopping areas are located, likewise for restaurants and entertainment venues.

3. Have legible printed floor plans available and know the exact square footage of each floor plan in your property or building and most of all, whether you will walk to the apartment or use a golf cart, don’t get lost!

Ok, lets set the scene:

You are at your desk and a couple walks in the office. You always assume that it’s a prospective Resident (it may be a Resident that you haven’t met etc). Make it a habit to get up from your desk and go to greet the folks! Make them comfortable at your desk (it’s easier to engage in conversation when everyone is seated) and ask how you can help them.

1. Begin to qualify the client. Ask pertinent questions relating to their living needs. What size Apartment do they want, what is their budget rental range for a proper sized unit, and when do they anticipate moving in (If they are looking for a 3 bedroom at a max rent of $1,000 mo and need to move in ASAP, and your availability is only two bedrooms starting at $1,200, you have saved the prospective Resident time, not to mention yours).

2. Let’s say they are right in your ballpark for an available apartment. Now you should begin to gather as much information as you can regarding their qualifications. Obtain the following before you leave to show the apartment:

  • Full names
  • Current address
  • Current home and work telephone numbers (from both applicants)
  • E-mail addresses

3. Prepare to go to the apartment you want to show. Make a copy of each persons driver’s license (very important safety issue).

Be sure you take a pen and notebook (I always used 3×5 index cards) to jot down notes to yourself when you take the tour with your clients. As you walk around the property, showing off the properties’ amenities, you can then casually gain information such as if they have pets, how many vehicles, how long have they lived at their current residence, what type of work do they do, etc. It’s easy to just note these things down on the card, it’ll come in handy, and will help you remember them later.

4. Show the apartment to it’s best advantage. Go to the apartment via the most scenic direction (going past the pool, for example), point out the ample parking, the free car wash, cookout areas, fitness center, etc.

5. Avoid discussion regarding the “profile” of your existing residents (Fair Housing). For example, point out that “because our property has two and three bedroom units and located close to a large office and professional park, we tend to have families with small or no children and singles with or without roommates.”

6. When showing the property, point out the location of the apartment, the locks on the entry door (card entry, etc) and exterior lighting. Try to determine who has the lead between the individuals, which spouse for example. Is their hot button the kitchen or the fireplace in the living room, or the size of the closets, etc. See if you can tell who is the decision maker, and begin your closing.

7. Closing: Never forget the axiom “Location, Location, Location.” You decide where and when you talk about your properties’ location. Do your homework; do you have a stoplight at your entrance? This can be a deal maker if you’re in a high traffic area! Are you close to shopping, etc, etc.  If asked about the cost of utilities, be honest. Give the best estimate, and include all the extra expense associated with the apartment (valet trash pickup, shared or “averaged water bills”, pest control, etc). Focus on what you determined to be their “hot button” and instill a sense of urgency (there are only two of this type available, so let’s get your deposit done today!) DO NOT BE TIMID ABOUT ASKING FOR THE DEPOSIT! Over half of leases are lost because an agent was timid about asking for the deposit or for the application to be filled out. Sit them down at the computer in your wi-fi cafe and walk them through the application process and ask for the check! CLOSE, CLOSE, CLOSE.

Coming Soon – The lease and move in process

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