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Leasing Agent Tips on how to better close a rental tenant.

 

20 Easy Ways to Ask for (and Get!) Your Customer’s Email Address

Putting together the greatest email campaign ever doesn’t do you any good unless your emails are being seen by the right people. Building an email list is critical to your marketing efforts, but not every customer – or prospect – is always thrilled to give out their email address.
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Customer’s Email Address. Here are 20 easy ways to ask for (and get!) your customer’s email address.


-Offer to communicate new specials, availability, and more with every prospective resident
-Offer to email prospects a brochure, the application, a price quote, etc. while they are considering their move
-Offer to follow up with the prospect by email to check on their progress and see if you can answer any questions that might come up
-Offer to email the move-in check list or a receipt for the deposit to all new move-ins
-Add a link on your website to subscribe to email communications, such as your resident newsletter or blog
-Put a form on your Facebook fan page asking users to sign up for email communications
-Distribute your resident event notices and newsletters by email only (Bonus: You’ll be saving trees!)
-Share your latest newsletter or blog on a social network so everyone can see the great content you are delivering, and then ask people to sign up to receive the information by email
-Bring an email sign-up sheet to every resident event you host
On every service request make it a requirement to have the resident’s email address in case you need to contact them before or after the service is completed
-Host a coffee & doughnuts breakfast as a resident appreciation event – invite all your residents and have the onsite team there to greet, facilitate, and of course ask each resident to jot down their email address in order to get their donut and/or coffee
-Create a ongoing birthday/anniversary monthly drawing for customers with small gifts/prizes. (Tell them winners will only be notified by email!)
-Ask for email addresses as each resident pays their rent to make sure you have their most current contact information – or – offer to email them a receipt for the payment
-Create shareable content and encourage current subscribers to forward your emails to friends
-Do a phone blast to each resident letting them know your community is committed to providing excellent service and that you need their email addresses to better communicate with them about happenings at your community
ResidentsAsk residents to submit blogs by email that you can post on your website (Bonus: They get recognition of having their work published online and you get the SEO and their email address!)
-Have your staff go door to door when residents are home to ask for any missing email addresses to that you can provide better service (i.e. to communicate with them important things like tree trimming, re-pavement etc.)
-Add a field on your leasing agreement (or an addendum) asking for the resident’s email address
-Add a QR code to your print marketing, where smart phone users can opt-in for email communications
-Incentivize your staff to collect email addresses with a half day off work or gift card
-One of the most easy ways to ask for and get your customer’s email address is simply to ASK. Yes, ask every resident to provide their email address so that you can better communicate to them about routine community maintenance and resident events. You’ll find that your customer is more often than not willing to provide their email address as their preferred mode of communication.

Source: Ellis

How to Deal with Angry Residents

How to Deal with Angry Residents
By: Mindy Williams

Here are some great ideas submitted to Rent & Retain on how to deal with angry
residents.

- I wait two counts after a resident stops complaining. This way I don’t
interrupt them and it gives them the chance to get everything off their
chest. Then I summarize their problem and give solutions.

- I learned a long time ago never to say, “It’s out of my control” or “I have to
ask my boss.” This makes the complaining resident believe that my job is
not important and so in the future they should just go over my head. I tell
the resident that WE can work it out together. This puts us together as a
team.

- We are extending our phone hours to 7am to 7pm so that residents with
complaints can call us more easily. Since the office is closed, we just
need one person to stay early/late and answer the phones, which also
gives us extra time to catch up on paperwork.

Source: LeasingCafe.com

Reaching Your Audience

Reaching Your Audience
Almost three quarters of American adults are now using the Internet according to Pew
Research Center. A web site has become a storefront with a potential audience of 221
million any time of the day or night. Not bad marketing for a mere twenty-five-year-old!
Rent.com, the largest Internet referral service in the rental housing industry, recently
conducted a study on over 1,000 apartment shoppers that reported 84% of apartment
seekers shop on the Internet. 67% of those use a search engine like Google, Bing or
Yahoo to locate an apartment, with Google leading as the favorite. Of the 74% of
Americans that use the Internet, 94% of them have an annual income of over $75,000, are
college graduates, and urban dwellers: in essence, the most perfect of prospects.
With such encouraging statistics pointing the way as to how the industry’s most sought-
after prospects choose to do business, it is essential to make Internet leasing a viable part
of your marketing budget.

 

Reality Check

We recently completed a secret shopping analysis of 300 apartment properties across
many geographic and economic locations in the US as part of an extensive online leasing
case study in 2010.
 Only 18.1% of Internet inquires were answered with a telephone call in an
average of 6.9 working hours.
 46.9% of Internet inquiries returned a personalized email message in an average
of 8 working hours.
 62.2% sent an automated email response.
 43.4% did not respond at all.
The leasing study revealed that the property website proved to be the most powerful
online leasing tool when it was effectively positioned with search engine sensitivity and
designed and equipped to lease apartments online. Using precise leasing activity
provided, we concluded that:
 39.7% of all leases originate from the property website
 18.3% of all leads originate from the property website
 16% of all property website leads are leased.

Persistence is Paramount
Contacting a lead multiple times is highly effective when leasing to an online prospect.
In a statistical analysis of actual lead/leasing data randomly selected from our lead
tracking users, multiple email responses to an online prospect dramatically increased
lease conversion ratios up to 36% if an online prospect is emailed four times.
If a prospect is contacted within two hours after making an online inquiry, the closing
advantage is increased by 576%. For further details, see the full multiple contact and
rapid response impact graph below.

 

Internet Leads Into Income 
We recently completed a secret shopping analysis of 300 apartment properties across
many geographic and economic locations in the US as part of an extensive online leasing
case study in 2010.
 Only 18.1% of Internet inquires were answered with a telephone call in an
average of 6.9 working hours.
 46.9% of Internet inquiries returned a personalized email message in an average
of 8 working hours.
 62.2% sent an automated email response.
 43.4% did not respond at all.
The leasing study revealed that the property website proved to be the most powerful
online leasing tool when it was effectively positioned with search engine sensitivity and
designed and equipped to lease apartments online. Using precise leasing activity
provided, we concluded that:
 39.7% of all leases originate from the property website
 18.3% of all leads originate from the property website
 16% of all property website leads are leased.

Persistence is Paramount
Contacting a lead multiple times is highly effective when leasing to an online prospect.
In a statistical analysis of actual lead/leasing data randomly selected from our lead
tracking users, multiple email responses to an online prospect dramatically increased
lease conversion ratios up to 36% if an online prospect is emailed four times.
If a prospect is contacted within two hours after making an online inquiry, the closing
advantage is increased by 576%.

For the first time in leasing history, it is possible to fully account for digital and telephone
leads, and to know what advertising investment produced them. Advancing Internet
technology has built a digital highway that keeps precise traffic counts. It has altered the
way we lease apartments and the way highly qualified prospects desire to do business. To
be effective, the human interpretation of advertising and traffic counts must be
electronically managed in the current technological age.
Some property management accounting applications such as MRI collect manual traffic
input. Such a system is still dependent on the human factor. An annual study of manual
versus actual prospect data conducted on a class A property in the Midwest reported that:
 42.4% of online traffic was not reported in the property management software
 79% of all traffic was not sourced.

 Similarly, a secret shopping analysis compared 10 properties managed by the

same national multifamily management company. The five properties that
employed electronic lead engagement performed with a 100% response rate; the
five properties that used some other method responded to 20% of the same online
shoppers.
ROI Impact
The general consensus of the multifamily industry’s response to advanced online leasing
is “we are doing better.” Affirmative: the industry overall is improved from not
responding to 48% of online leads in 2007, as researched by Apartments.com secret
shopping survey, to responding to 43.6% based on a nationwide shopping survey in 2010.
The “sleeping giant” of discarded Internet leasing initiatives in the multifamily industry
creates a marvelous advantage for a savvy, hi-tech-minded property management
company. Such a company can easily reap the benefits of their competitors’ delayed
response to effective Internet marketing. Four such progressive companies recovered the
initial costs of their web site development and online search marketing in eight days.
You may review these actual case studies by contacting the author.
Here are some steps to ramp up your team for successful online leasing.

Conceptualization

The first and most vital process in initiating an effective online leasing strategy is to help your onsite team members rethink and relearn the dynamics and incredible advantages of Internet leasing. I remember reading an article about a Florida developer who refused to

hire leasing agents who had any prior experience for his Class AA apartment construction
lease-up. Puzzling? He only wanted to hire leasing staff members who were open to
leasing on the Internet, who were not intimidated by a computer, or felt like the arrival of
an online lead was an interruption in their daily routine—and he felt it was necessary to go outside the industry to find them. I called the property nine months later to see how the lease-up advanced and not surprisingly, they were already full.

The media has great power to quickly implant stereotypes in the viewers’ minds. Why
not use multimedia to build a positive rather than negative imagery in the minds of your
leasing staff members? There are many excellent consultants in the multifamily industry
that are plugged into the new age of Internet leasing. They have developed dynamic,
visionary tools and honed valuable information that will raise your staff’s appreciation
and expectation of online leasing. Calculate how many leases it would take to pay for a
professional with a fresh view to conduct a training session for your employees. If the
increased knowledge would gain 1 lease per month, the session would pay for itself the
first year.
In many cases, we have discovered that lead accountability management is intimidating
to some leasing staff members when they realize they have to account for every lead, that
their follow-up activities will be easily and frequently reviewed by their leaders, and that
every archived lead will require an explanation. Instead of seeing lead management as a
method of increasing closings, some leasing agents may perceive it as a threat to their
closing ratios. Reconsider the emphasis your company may be placing on closing ratios
as a performance gage in lieu of accessing manageable facts that will ultimately produce
successful performance. Additionally, consider creating an adjusted closing ratio target
for Internet traffic as compared with live traffic.

Empowerment

Most of us would never think of sending a maintenance technician to work on an air

conditioner without a set of gages and meters. Yet it is tempting to see a laptop, PDA, or
“additional leasing” computer as frivolous. Responding promptly to online inquiries,
employing dazzling online leasing tools, or reeling in a prospect with a web site chat
feature will not be accomplished if the leasing agent has to compete for time on the
manager’s accounting computer. Contact a well known web and software design provider and see what terms they will give on desktop, laptop or PAD when you become a software subscriber or republish your website.

 

Source: Leasing Cafe

ApartmentRatings.com: Critical for Marketing?

 

ApartmentRatings.com: Critical for Marketing?

 

Posted by

There are many different opinions about the value of social media in multi-family housing. Readers of this blog should be pretty aware of mine. But the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that ratings sites are important. There’s a lot of debate about what to do with ratings sites, but everyone seems to agree there’s some “there” there.

So I thought it would be a good idea to get a sense of exactly how important ratings sites are. The first step I took was to dig up some research I had done for a client back in February. In it I wanted to identify whether there was a clear “category killer” or whether multiple ratings sites were important. In an admittedly un-scientific way, I just looked at 10 communities in the Washington, DC market.

ApartmentRatingsChart1 resized 600

Although this is a limited dataset, I think it makes it pretty clear that apartmentratings.com is the “category killer.” We can talk about Yelp, and we can opine whether Google+ will grow, but at least for right now, it’s clear that we really only have to focus on one rating site.

So the next step was to dig into ApartmentRatings.com. Given that I don’t have access to their database, I had to limit my search to the amount of time and energy to manually collect data. So I collected 147 markets over a broad range—small vs large, core vs non-core, sub-market vs SMSA, etc. For this analysis, I focused entirely on counts and penetrations; the notion being that high counts with high penetration mean we should care a lot and low counts and/or low penetration probably mean prospects won’t care too much (e.g. I take a restaurant rating based on 57 reviews a lot more seriously than one based on 6 reviews).

The results are fascinating (at least to me) and summarized below. The full white paper ApartmentRatings.com: Critical for Marketing or Just an Interesting Sideshow? is available free. Simply email me at Donald@imaginellc.com, and I’ll send it you. (I know—a sophisticated marketer should have a registration-based auto-download on a website, but I’ve just been too busy to set that up J so I’d rather offer this information up the old fashioned way as opposed to procrastinating further)

As an executive summary, here’s what I found:

There’s a large degree of variation by market in virtually all relevant statistics. There’s a small “head” set of communities with many (even hundreds of) reviews and a very long tail with relatively few reviews. Engagement varies significantly by both geographical region and demographic type of market (see Methodology section for description of market types). I wish there was a clear answer that the public is either highly engaged or not highly engaged, but that is simply not the case. The reality is:  Engagement varies by market. In most markets, engagement is modest at best. Even with modest engagement, there are individual properties that have significant engagement.For the modern multi-family housing marketer, this suggests the following guidance:

ApartmentRatings.com is more relevant than many other social media channels; however, it’s typically not (yet) likely to affect leasing nearly as much more primary marketing and communication channels. Given the variation by market, it’s important to review the actual engagement of the markets a marketer is responsible for as well as the individual communities they support. Each marketer/salesperson should be aware of the number, timing and content of any reviews about their community so they can respond appropriately to prospects’ inquiries. Again, if you want to see the detailed methodology and results, just email me. I’ll be happy to send you a free copy of the D2 Demand Solutions white paper, ApartmentRatings.com: Critical for Marketing or Just an Interesting Sideshow?

Leasing Agent Tip to Success:
- Track your leads and closings. Know what’s working

5 Tips for Leasing Agents

5 Tips for Leasing Agents

A few days ago I attended an amazing class taught by the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando’s very own, Desiree Star. Sitting in a room full of leasing agents, ranging from newbies to seasoned veterans, was quite the experience for a supplier like me. Not only did I get a chance to wrap my head around a day in the life of a leasing agent, but I also picked up on some awesome tips and tricks to share. Check out my list of five things I learned in Leasing 101!

Honesty
Nine times out of ten a leasing agent is going to hear this question when giving a tour:  “How thin are the walls?” I learned that the best thing to do is be honest. Realistically, apartments are multi-family housing and the walls are typically built pretty thin. Inform renters that they are going to hear sounds between units and floors. If it’s a real concern for them, encourage them to consider a top floor. This goes for crime, too. If someone ask you if your community is safe, your best response is “Crime has no address.”

Phone Technique
If there’s one thing to remember on the phone it’s this: always answer a question with a question. It’s a great way to stay in control of the conversation, and makes it easier to ask for an appointment. The more you know about the prospect the better you can sell your product and satisfy their needs. Converting more telephone calls into walk-in traffic will increase your overall traffic and, consequently, your sales!

Team Closing
No matter how good you are at your job, there are going to be some people with whom you don’t connect. Instead of desperately trying to close these people, make a deal with a coworker to help close the deal and split the commission with him/her. If the coworker can vibe more with the prospect, it’s a win-win situation. This is also a great technique to use with managers. When a manager pops into the room and chats with the prospect, the person immediately feels as though they are getting special treatment. This could ultimately be their push to complete an application or sign a lease.

Follow Up
You go out on a first date and everything goes well. You’re interested in a second date, but when do you call and ask? You don’t want to seem desperate, but you also don’t want to miss your window of opportunity. When following up with a prospect, a good time frame to reach out is within the first 48 hours. Now you might not get a response for a few days or weeks. It may even get to the point where you feel as though you are stalking these people when you continue to follow up. What I learned: stalk until you can’t stalk no more… or until they tell you to stop calling! One of the leasing agents told a story about how they followed up with a prospect for over 6 months. The gentleman initially said he was just looking,  but eventually ended up signing a lease!

Terminology
Using the right words with the right people is so important in this industry. You wouldn’t want to tell a prospect that you have a make ready 2 by 2 unit, even though that’s how you would speak with the maintenance and office staff. Below you will find the appropriate terms to use with both audiences:

With Staff say… With Renters say…
TenantUnit 

Complex/ Property

2 by 2

Handicap Unit

Maintenance Man

Leasing Agent

Make Ready

Model

ResidentApartment Home 

Community

2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom

Accessible/ Barrier Free

Service Technician

Leasing Associate/ Leasing Professinal

Move-In Ready

Furnished Apartment Home

 

Source: Higher NOI 

How To Convince Prospects to Rent and Not buy

Leasing Agent Tips and Tricks

Leasing Agent Tips and Tricks

Home ownership is part of the American dream — we long for a white picket fence and a patch of grass to call our own. Yet, there are a lot of factors to consider when making this dream a reality. The next time you ask yourself, Should I buy a home? think about these key factors before you make a decision.

Where do you see yourself?
Before you make any decisions, you need to assess where you want to live and consider factors like schools, property taxes, home type and commute. Look into the average rent and home prices that fit your size needs and specs within the specific area. Is the neighborhood developing and what is the chance your home will appreciate?

Keep in mind that renting allows you the flexibility to switch neighborhoods or cities whenever you want. If you buy a home you are committed to a location so be sure you have good job security in the city and like the area. Plus, renting for a year is a good way to test a neighborhood. Also remember, the longer you stay in a purchased home, the more you offset your closing and moving costs.

Can you afford to buy a home?
Think hard about your financial goals and how purchasing a home will impact your savings and retirement targets. If you are buying a home as an investment, you need to be realistic that you can’t expect a financial gain. You never know where the market will be when you want to sell.

While it is difficult to secure a mortgage, rates are down so it is a good time to buy if you can afford it. You will be assessed on your credit score, income and down payment so take your time to build your credit score up or save more for a down payment before you buy.
Remember that comparing rent and ownership costs is not as simple as seeing if your monthly rent would equal your monthly mortgage payments. In addition to your mortgage you also need to factor in taxes, repairs, maintenance, closing and legal fees, insurance, furnishing the home and moving costs. You shouldn’t spend any more than 28 percent of your monthly income on your mortgage payments, interest, taxes and home-owners insurance, according to Bankrate.com.

Do the responsibilities of home ownership balance the benefits?
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with owning a home. Unlike when you are renting, if something breaks you need to pay to fix it. You also need to take care of ongoing indoor and outdoor maintenance.
The upside is that if you invest in updating your home, you are increasing the resale value and can make changes to suit your exact needs and taste. You can finally say goodbye to the white walls of your rental apartment. Also, don’t forget to consider the benefits of home ownership tax breaks.


Leasing Agent Tips:
- Convince your prospect that renting is less expensive than owning.
- Help your prospect understand what the landlord will pay for in regards to repairs.



Source: Yahoo Finance

5 Things Every Real Estate Pro Knows

5 Things Every Real Estate Pro Knows

By Glenn Curtis | Investopedia

Those who consistently make money in real estate know the market. They know the location and the history. They know what new developments are planned. They know the transportation and the schools. They know everything about the area where they invest. They have to know it all.
Staying ahead of the competition in real estate investment means doing your homework. If you are new to the business, it can be daunting, but we’ll teach you five tricks that the old pros use to get ahead of the trends instead of chasing them.

Study Local Pricing
The first things to study are the current price trends in the area. For example, a potential investor should look to see if the price of homes is accelerating faster in one area than in others. Next, check to see if the average home price is more than in other neighboring towns. This will provide an idea of where the biggest demand is. Another reason to study these trends is that, over time, you will start to develop a sense for which prices are “fair” for certain properties and which are overpriced. For individuals looking to buy properties at the lowest cost possible, this knowledge can be invaluable.
Realtors and real estate agents are a terrific source for this information given their access to the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS). The local newspaper, the Internet and the town hall may have a record of recent sale prices as well.

Look for a Catalyst
One sign that an area is up-and-coming and that it will be desirable in the future is the development of new infrastructure. When you see new roads and schools being built, it’s a sign that the community is set for a growth spurt. Investing in a growing community can be very profitable. In addition, certain types of development, like new shopping centers, may be extremely attractive to homebuyers, and may also help keep the tax base low.

Visit the Real Estate Center
Spotting new developments can be as easy as looking out your car window as you drive by. Telltale signs of land clearing, surveying or the beginnings of construction in and around major roadways are pretty big tip-offs. Also, look for widening of traffic lanes, the installation of turnaround lanes and the erection of new traffic lights. All suggest the possibility of increased traffic flow.
Next, visit town hall at the municipality or the county level, and speak with the road and the building departments. They should be aware of any major projects slated to begin in the area, and they may even be able to provide you with a connection at the state level so you can find out if any state-owned roads or properties are slated for development as well. Real estate agents also have general idea of what new projects are about to be undertaken.

Explore Low-Tax Alternatives
If there are two towns side by side — one with high property taxes (or with progressively rising property taxes) and the other with low property taxes — the one with the lower taxes will usually be more in demand.
Real estate agents can help you determine which areas have the best and worst tax structures. In addition, a simple call to the local tax assessor can reveal how much the town charges in taxes per $100 of house. The assessor can also let you know when the last time the area was evaluated by the township. Also watch to see if a reassessment is set to take place in the near future, as it may mean that property taxes are about to go up. Beware of towns and communities that are becoming overcrowded. Signs include schools filled to capacity and inferior roadways. This could mean the town will have to do some major construction to accommodate the influx of people. And how do they pay for that construction? Tax dollars.

Check the School Rankings
Nearly every state ranks its schools by how well students in each district fare on tests in math and English. Sharp-eyed investors should look for schools that are moving up or are atop the list. These areas are often desirable to parents. Access to quality education is a big selling point to new home buyers.
There are several ways to find this information. Check our your state’s board of education website. Also, PSK12.com has public school rankings for most states in its free section. Visiting the schools yourself is also a good idea. Schools that rank the highest are usually quite eager to provide information.

Watch the Outskirts
If the properties in a major city or town have become overpriced, the areas on the outer fringes most likely will soon be in demand. Areas in close proximity to major bus and rail transportation are even more desirable. Nearly any area that is about to install a major train stop or a new major bus route will see its proverbial stock go up in value.
To find out what’s planned, you can check with the local railroad or bus company to see if they will be expanding service in the area. The local town hall or planning department will also have this information.

Bottom Line
It pays to do your homework and to tap local resources to determine which areas are hot now and, more importantly, which ones will be hot in the future. Much of the information is out there and free for the taking. You just have to be willing to do the leg work.

Leasing Agent Tips:

-Know what your client is looking for.
-Be ready to answer the tough questions
-Answering “I don’t know” it not an answer.

7 home expenses renters don’t pay

Lease this home

Lease this home

7 home expenses renters don’t pay

When it comes to owning a home, the initial down payment and mortgage payments are just the beginning. There are a number of expenses that you should consider before deciding to purchase your first home. Many of these expenses continue for as long as you own your home – even after the mortgage is paid off.
1. Property Taxes
Property taxes are typically paid to your municipal or local government to fund such things as public works, wages of government workers or public school boards. Homeowners can expect to pay taxes on their home for as long as they own it. Taxes are assessed based on the current value of your home, and can change over time to reflect your home’s increase or decrease in value. Property taxes can also vary depending upon the region, so you should always investigate the area you’re looking to buy. (Find out what steps you can take to reduce your bill, see Five Tricks For Lowering Your Property Tax.)
2. Home Maintenance

Homeowners can’t simply call the landlord when the appliances need to be replaced or the hot water tank stops working. All these home maintenance tasks – and even the larger home renovations – are the responsibility of the homeowner. Whether you’re planning a large remodeling project, or just to cover the necessary repairs, it is suggested that homeowners budget at least one per cent of their home’s purchase value per year towards maintenance. Therefore, if your home is worth $220,000, you should plan to set aside at least $2,200 towards maintenance costs. Some sources even suggest you should budget for up to four per cent per year, which would be $8,800 on a $220,000 home.
3. Mortgage Interest
The amount you’ll pay in mortgage interest over the duration of your mortgage depends upon the length of time you amortize your mortgage over (or the number of years that it will take you to repay your home loan), the frequency of payments and the rate of interest. The interest rate on your mortgage can fluctuate over time, depending upon the type of mortgage you select. However, for a general idea of how much interest a homeowner can expect to pay over the course of their mortgage, if you have a $220,000 mortgage that is amortized over 30 years at a rate of five per cent, you can expect to pay roughly $205,162 in interest.
4. Home Insurance

Renters may have to pay rental insurance, but homeowner insurance tends to be a lot more expensive. Rental insurance typically covers the contents of the unit you rent; however, homeowners are concerned with the value of the physical structure of their property as well. If a home is lost in a fire or natural disaster, insurance will cover the remainder of their mortgage, or the cost to rebuild or repair the home. Insurance policies offer different levels of protection and coverage, and premiums can vary greatly.
5. Real Estate and Legal Fees
The mere act of buying or selling a home comes with costs. The seller is generally faced with paying the real estate agent fees, which typically come in the form of commission. Commissions are negotiable, but tend to run about six per cent. If you sell your home for $220,000, you can look at paying about $13,200 in commission. Also, both buyer and seller must pay legal fees to cover the transfer of title. Legal fees vary depending upon the lawyer. Of course, the actual cost will depend on the requirements and the experience of the legal team. Real estate lawyers also charge for additional closing costs associated with the purchase or sale of your home, so you should always budget a bit extra. (Property transactions are complex and subject to specific laws and regulations. A professional can simplify the process – check out Attention Home Buyers! Why You Need A Lawyer.)
6. Landscaping and Lawn Care

If your home has a yard, you will definitely need to budget for landscaping and lawn care costs. Paying a landscaping company to care for your lawn could run you about $30 per week. That adds up to between $120 and $150 per month for a basic lawn. If you choose to do the work yourself, your costs will undoubtedly be lower; however, you’ll still need to consider expenses like fertilizer, tools and maintenance equipment, tree maintenance and seasonal plants for the garden. Although you might want to think it is free if you do it yourself, you do need to think about the time cost of mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.
7. Home Owners’ Association Fees
Some developments charge a Home Owners’ Association (HOA) fee or condominium fee. These fees often cover external building maintenance and landscaping costs for common areas. This minimizes the cost of any home expenses that are covered by the HOA fee, though these fees won’t cover any internal maintenance costs associated with your unit. HOA fees may not cover maintenance or construction projects if the HOA doesn’t have enough money in reserve to cover it. This may result in a hefty cost to owners in the development. Those in HOAs should set some money aside to cover such unforeseen expenses associated with the maintenance of their communal property.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that your landlord is paying all these expenses for the property that you’re already living in – therefore, all these expenses are being factored into your rent. Other fees could include an extra parking spot, or loss of percentage of the security deposit. Also, real estate values tend to increase over the long term, though the real estate market is definitely not immune to short-term fluctuations. If you can make a long-term commitment to owning a home, there is a definite potential to earn a profit from the sale of your property. Just keep in mind that there are more expenses involved with owning a home than immediately come to mind. Just because your mortgage payments are less than your rent doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll come out ahead in the short term.

Leasing Agent Tips:

- Use these points to sell your client. If you have listings that offer concessions(pool service, landscaping, memberships) use them to close the deal. Wait until they ask you about the concessions then say if they apply today you will include them.

Source: By Janet Fowler | Investopedia

Confessions of an on-site leasing agent

Inside Stories_14
For the past nine months, I’ve worked as an on-site leasing agent for a major Manhattan landlord. Every day people come through my office in various stages of frustration, looking for a suitable place to call home. Having sat on both sides of the table–I personally have rented three apartments in three years, so I understand what a colossal pain finding a place in Manhattan is–I’ve learned a thing or two about how to go about securing the best apartment on the best terms……more.

Source: Best of Brick: Confessions of an on-site leasing agent Brick Underground

Closing the Deal

Yesterday I signed the lease on a home that sat vacant for over a month with no leads coming in and no showings from outside agents. The home was overpriced by $150-200. The home was very very nice. Too nice for the neighborhood. I’m talking stainless appliances, granite countertops, pool, new carpet, and completely repainted. Just the neighborhood didn’t allow for the price. I finally got a call and a showing scheduled. Obviously not getting my hopes up that it would rent due to the price, but I showed it because the tenants passed the “pre qualification” questions.

Typical showing. They looked around and had the usual questions. They didn’t seemed overly thrilled or eager. As I normally do I notice the finer details of a home. I was in the cabinet industry for 10 years so I tend to notice those things. The quality of the cabinet, the finish, and the quality of the installation. Just by looking at the outside of a cabinet I can usually guess the type of drawers used in the construction. On these particular cabinets I guessed the drawers would be dovetailed(the best quality you can get). I also guessed the drawer slides would be undermount and self closing. Ah, ha!!!! I was right. Now these type of drawer slides are ones where you can slam the drawer shut and about 2 inches before slamming into the cabinet they slowdown and gently close on their own. It’s pretty cool to watch. So when the prospect came back into the kitchen I did a demonstration. I opened the drawer then slamed it shut. Every time I do this I get the open mouth jaw drop. Then of course they proceed to try it themselves. Well, on this particular home that was the selling point. At the signing they couldn’t stop opening and closing the drawers in the kitchen. I leased a home that was $200 overpriced in one showing.

Leasing Agent Tips :

Never give up on a prospect
Point out the little details
You can’t be successful if you don’t try

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