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Leasing Agent Tips on how to sign more leases and manage your time.

 

Algorithms for Rent: The Price Is Right

Algorithms for Rent: The Price Is Right

Algorithms can slice and dice hundreds of variables to come up with the optimal price for renting a particular apartment unit. Revenue management software is constantly churning to refresh pricing on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis. That doesn’t mean rents are always high, either. Price fluctuations go both ways, so consumers can benefit too.

See how Redglaze Group harnesses the power of Sugar to give more individuals access to critical data, optimize key processes and improve efficiencies across the entire customer lifecycle.

If you’ve been in the market for almost anything recently, you’ve probably noticed price fluctuations. You place a bicycle on your Amazon wish list at one price, only to see it shoot up a hundred dollars more a few days later, then drop to a hundred less a week or so after that. Everything from airplane tickets to apartment rentals seems subject to dramatic price changes from one day to the next.

The way that these price changes are accomplished is through algorithms — complex computerized step-driven formulas that crunch variables related to product and market, then spew out answers.

Algorithms have been around for a while. The ancient Greek mathematician, Euclid, used one around 300 B.C. to find the greatest common divisor of two integers in his geometry work Elements, considered a standard for logical thinking.

All About Adaptability

One historically growth-challenged sector — the multifamily residential dwelling industry, colloquially known as “apartments” — has embraced the algorithm with impressive results.

How do you financially grow buildings that are getting older? The answer is through a combination of things: customer service (note the bend-over-backwards building staff); presentation (lush landscaping and grounds upkeep); and what we’re interested in, which is tech-driven, computer-led pricing.

Algorithm-driven revenue management software like provides a fluid means for adjusting prices based on a host of variables.

chart
Yardi
Yardi’s revenue management software allows for fast adjustment to market conditions and changes in inventory and traffic, while adjusting for cost constraints such as vacancy loss, turnover costs and inventory hold days.
For example, RENTmaximizer, which is used to manage 8 million residential units around the world, “adjusts to the changes in the supply and demand of the asset on a daily basis,” said Dharmendra Sawh, Yardi’s industry principal for revenue management.

It “moves the pricing accordingly, to capture the value of the change — whether up or down — to maximize the revenue collected while minimizing vacancy loss, leading to bigger margins,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Rents are priced by the algorithm every day, which provides rapid adjustment to market conditions and changes in traffic or inventory, said Sawh. The product also adjusts for industry-specific cost issues, including vacancy loss and inventory hold periods.

Yardi can distribute information using Microsoft’s Sharepoint and reckons its clients gain about a 2-4 percent lift in net revenue over market.

“It adapts to each asset’s strengths to optimize the value of each lease in an open and transparent way,” Sawh said.

Data on Demand

About a million multifamily housing units are priced using Rainmaker LRO (Lease Rent Options).

Rainmaker LRO
Rainmaker’s LRO software determines and recommends incremental daily pricing changes, up or down, to prevent dramatic peaks and valleys in pricing.
Hundreds of variables are included in the data set used to deliver optimized pricing recommendations for apartment owners and operators, said Amar Duggassani, executive vice president, strategy and business development, for Rainmaker LRO.

The variables range from “primary data elements such as lease terms, move-in dates and competitor rents to some highly technical parameters that influence how dynamic our predictive algorithms need to be for a given market,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Rainmaker LRO calculates demand in a given market using all customer visits, even if a unit isn’t leased, and provides forecasting of unconstrained demand — the quantity that could be sold if there weren’t any constraints — which it says is true demand.

It also considers historical price and availability constraints, along with elements such as traffic, leases, notices, move-ins and move-outs.

Feeding the Data Beast

Statistical algorithm-driven RentPush.com is an on-demand, price setting, Web-interfaced application that takes into account historical leasing factors, rent roll, regional trends and other factors.

“Behind the scenes, the RentPush.com algorithm continuously learns, analyzes and responds to incremental changes in vital property performance data such as occupancy, availability and turnover,” said Laurie McMoran Bennett, director of revenue at Spherexx.

Other Spherexx Web-based products — including its CRM tool, ILoveLeasing.com, and its business intelligence product, MarketSurveyTools.com — provide ongoing data for the algorithm as well.

“With RentPush.com, new pricing can be generated and published on demand, at any time,” Bennett said.

Rainmaker LRO will be adding public data sets down the line to refine the algorithms, said Duggassani. At present, it collects most of its data from point-of-sales systems. It also gathers competitor information from third-party data.

Some of this data changes as often as every hour, Duggassani told TechNewsWorld.

Revenue management and price optimization have a long history in the airline industry, he noted, dating back many decades. It isn’t all for the benefit of the operator, either. Pricing efficiency in markets can trickle down to the consumer as well.

“Rainmaker LRO was the first product designed and developed from ground up taking some of the principles from the travel-related businesses and coupling them with more recent advancements to address the unique needs of the multifamily housing industry,” said Duggassani.

“While revenue management is generally credited with generating higher revenues for operators, its true value is in making markets efficient by offering many options for both the suppliers and the consumers,” he said.

In other words, the prices go down as well as up.

Source: Tech News World

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

Welcome to ‘Yo-yo Land’

Welcome to ‘Yo-yo Land’

Different real estate market reports can show home prices up, down and all around. Here’s how to cut through the clutter and figure out which ones are meaningful to you.
AUGUST 2013 | BY STEVE COOK

If you’re like most real estate professionals, you’ve been confused at one time or another by real estate market reports that seem contradictory or that just make no sense when compared to what you’re experiencing in your market.

When one report has home sales up and another has something different, which is right? If prices are soft where you live, but all the national reports in the news have prices zooming, what do you tell your sellers when they want to price their homes too aggressively?

News coverage of national reports sets your clients’ and customers’ expectations. Reports that confuse them can make life miserable. There are dozens of different “national” market reports today, and all are done in different ways, at different times, covering different markets, comparing different time intervals, and using different definitions of sale, time-on-market, and inventory. Cutting through the clutter and understanding which reports are reliable and useful is important.

Once, I tried to help a friend understand these complexities, and we were communicating via e-mail. I was in the process of explaining that the seasonality of the real estate business makes it important to compare today’s real estate prices to prices at the same time a year ago, called year-over-year. I used the shorthand “y-o-y.”

“So it’s like a yo-yo,” he replied. “Now I get it. Things go up and down or all around, and return to where they started. We’re talking Yo-yo Land.”

So, welcome to Yo-yo Land, where the rules may seem strange at first. But once you know the basics, you can understand how to use the wealth of real estate market information to make more informed decisions and successfully counsel others.

Here are some basics to help you get started.

1.      Different kinds of data create different results.

Just like baking a cake, what goes into a report determines what comes out. Real estate market reports use four different kinds of data: listings data from MLSs; public data from actual transactions filed in courthouses; appraisal data from software platforms maintained by mortgage servicers and appraisal management companies; and surveys of real estate professionals or consumers. Each kind of data has strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a summary:

Data Type Strengths Weaknesses Reports
Listings Timely, local, accurate inventories Asking prices only, usually high Trulia, realtor.com®, NAR
Public Very accurate and complete Slow (2-4 months) Case-Shiller, FHFA
Mortgage/appraisal Accurate Slower than listing data Lender Processing Services, CoreLogic
Surveys Timely Least accurate HousingPulse, RE/MAX
Combination Most accurate, fast Clear Capital

 

2.      Check the report’s time period and the markets it covers.

Nothing’s more frustrating than to compare the latest data from your MLS to the latest Case-Shiller release. First, Case-Shiller uses public data, and the quarterly report is released two-and-a-half months after the period it is reporting. Second, Case-Shiller consists of two different indexes derived from 30 and 40 market groupings, largely major cities. If you’re not in one of those markets, the findings don’t relate to you at all. Other very slow reports are the government’s FHFA report and FNC.

3.       Look first to your MLS.

One of the great ironies in real estate is that, although all real estate is local, it’s much easier to get market information about the nonexistent national market than your local market. Filling that huge local void today are multiple listing services. Most MLSs provide their members with market reports that break down data by municipality, county, or ZIP code. There is no better source of market information for most REALTORS®.

In addition to MLSs, many markets are home to consulting real estate economists who report on local markets. Also, many leading graduate schools of real estate conduct market research.  If you live near one, you might give them a call.

However, as noted on the table above, listings data have their shortcomings, chiefly with prices. Listing prices represent only one side of the transaction: the sellers. Generally, list prices are as much as 5 percent above the final prices, but that can vary. In a seller’s market, list prices are closer to the final number, but I imagine that as a REALTOR®, you have a good handle on that.

4.       There is no such thing as the last word or a perfect report.

You might encounter two separate reports on your market. Each covers the same time period and uses the same kind of data, yet the results differ. Why?

The fact is that no report is the final word. Differences in the exact time period the data covers, the exact geography, the variables that were measured, the algorithms the statistician used to weight the data, etc., can all produce differences in reports. Look to see how each report was conducted and note the differences. Decide which best fits your needs and your market. Just as a doctor uses more than one test to decide on a diagnosis, consider the reports together to get a balanced picture.

Rental Agent Interview: Tony Strobel

Rental Agent Guide got in touch with Tony Strobel, a rental agent with Lori Gill & Associates, a Seattle-based property management firm, to learn more about his role.

RAG: How did you become a rental agent?

TS: I’d been working as a sales agent since 2000.  In 2008 I was in trouble with my personal residence and was trying to figure out if I should short sell it or rent it.  I interviewed an agent from Windermere Property Management, and by the end of our conversation she recommended that I come interview and see if property management was something that I might be interested in doing.  It was very easy transition, and I am very happy that I made the move.

RAG: Who is your typical client?

TS: My clients are mostly owners who’ve taken employment out of state.  They purchased their home within the past 5-6 years and are not able to sell, so plan to hold onto the home and rent it until the sales market strengthens.

 RAG:  What types of tasks do you perform on an average day?

TS: My average day might include any and all of the following:

  • Responding to owner questions/concerns
  • Responding to tenants questions/concerns/maintenance requests
  • Keeping current listing owners updated on any new/recent activity
  • Screening applicants
  • Writing leases
  • Doing move-in and move-out inspections
  • Doing periodic inspections of all of the homes I manage.  Currently I manage 65 homes, and visit each of them once every 6 months.
  • Going on listing appointments
  • Approving invoices to be paid
  • Giving rental advice to sales agents who have investor buyers
  • Emailing rental market analysis for potential new web, email, and phone-in clients

RAG: What are some of the difficult tasks/situations your skill set allows you to handle efficiently, that your clients might struggle to do on their own?

TS: A few things:

  • We offer a 24-hour emergency call service.
  • Most of our clients are out of state, so virtually all maintenance related work that needs to be done would be a challenge, all inspections would be difficult and expensive for them to fly into town to perform, knowing if the yard was being cared for, gutters needed to be cleaned, etc.
  • Knowledge of the landlord tenant law, lease enforcement, collections, evictions, etc.
  • We have a full accounting department which keeps an accurate accounting of all rental income and expenses, and prepares a 1099 at year end.

 RAG: Any advice for new rental property owners?

TS: Hire a professional rental management company.  :)

Thanks, Tony!

 

Source: Rental Agent Guide

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 

Bed Bugs

 

bedbugs-couch

Just heard about this story. It seems bed bugs are becoming a bigger and bigger issue:

A 69-year-old Maryland woman who claims that she was driven from her apartment by bedbugs is celebrating a big legal victory.

 

After renting an apartment in September 2011, Falka Shaaban says that she discovered it to be infested with the biting bugs.

After she complained, she was evicted from the apartment and her property was stolen after it was deposited on the sidewalk. She sued the property owner and management firm, claiming they knew about the infestation and refused to fumigate the apartment, the Daily News notes.

It took a jury just 45 minutes to find in Shaaban’s favor, awarding her $800,000, including $650,000 in punitive damages.

A legal expert said the case signaled that juries were increasingly sensitive to bed bug infestations and could herald a wave of similar cases in coming years.
Leasing Agent Tips:

- Make sure your office has a bed bug disclosure

- When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose.

 

Is there a difference between a “rental agent” and a “property manager”?

Is there a difference between a “rental agent” and a “property manager”?

Leasing Agent Success

Many people use the terms “rental agent” and “property manager” interchangeably. However, it’s possible to hire a professional to handle just the leasing of your rental property and not the ongoing management. It makes sense to refer to someone who handles “leasing only” as a “rental agent” rather than as a “property manager.” But no matter what they call themselves, most professionals offering these types of services offer a full range of options.

For reference, “leasing only” services typically include:

Market research + pricing the monthly rent
Advertising the vacancy
Showing the unit to tenants
Writing up the lease contract and getting it signed
Rental management services include all of the above, but don’t stop once a tenant is placed in your rental property. Ongoing tasks include:

Collecting rent
Conducting periodic property inspections
Taking care of maintenance and repair
Managing the tenant relationship
Handling monthly accounting
Preparing year-end tax reports
Rental agents are typically flexible when it comes to the services they provide, allowing you to handle whatever aspects of rental management you want to take care of yourself, then doing the rest.

Leasing Agent Tips:
-Figure out what aspect of property management you’re good at and stick to it…. become an expert.
-Don’t let the entirety of property management overwhelm you. Choose your niche.

Source: Rental Agent Guide