Tuesday

Property Management Marketing Schemes

Sometimes there are those people in the property management industry that are less than honest. They will do just about anything to get people into a rental unit including lie.

The following are some things you may want to pay close attention to when speaking to a leasing consultant over the phone as well as once you arrive to see the unit.

Description.

What you hear isn't always what you see when speaking to property representatives. So with that said, ignore the adjectives about the property and get straight to the matters that concern you. A consultant may say, "We have spacious bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, a beautiful community room, and a wonderful staff." But leave out, the peeling paint on the front and sides of the building and how the children are often seen running rampant around the property without their parents.

Apartment descriptions sound real nice over the phone, but aren't you concerned about the exact size, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and whether or not you have a garage for your car? Don't let the consultant dominate the conversation with fluff (even though some are trained that way); rather, state what you need and how soon.

Also, don't forget to drive to the property after hours and on weekends when you want to get a good look at the people who live there and the upkeep. Property managers are forbidden by law to tell you the ethnicity of residents, whether they have a lot of children staying there, and other things related to the people who live on the property. If you are concerned about criminal activity on the site, do the following: check with local police, visit the local newspaper website and review their local crime reports. Finally, search for community forums that talk about the property online.

Availability.

Let's say you are told a unit is available upstairs, but once you arrive you find out there is no apartment available upstairs. The remaining units are all downstairs. Now one of two things may have happened, someone in the office didn't update their notes on available units or someone rented the unit before you could make up your mind to drive over and see it. These are honest issues that come up--nothing deceptive about these. However, there are those property managers who already know a certain unit is not available, but due to pressure placed upon them from their corporate office to rent more apartment units, they may not be totally upfront about what is available. Therefore, when you arrive you may be told something like, "Well the one you wanted is no longer available. But, we do have another unit like it coming available next month. How about we take a look at one downstairs so you can see the floor plan? It is identical to the one upstairs." This tactic does two things: forces you to come to the property with your contact information (so the manager can follow up.) The other is to open your mind up to taking another unit--even though it isn't the one you originally wanted.

Location.

Anyone who is renting an apartment is concerned about how near or far the apartment community is to everything. When you call seeking information about the surroundings, the property manager is going to focus on the glass half full every time you ask a question. Therefore, he or she is going to talk about how easy it is to get on the freeway from the apartment complex, but he or she will leave out how most major shopping malls are not within walking distance. In fact, you will need transportation in order to visit. The manager may not say anything about the absence of a bus-line, the driving distance of local schools or other things that may keep you from visiting the property. Sometimes what isn't said is just as deceptive as what is said.

Price.

What you are told over the phone may be different upon your arrival especially if certain apartments have been recently discounted. For example, some managers will discount certain units because they don't have as many windows as others or maybe they are near something in the apartment building that may be considered a nuisance like elevator doors or a storage room for residents. However, sometimes a price that should be discounted isn't. There also may be one price said over the phone to get you to come visit the apartment and a totally different one once you arrive. Keep in mind that the lower price units are usually efficiencies, one bedrooms or units that lack certain features. That "sounds too good to be true" price quote is just that--too good.

There you have it, some tips to keep in mind the next time you call a company seeking an apartment. To your success in finding a good apartment!

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media