People looking for an apartment, are in fact, people looking for an apartment. Even if your community is affordable and you are required to meet agency requirements.
As leasing professionals, we need to know:
Do they have an apartment size preference/requirement? (Yes, there’s a difference!)
Do they have an expected moving date (is it flexible? It could make a difference for a discounted rental rate, or a move in special…”if I could delay the start of your rental payments, until the first of the month, could you sign your lease today?”)
When can you visit our property, so I can show you your future home?
But the cry comes out, “I work at an affordable property! I have agency requirements!” “I have to verify income, assets, possibly medical expenses or childcare!”
Yes, you do! But first you have to sell the apartment. Why would we want to drown a prospect in the paperwork requirements before they’re even in the door?
Most apartment communities are going to verify an individual’s income either to confirm they have an income to support the rent or to confirm the income doesn’t exceed an income limit.
Consider this dialog;
“Thank you for calling Awesome Apartments! This is Perky Patti, are you looking for an apartment home? I can help you! How soon are you looking to move?”
” Hello, this is Agency Apartments, my name is Dreary Deb. This is a property with an agency mortgage. I have lots of paperwork to do before you move in, so I hope you’re not planning to move this week, or even next!”
Wow! What are the chances a person hearing the Agency Apartments “greeting” is even going to show up to see an apartment? Probably not, if they have another choice.
Introducing Agency Into the Leasing Presentation
Consider if you were to wait until the end of the apartment tour…
Perky Patti might say, “This apartment has all of your must haves, two bedrooms, second floor, lots of closet space and there’s a laundry center in your hallway. Lets get the application filled out so we can get everything ready for your move in.
Amy Applicant…”I have the money order you suggested I being, as well as my photo ID, I’ll just take the application with me, fill it out and bring it back to you.”
Patti..”you could do that, but if we take a few minutes and complete it right now, I can start the approval process today….(a few minutes later) with our application there’s also a checklist that helps us identify your sources of income and potential asset income. We verify each of these. The necessary forms are right here, and as soon as you sign them, we can contact your sources and obtain the required information.”
Having all of the forms in a packet, can increase the efficiency of the process. Having a prospect wait as the leasing staff attempts to identify the appropriate forms, creates a negative impression for the amount of paperwork needed..also increases the possibility that a form will be missed causing the dreaded…”there’s a form that didn’t get signed, so I need you to come back to the office, syndrome.”
Leasing at a property with agency regulations doesn’t have to be a painful experience for a prospect or the leasing staff. Remember, sell the apartment first. Once the prospect is sold on the apartment, they’ll be willing to do what’s necessary to expedite the move in process.