“Ask Kari” is a monthly, Question & Answer feature from Kari Negri. Kari has two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many industry trade shows, such as AAGLA’s annual trade show, and is the CEO of SKY Properties, Inc. in Los Angeles.
Now that we are headed into the busiest time of year for leasing — spring has sprung! — it’s a great time to brush up on your leasing skills and practices at your properties. You work very hard to gain interest in your vacancy, make sure to turn that interest into a lease by brushing up on the basics of leasing. Take this quick review and stand out from the competition.
- Role play example of a proper leasing tour.
Just as you might practice a presentation, or how an actor rehearses for a role, it’s important to do a walk-thru with someone to nail down the features and benefits of your vacancy. Consider having a friend walk-thru with you and ask questions you might not have considered. Get that second opinion from a person who can point out discrepancies and keep you from losing a leasing opportunity. If you have a friend (your test market) point out aspects of your unit, rather than a potential renter, you are in a much better position to make corrections before an actual potential renter sees your unit. Find a critic!
- Collect all prospect information and build value for your property before giving a price.
Before giving out your rental rates, make sure prospects have a good feel for all that your property and staff has to offer! Complete a market survey to determine how your prices/features compare with similar properties nearby. This process also opens the door for prequalifying your prospect. Getting your vacancy leased quickly is important; but so is getting a qualified prospect that will become a good resident. Prequalifying your prospects is an extremely important step. Just as you want to point out all the great features of your apartment community, you also want to make the right decision and place someone that fits your requirements (credit check, criminal background, rental history and income requirements).
- Smile often and build rapport.
If a potential renter likes you, they are more likely to lease with you over the competition. Consider when you are shopping for a product or service and the type of rapport you might desire. Put yourself in the position of your potential renter. You would likely want the best service, a positive attitude, and a generally pleasant and informed person to answer your questions and give you a tour of the unit.
- Ask for the lease.
Close the sale. Sometimes a person is ready to move forward, but they are not offered to do so. Ask for a deposit. If the prospect is hesitant, ask why and what the unit is missing that they are still looking for. If they place a deposit hold on it for 72 hours, they are not losing anything but the application fee if they end up cancelling within the 72 hours.
Consider how you might track follow-up better. Follow up is very important, and those who do not get a follow-up call or email may forget about your property. If they are considering several other properties, the property that follows-up with them is more likely to get the lease. Again, consider when you are looking at different products and services. Sometimes you develop questions after your initial review. A follow-up communication allows you to get answers to your newly formed questions. This also gives a good impression of how the customer will be treated once they become a resident. Follow up is so important to a resident, especially with maintenance issues. Show them your follow-up skills even before they are your customer!
As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at www.GetSky.net
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