As a top San Diego property manager, we are obliged to devote a good deal of our time to leasing vacant (or vacating) apartments and houses on behalf of our clients. There are three major variables involved in this process, and each one must be managed properly by the leasing agent if you want to keep your clients happy. Here are some thoughts on how to ensure make successful leasing a reality:
The Leasing Agent
Time and again, we have seen that it’s the personality of the leasing agent that makes the biggest difference when attempting to fill a rental. To be blunt, the leasing agent must have these important attributes:
- Friendliness and likeability
In other words, you must instill in the prospective renter a feeling that they will be making the right decision by leasing a particular property. The agent must stress the value proposition: show how living in the property will be beneficial and worth the rental amount. In-person communication skills are important, but it is even harder to develop a winning phone technique. It takes practice and attention to detail – can you hear a sense of urgency in the prospects voice? Are there only a few units left in the “perfect” property? Persistence and frequent communication, whether in person, over the phone and/or through email, will increase the odds in your favor.
You have to size up new prospects quickly in order to make them comfortable. This means paying careful attention to their first words, because most prospects can’t wait to blurt out what they want. Take the measure of the person:
- Decisive or dithering?
- Stressed or relaxed?
- Picky or open to suggestion?
- Non-negotiable restrictions on rent? Location? Size?
- Family situation – proximity to work and school
- Credit history
If a prospect is super-demanding from the onset, you may want to contemplate whether they will be a “trouble-maker” once they move in.
Avoid problematic situations by making sure the property, both inside and out, is all spruced up. There is no excuse for showing a property that is dirty or messy. If necessary, bring in a cleaning crew before showing a vacant property, especially if it has been abandoned. Inform prospects of the powerful reasons to rent the property:
- Location: access to jobs, education, recreation, shopping, dining, night life, playgrounds, safe neighborhood, etc.
- Size: square footage, bathrooms, bedrooms, balcony, etc.
- Amenities: Laundry facilities, media room, computer center with Wi-Fi, fax and copier, doorman, workout center, etc.
- Value: Comparison with competitor’s units, survey of area rent levels, dwindling availability of alternatives, why the property is worth the rent asked.
There are surely other considerations as well, such as client preferences and competitive pressure. But if you dominate the prospect, the property and your own behavior, you have an outstanding change of closing the deal.
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