As a former leasing professional, my management company had specific questions we were required to ask each prospect who contacted our apartment community. Even though we were encouraged to eventually go off script, every person who was interested in renting an apartment with me would be asked at a minimum the required questions.
Now that I’m a mystery shopper, I see that there are some variations between management companies as to what questions a leasing professional might ask and how the questions are built into the presentation. But, there are still some core questions you should always be prepared with an answer for, so that you can help make sure you present yourself as a real apartment hunter.
Be prepared to answer these 10 questions a leasing professional might ask on an apartment shop.
1. What do you do for a job?
The answer cannot be, “I am a full time Mystery Shopper”- (Think we’re stating the obvious? You’d be surprised.) It’s usually easier if you choose a job that you actually have or have had; that way you won’t get caught in a lie. You never know, the leasing consultant may have worked in the same field and know more about a certain industry than you think, so it’s helpful to be honest.
2. Do you have a preference as far as which floor you’re on?
Some properties only have two floors so it’s usually safest to say you want to be on a walk-in level so that it’s easier to move or that you want to be higher up so there’s no one above you. Not being somewhat familiar with the property before you contact them could be a tip off they are being shopped.
3. How many bedrooms do you want?
Just go with 1 or 2. Some places only have 1 and 2, so it’s a safe bet to go with one of those, unless the report says otherwise. Sometimes, your shop details will tell you how many bedrooms to ask for based on what the community offers.
4. Is it just going to be you living there?
Yes is usually a good answer. Adding more people complicates the story you have to build. Keeping in simple is the best way to go. The less involved your story is, the easier it is to maintain throughout the shop.
5. What is your price range?
There is no way around doing some research here. Before you blurt out a firm number, you must research the property to see what their typical rates are. The Internet is a great place to start your research. If you over- or under-shoot on price, you might disqualify yourself from living there and make the shop invalid.
6. Why are you moving?
Say you’re ready for a change, are looking for a bigger/smaller place, got a new job in a different area of town, etc. This can pretty much be anything. Just make sure you have a reason in mind. No one goes apartment shopping without a reason.
7. What do you dislike about your current apartment?
Leasing professionals often ask this so that they can point out features in the model or about the property that solves a problem you are having at your current apartment. Some examples are: the staff, the maintenance is inefficient, bug problems, no washer/dryer, the neighbors, the size of the kitchen, no dishwasher, etc.
8. What do you like about your apartment?
Leasing professionals ask this for the same reason they ask the previous question. Some possible answers are: there’s lots of sunlight, the ceilings are high, no one has to go into my bedroom to get to the bathroom, there is a coat closet, etc.
9. What did you think about the other properties you toured?
Leasing professionals ask this to find out about the competition. It’s easiest to say that their property is the first one you’ve visited so that you don’t have to make up something to say.
10. How did you hear about us?
Usually it’s best to be vague. Saying you found them on an Internet search is usually safe. If you tell them the specific website or publication, and they aren’t in it, then it might be a dead giveaway. Some shop details will provide you with an answer for this question.
When you do an apartment mystery shop, you get asked a lot more personal questions that you do on other types of mystery shops. So, you have to be prepared to answer any questions a leasing professional might ask.
But don’t volunteer details that aren’t requested! Less is more – the fewer pieces of information you have to remember about your story, the easier it is for you to remember what the leasing professional is saying and doing so you can report it in your mystery shop. Plus, one purpose of the mystery shop is so the management company can see what questions the leasing professional might ask without prompting by the customer.
Matching your real situation as much as possible while sticking to the shop contract specifications is always a good idea. Just keep your story simple and be ready to elaborate without hesitation at any point.