Take Time to Learn My Apartment Needs

Have you ever been to an apartment community, gotten a tour of every amenity and a thorough description of the features inside a home but left feeling like you still didn’t know if it was the place for you?

As an Ellis mystery shopper, I meet new leasing professionals every day; some good, some bad, some new, and some veterans. Regardless, one thing remains constant: the fact that I am relying on them to understand my apartment needs and help me find the best possible apartment home for my family.

You see when I did the bulk of my mystery shopping I wasn’t really looking for a new home and I was very much visibly pregnant. I was hormonal, hot, uncomfortable, and needed to find a “fake” new home for my family. I visited anywhere from 2-4 properties per week and some leasing consultants were awesome, but I have to say, the vast majority never got it quite right in order to seal the deal.

The leasing consultants rarely asked me what I was specifically looking for in a new home!

“A leasing consultant is responsible for having good product knowledge regarding the apartment units. Leasing consultants must have excellent communication skills.”

What? Who doesn’t get to know their prospect in order to best serve them, provide a great customer experience, and find the best suited home for the renter and their family?

I get that the apartments that the available apartments are what they are… the apartment community can’t change availability or fix the layout of the apartments. However, many leasing consultants do not take the time to learn my hot buttons and therefore, miss the boat on selling me the features and benefits of the apartments as they pertain to my needs and wants.

Think of the “selling” process like this – how can you know what to sell and how, if you don’t know what it is exactly you are selling? Even if the leasing professional can’t give you everything you want, they can know what pluses to use to counter if they just ASK!

My go to lines if asked are always: “I’m looking for something open from the kitchen to the living room” and “I really need spacious closets” – really not difficult concepts. And if the home doesn’t have the above, there can always be a “maybe not, but” approach that the leasing consultant can take. “I know these closets are small, but the bedroom is so large you have room to put in a free-standing wardrobe closet…” or “Although there’s no view into the living room from the kitchen, there is a great eat-in area here where guests can join you while you are in the kitchen area.”

All kinds of options to really sell you on the apartment are available as long as the leasing professional learns your specific needs and not just the basics of what you are searching for in a home.

It’s all a pretty simple sale if the leasing consultant takes the time to get to know your needs… the conversation should go somewhat like this: “So Amy, I know you mentioned you are wanting spacious closets and look at how big these closets are in each of the bedrooms…” or “This is definitely one of our most open floor plans and you can see how the kitchen looks into the living room so you won’t feel secluded while cooking or entertaining….”

If the leasing consultant hasn’t taken the time to learn what is really important to you, the conversation could go more like, “Allison, look at the amazing terrace off of the guest bedroom and the gorgeous view of the sunset you’ll have in the evenings…,” and you might be thinking to yourself : “Well since I’m expecting a baby in 2 months and this will be my son’s bedroom, I HATE the idea of having a terrace in his bedroom and the sun beating down in his room near bedtime!”

Point is that if the leasing professional didn’t take the time to get to know and understand your true apartment needs, then they may be wasting their selling efforts on the wrong hot buttons and possibly even deter you from leasing a home at their community! Not a good thing.

Something to keep in mind as a shopper is to give the leasing professional specific details (remember ONLY if they ask!) about what is important to you in a new home.

Something to keep in mind if you are a leasing consultant is to get to know your apartment renter by learning their specific needs and preferences in the home so you can make sure you are providing solutions to their needs and creating a “must-have” desire to lease with you.

It’s important as shoppers that we let the management companies know how their leasing staff qualified our needs and wants for the apartment and how they were able to relate those to the apartments in their community.

So always be prepared with preferences for your new home, so you can provide those when the leasing professional asks. It gives them the opportunity to really shine in their sales presentation!


-A. Mack