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Providing a Service Beyond a List

I felt inspired to address this matter. So often some Apartment Locators / Realtors only send you a list of "pricing and specials." You in turn have to do all the work while they get paid... I don't agree with this. Below is a list of what you deserve as the apartment hunter!

Searching for an apartment can be very time consuming. You contact a locator and you want to know how you can save, but what else should you expect from them? Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you hire an apartment locator! You have a full plate with work, your home life, and social life. Finding "just the right place" can be time consuming. You have decided to hire an expert to work for you and save you time! So what should you expect?

1. Are they confirming the details on the list they have sent you? So many times I have had to call ahead of time to confirm pricing and specials are correct on the lists I'm sending to a client. I sometimes call between 10 - 30 apartments to confirm they will honor what they are advertising. The last thing I want to do is waste my client's time in sending them a place they love and later not be able to afford. Many apartment locators / realtors will send a list and not once pick-up the phone and verify the information. It should not be your responsibility to spend hours on the phone calling apartments or touring them to see if it's what you need, want, or within your budget. Locators should confirm three (3) main things: price, specials, and availability for the timeframe you need to move. Also, are they giving you a tailored list of properties based on your "wishlist" or are they just sending you an array of apartments that don't match your wants / needs?

2. Are they scheduling your tours and visiting the properties with you? After you received the list, and the information has been verified, your locator / realtor should next schedule the tours on the apartments you would like to visit. A locator who is looking out for your best interest should tour all apartments with their clients. Before you visit an apartment the leasing agent should already know who you are and what you're looking for. So much time is saved when your locator schedules your tour ahead of time. When you arrive to the property you can jump right into the tour! While you're touring, your locator should be asking questions on your behalf, and making sure you know what each property has to offer. Let's be real... you are excited, touring can be fun, but sometimes you can't remember everything you should ask... "Does this property have amenity fees?; How much?; What does it cover?; Is trash, pest control, or water included?..." and so on. Having a locator tour with you will allow you to enjoy focusing on the features while you hear what amenities are at your disposal. At the end your locator can help recall what each place offered and can assist you with helping make decision on which property could be best.

3. Are they handing all Negotiations? Your locator should negotiate on your behalf. Maybe you're hesitant to make a decision, or you are looking around but don't want to lose a "look & lease" special. Maybe you love a place but not ready to move just yet. I recently had a client who was ready to move. They wanted to see their options and find a place before they gave their roommates a 60-day notice. We found "just the right place" had all the "wishlist"items. They were offering a $2,000 look & lease special, a hard one to overlook. They were also giving 2 months free prorated rent! The negative was my client had to fill out their application within 24 hours, and they could not hold the unit for more than 30 days. I know bummer! I didn't want them to miss out on the specials or L&L. So I called the leasing consultant and told them, my client is interested, please find me a unit a month from now that you can hold 30 days out until my client is able to move. Also, please give them an extra day to make their final decision they don't want to feel pressured, in addition please make sure they can still take advantage of the 2 months free prorated rent! The agent spoke to the manager and it was a done deal! My client was able to move in per their timeline and still benefit from all the specials! The rent was about $1,800 market rent but after the prorated rent and the $2,000 look and lease special their rent averaged to about $1375/mo saving approximately $425/off a month!

4. Are they communicating with the Leasing Office? Some application processes are not as quick as others. Maybe there is something holding it up. Your locator should be following-up on your behalf! Helping push the process along and see what needs to be done. They should also be communicating with you throughout the whole process until you sign your lease and move in. The locator should be there to support you, communicate with you, and communicate with the office, as well as keep you updated. You may be working at your office, in meetings, or traveling, and don't have time to be calling to find out the status of your application. You should feel at ease. Moving can be overwhelming full of various emotions. Let us help!

5. What price do you have to pay to get that Rebate they are offering to use their service? Maybe you don't mind doing all the leg work yourself! Often these large locating companies or locating agencies will offer you a rebate, before you accept it reference the questions above. Ask if you can expect the level of service outlined above plus the rebate! As you will notice I do not offer rebates. I offer my clients a service to be there every step of the way! I also build a relationship with my clients as well as the apartment staff. Knowing the staff at the apartments favors my clients because we all want to work together to help you! In additional, I check on my clients throughout the months / years. Most places may send you a list, you get some money in return, and eventually you mutually forget about one another. I, on the other hand, want to be the first person you call for all your housing needs now and in the future.

My hope in sharing these questions, is that you are aware of what you should expect from your apartment locator. You need someone who knows the market areas, who knows what your looking for, and helps you throughout the whole process from start to finish.

I'd love to help you! Call/Text - (832) 460-6670 | Email Me - Houston Apartment Locator | Alexandra Torres with J. Lindsey Properties

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