In this guide, we unveil how to strategically approach conversations with different property managers and leasing agents when you’re gathering rental comps. Below are the different pieces of information to obtain (in bold), as well as the questions you can ask to extract this information.
When you call, you’ll pretend to be a prospective tenant. Don’t blow your cover!
I recommend calling a handful of property managers/leasing agents in your local market as practice and using the Rental Comps spreadsheet to log the relevant information.
First, find five to 10 apartments to call. A great place to start is apartments.com. Search your local market and record five to 10 addresses, websites, and phone numbers in the Rental Comps spreadsheet.
Next, print out the Rental Comps spreadsheet.
Now it’s time to call a property management company to obtain the information required to fill out the rest of the Rental Comps spreadsheet. Listed below are the different pieces of information you need to obtain (each is a tab in the Rental Comps spreadsheet) and the high-level approach/line of questioning to get the information.
Questions for an apartment with one-bedroom and two-bedroom units:
- “I’m interested in renting a two-bedroom unit. How much do those rent for?”
- “Ooh. $800 may be slightly outside of my price range. I was hoping for an extra bedroom, but how much are the one-bedroom rents?”
Questions for an apartment with one-, two-, and three-bedroom units:
- Same as above: Get two-bedroom and one-bedroom rents.
- Call back a few days later and ask for the three-bedroom rent.
- “Do you currently offer any rent or move-in specials?”
- Examples might include security deposit specials, a rental discount for signing a longer lease, etc.
- “The amenities package offered will heavily weigh into my decision. What are the individual unit and property amenities?”
- Individual amenities might include pet-friendly policies, wood flooring, a washer and dryer in the unit, updated kitchens, storage, etc.
- Property amenities might include a fitness center, pool, online rent payment, online maintenance requests, parking, common areas, etc.
- “Are there additional monthly fees for any of the amenities you listed?”
- “Have you done any unit upgrades recently, specifically to the kitchen or bathrooms?”
- “What about property-wide upgrades?”
- “What is the parking situation?”
- “Will I have a free spot near my unit?”
Points of Interest
- “What are popular attractions or points of interest that are within a few miles of the property?”
- “Is there anything worth noting that is within walking distance?”
- “I’m relocating to the area in the next couple of months. Do you have any available units or is there a waiting list?”
Again, I would recommend doing a few practice calls to get a feel for the flow of the conversation.
Also, this is not a step-by-step guide that you need to follow in exact order. This article is to be used as more of a guide for what questions to ask to get the information you need to give you a better understanding of the market.
After the conversation, take a few minutes to make notes on the level of customer service you received. If you end up closing on your property, then the property manager/leasing agent you spoke to will likely be your competition.
At this point, repeat the process for the rest of the properties on your list.
About the Author:
Joe Fairless is the co-founder of Ashcroft Capital, a fully integrated multifamily investment firm with more than $2.7 billion in assets under management, and the founder of Best Ever CRE. His podcast, the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, is the world's longest-running daily real estate podcast with more than 500,000 monthly downloads.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.