Sunday, February 7, 2016

More Sunday Funnies in Student Housing



Every Leasing Office everywhere can provide funny stories that prove this is the best industry in which to work. Honestly, though, Student Housing has to be the funniest genre! Even when our students are trying to be funny, they inevitably are. Here’s few more.

A girl walks into the office carrying an envelope. I ask how we can help her today and she responds, “How do I close this? I need to mail it?” Huh? “Oh, do you need a stamp or help addressing the envelope?” She shakes her head no. “How do I close it?” Oh. Wait. I tell her there is sticky stuff on the flap. You wet it and press down to seal it. She looks at me and says, “I have nothing. I have no sponge to wet it.” I have to actually show her that you can lick the flap and when she looks horrified, I offer to tape the envelope for her. She nods profusely. Kid you not.

One of our residents who has always paid rent on time with a check inadvertently forgets for the month of January, which is not so far-fetched since most students leave for a month over winter break. He is notified of his delinquency and upon return, he sheepishly brings in his check, apologizing for being late. Nothing more to be said … until he returns a couple of days later carrying a pound cake warm from the oven, which he baked himself. He tells us, “Here’s your Christmas present. It’s late too!”

In the property email account, I read the following: “Hey, XXXXXX Village! Can you send the guy to look at my toilet?” No name, no apartment number, no description of what is the matter.
Another one came from the resident who reported there was something wrong with her “Trash Compactor.” Except there are no trash compactors. Apparently she thought the Garbage Disposals were a trash chute and she was shoving everything down it. (Okay, maybe not so funny.)

We notified all the student residents of a contractor’s need to enter their apartments. Most of the students never responded. A couple went ballistic about demanding an exact time of entry (law school students, Go Figure.) One person responded with “It is my pleasure to help you and the contractor. Please let me know what else I can do to assist you.”

Got to admit – the last one is my favorite. :-) 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is Your Property Like the New "Curvey Barbie"?



I feel like most of the communities I have ever managed equate to the new “Curvy Barbie” that was unveiled this week – the doll I can picture being opened on my niece’s next birthday with an expression of horror and disappointment. That doesn’t mean they are not well kept, that the floor plans aren’t spacious (because we all know the older the suburban property, the more likely it is to be spacious) and the grounds aren’t lovely. The question is, how do you mitigate your property’s perceived shortcomings?

Every Leasing Consultant has toured at least one Prospect who walks into the vacant or model unit and stops short in his tracks, turns around without saying a word, and does everything other than sprint back to his car. The first time this happened to me was on my first conventional property but the couple was super polite and said as they shook my hand, “This looks just like our first apartment we rented when we were first married and had nothing but love to get us through the day.”

Well, alrighty then!

So the challenge is on as all the new product comes on the rental scene to turn our “Curvey Barbie” properties into perhaps the next best thing to the brand new one …. What is your plan?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Does Your Onsite Person Even Care?



Begin forwarded message:
From: Xxxxx Xxxxx <email@PROPERTY.com>
Date: January 20, 2016 at 2:20:34 PM EST
To: <emailaddress>
Subject: RE: Two Bedroom Interest
NAME,

Thank you for your interest in the PROPERTY.  Attached is fact sheet and floor plans for your review.

The apartments facing campus are $25 extra per month for the second floor, $75 for the third, and $100 for the fourth floor.

We look forward to working with you.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

NAME
Leasing Manager
The PROPERTY
(555) 555-5555 phone

Thank you for your interest in the PROPERTY

-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxx@xxxxxlive.gmu.edu [mailto:xxxxxx@xxxxxlive.gmu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 5:03 PM
To:
Leasing@PROPERTY.com
Subject: Two Bedroom Interest

Hello!

My fiancé is a law student at the university. I saw on your website that there is a two bedroom option which is what we are specifically interested in.

If you could send me a little more information about it that would be great. What availability do you have? How much the rent is? What is included in the rent?

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thank you,

Xxxxx

Sent from my iPhone

If this is what YOUR Leasing Manager sends as a response to a leasing inquiry, then something is wrong with your company. Is it a training issue? Is the employee pool so lacking that this is the best you can find to hire? Or, because the community is new construction in a tight student housing market, it doesn’t matter? I don’t know. For me, there is NO EXCUSE for sending out such a lackluster, “I don’t give a sh*^ about your inquiry” response. At the very least, send something friendly that actually answers the immediate questions and invites the sender to tour the property and doesn't simply direct the customer to do all the work of finding answers to her questions.