This article was posted on Sunday, Nov 01, 2015

Each apartment community has certain features and benefits which are the selling points of that particular community.  It could be its location, friendly staff, spacious floor plans, beautiful landscaping or affordable price – just to name a few.Yet even with the most fabulous features, there will be times when the apartments you have available won’t seem to meet the needs of your prospective renters.  The following question from a leasing consultant addresses this issue. 

Question:  We have several vacant apartments right now and I know I’m supposed to try and rent all of them, but how can I rent to someone when it doesn’t seem like the apartment really will meet their needs? 

Answer:  Things are not always what they “seem.”  Many times, you may have the tendency to make an assumption about what you think someone needs based upon your limited perspective, frame of reference or belief system.

For example – you might have two bedrooms available right now that are all located on upper floors.  If a family with small children comes in, you might automatically assume that they are not going to be interested because you think they won’t want to deal with the stairs.  On the other hand, you could have all first floor openings and your prospective renter could be a single woman.   You might think that women living alone only want upper level apartments because you believe they feel safer off the ground.  Therefore, when you have a single woman seeking a new home, you may not try to sell her on a first floor location because you don’t think it will meet her needs.

Until you truly get to know your prospective renters and determine what is most important to them, you really don’t know what they need.  You are merely making “assumptions.”  It could be that the husband of the family mentioned above travels a lot.  The wife may prefer an upper level apartment as she is frequently home alone with their small children and would feel safer living upstairs.  The single woman might have a lot of equipment that she has to bring home from work each day and does not want to deal with constantly lugging it up and down the stairs.

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It’s important to remember that every person who walks through your door is as unique and special as each one of your available apartments.  The term “one size fits all” may work when you are buying a stretchy article of clothing.  However, when it comes to helping people find a new home, no apartment will fit the same two people in the same way.

For those times when you have prospective renters with needs you just cannot meet, send them to a sister community and/or offer to pay them a referral fee for anyone they refer who rents.  Since things are not always what they seem, you never know when a prospective renter who does not end up leasing could be a source of referrals for months, or even years to come. 

Joyce (Kirby) Bica is the former owner of Shoptalk Service Evaluations. For more information, email [email protected] Reprinted with permission.