Earlier this week, our Founder and CEO, Cassie Brown, hopped on Instagram live with a couple of our Market Leaders to answer questions on renting, hiring, and working as a Smart City Apartment Locator. If you weren’t able to tune into the Instagram live session, here are the most frequently asked questions across the Chicago and Fort Worth metros.
The state of the market
What’s the apartment market like right now? Why are the price minimums so high? What can we expect the market to look like for the rest of the year?
Cassie had unique conversations with Noel in Chicago and Tim in Fort Worth, but both Market Leaders shared the same sentiment when viewers asked about renting conditions – “the market is a shit show.” With the post-quarantine spike in renters seeking new leases and the impact the limited opportunity to buy a home has had on the demand for apartment rentals, we’re in the midst of one of the most competitive and expensive rental markets we’ve ever seen as a business.
Market rates for apartments are determined by properties and based on supply and demand, which has obviously shifted in a major way and increased average rental rates by a couple of hundred dollars in most markets. When asked about our budget minimums, Noel was candid to answer, emphasizing how our company minimums are tailored to the market so entering into a new lease right now is not exactly a budget-friendly experience, but not impossible either. We’re trying to be as open-minded and honest as possible to help our clients.
Cassie and our Market Leaders were weary when asked to predict what the future of renting might look like as we near the end of the year. Historically, we’ve seen a dip in pricing during the fourth quarter when fewer people tend to move and demand is much lower, but Noel pointed out that there was hardly any price reduction last year around this time. Tim followed up by setting realistic expectations for the live session viewers,
“We can’t predict the future…we definitely have [seen dips in pricing]. Sometimes people come to us thinking there’s going to be this drastic change [in Q4] but based on what we’ve seen this summer, that’s not going to be the case. We’re just adjusting and learning as we go along, and educating [our clients].”
The benefits of using a locator
Why should I use a locator? When should I reach out to start my search? How can I get the best deal on an apartment?
An Apartment Locator is a resource working to help you make educated decisions and give you a really clear idea of what’s available at the time of your search. “Out of the hundreds of thousands of units in a city, how can you be expected to find the one?” Cassie urged. We intentionally serve metros with a ton of apartments, because those are the areas that need our help the most. When there are too many apartments, it gets overwhelming, but the team reassured viewers that they don’t have to do it alone. Smart City has partnerships and access to information that makes sifting through all the available options easier; just tell an agent what your wants, needs, and preferences are and they’ll get to work. Most people don’t have the time and energy to balance life, work, and a full-time apartment search, so we think it’s in your best interest to utilize an Apartment Locator with expert knowledge and a schedule set around finding your next apartment.
When asked what the best time to contact a locator would be, the Market Leaders insisted that it’s best to begin your search three months to give you and your locator enough time to get to know each other. 60 days out is an acceptable time to start as well. Although you miss the extra time to thoroughly educate your locator on your ideal apartment, you can immediately start looking at viable options and touring within two months of moving. According to Noel, there is no such thing as starting too early, but there is such a thing as beginning too late. ASAP moves are among the most difficult and expensive.
If your lease is up in the next 90 days, let us be a resource for you during this time. We can show you comparable units and pricing in the market and if you don’t like anything, then you’re better equipped to negotiate a renewal with competitive rates. Our locating and concierge services are free; we work with the majority of properties in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Denver, Atlanta, and Chicago; and we’re here to take the stress of moving completely off your plate!
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Working as an Apartment Locator, commission, and hiring
Are you hiring? What’s it like to work as an Apartment Locator? What to expect in a commission-only position/how to be successful? How long does it take to become a locator?
A blog cannot possibly convey the enthusiasm radiating from the Market Leaders during the live session when asked if they were hiring. At present, hiring is one of our company’s main priorities, because, in order to provide a superior experience while helping our increasing number of clients find apartments, we need more good people to join our team. The Chicago sales team has goals of doubling by the end of the year, and the needs in Fort Worth have far exceeded the initial number of agents we planned for when it began operating independently from the Dallas market. So yeah, we’re hiring. Truthfully, we can’t hire fast enough!
The intimidation that comes along with becoming an Apartment Locator and working for 100% commission was mentioned multiple times throughout the Q&A. Noel shared her belief that in order to be an apartment locator (especially in Chicago), one needs confidence. In response to someone mentioning the jump to a commission only position she touched on the ramp-up period of beginning a career in real estate and continued by sharing her thoughts on what makes someone successful in the role, “If you’re confident, have market knowledge, show up to work excited to learn more about your city, and you treat your clients with kindness, you’ll be successful.”
Tim tugged on viewer heartstrings when he shared what he loves about working at Smart City. For him, joy at work comes from the way the company celebrates and values his individuality. Where many other companies focus on creating their ideal version of a sales agent, Tim told viewers that his success comes from being himself, because “[Smart City] wants you to be you.”
You need your real estate license to begin working, but you don’t need your license prior to applying and getting hired. According to our team, getting licensed takes an average of 60 days. We’re hiring for the rest of this year and into next year, so check out our careers page if you’re interested in learning more or you’d like to apply.
Cassie ended the live Q&A by addressing viewers who are interested in becoming a locator, “Real estate is a career, not a job. It’s an industry and it takes a little while to get going, but once you get going you have total freedom over your schedule and income. If you want to work your ass off, make money, and have full control of your income, you can absolutely do that here.”
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