Apartment Search FAQs – Yours & Ours

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Erin Lipinsky
Jul 17, 2020

There’s a lot that goes into apartment-hunting. What’s the best price? Is there a special? Can I bring my pitbull? Is there covered parking? The list can go on…but, for good reason. You want to find an apartment that meets or exceeds your search criteria. We get it! That’s why when you get linked with a free Smart City apartment locator, we tend to, as the kids are saying these days, get all up in your business (apartment business, that is).

Apartment locating is a niche sector of Real Estate designed to connect renters in need of an apartment to properties in need of tenants. Apartment properties are appreciative of the client base we have to showcase their offerings to, which is why they use a portion of their marketing budget to pay us as the referral source in order to keep the service completely free to clients. Needless to say, our goal is to create a seamless match for both parties, and there are quite a few questions that need to be asked and answered in order to make that happen.

So what type of questions does a Smart City apartment locator ask, exactly? And, in that same arena, what type of questions can we answer? Since we provide super-personalized apartment lists based on each client’s unique needs, we like to gather as much information as we can so each apartment that’s placed on that list is an absolute match. Trust us – it’s way better to get a list of 10 apartments to check out that is exactly what you’re looking for as opposed to an auto-generated list of 100 apartments that could kinda-sorta fit the bill. In order to accomplish that, here are the questions we ask our clients most often and get asked by our clients most often!

Your FAQs 

Is this a real human?

This may not always be the first question we get, but since the majority of our business is conducted through text message, this is definitely a question we get on a regular basis. If you’ve received communication from anyone at Smart City as a response to your inquiry, it’s always a human! And, no, we do not use any form of automated list generators to compile apartment lists – we’re all human all the time, baby.

Are you really free and how does this work?

We are 100% free to clients. When a client lists Smart City or the name of their agent as their referral source on their application, the apartment properties pay us directly once the client is all moved in. It’s how apartment properties get top-tier tenants, you get an amazing unit, and how we keep the lights on.

Can I just get a list?
After speaking with an agent and answering a few key initial questions, clients will receive a hyper-personalized list of apartments within a few days. After our agents gather details and understand exactly what you’re looking for, we personally call every property that could be a match and widdle down the list one by one. That way we don’t just send you a list, we send you your list.

Pet Qs

We love that our clients love their pets! So, sometimes we’ll get questions around deposits, pet rent, and breed or weight restrictions. If we don’t have the definitive answer, we contact the properties you’re interested in and ask so we can deliver the most accurate info.

Can you [the agent] tour with me [the client]?

In a standard health setting, we absolutely can and we will. Right now, properties are taking extra precautions by allowing virtual touring or by enforcing a limited number of tour participants on-site. But, don’t worry – if you go to tour the property, video-call your agent so they can be there virtually!

Why does my application show the market price if there’s a special?

This is a question we sometimes get during the application portion of the process. Most times, properties will approve applicants based on the market value of the unit (the regular price without an applied special), so that’s the number that will be on the application. Then, once a lease agreement is drawn, the effective rate (the price after the special/concession is applied or self-prorated) will be used.

Other touring Qs

When we do tour with clients, we find they like to ask about the property internet provider options, parking, package delivery setup, noise cancellation, and how the special/concession is distributed throughout the lease if there is one.

Our FAQs 

Where are you living now and why are you looking to move?

Don’t worry, we’re not trying to creep on you. When we ask this question, we’re trying to better understand what the driving force is behind your desire to move so we can serve you in that same direction.

What’s your budget?

Apartments cost money, so we have to ask! We’re not here to judge or persuade clients outside of a range that’s comfortable to them. Knowing a client’s budget range helps our agents better understand where to place their focus so they can work as efficiently as possible. You’d be surprised what our connection throughout the city and collaboration with one another can produce when it comes to finding an amazing price-for-location or price-for-finishes!

Have you already looked at any properties and if so, what are the names of them?

We want to make sure your search is built on as thorough collaboration as possible. So, if we know what properties you’ve already researched, we can leverage our relationships throughout the city to ensure the pricing you got was the most accurate, ask questions maybe you didn’t know to ask, or accurately set your expectations based on the current market and what properties you’ve explored.

Work and income Qs

Properties will typically ask apartment applicants to provide pay stubs and/or bank statements that show their monthly income is three times the monthly rent – that’s pretty standard. So we will ask you a few questions around work and income to help lead us to apartments that will fit that lane of what a client will get approved for. We definitely don’t want to see our clients lose application money if we can help it! (Yes, apartment applications cost money)

Credit, rental history and background Qs

Most properties will run a credit and background check on apartment applicants. Their goal is to mitigate the amount of risk they’re taking on each tenant and enter into a lease agreement that serves both parties – it’s not personal, it’s business. Disclosing this information lets our agents know what questions to ask and how to effectively direct conversations as they call each property that has the potential to end up on a client’s list. In doing so, we can hopefully find and eradicate any foreseen roadblocks for our clients.

What are your hobbies and do you have any pets?

Again – not trying to creep on you. We ask about hobbies and pets so we can account for an optimized location and can ask properties about costs or restrictions around pets. If you think we are all up in your business now, you should hear what we ask properties on behalf of pet owners (hey, they have to live there, too)!

Roommate Qs

If you’re going to be renting with a roomie, we’ll probably ask to be in a group text with everyone so all the decision-making doesn’t fall on any one leaseholder. If you and your roomies decide you’re going to be the primary point of contact for the duo or group, then we’ll just ask the first and last names of your roomies and their phone numbers to fulfill what our client management systems will ask for.

Qs we defer to apartment properties

Sometimes our clients ask us questions that we could take a really educated guess to answer based on the amount of communication we have with apartment properties throughout the metro, but we’d rather just defer to the properties themselves. Since each property and management company operates in its own way, process-oriented questions are best answered by them. Things like:

– What’s the approval process?

– Why am I getting approved on the original price instead of what it is after the special?

– Does my deposit change depending on my credit?

– Do I have to have a co-signer?

– Does my roommate have to be on my lease?

– What if I get a pet halfway through my lease?

Wow, did we say this was a blog? We meant a book! All jokes aside, whether you decide to do the apartment search on your own or use another locator (we forgive you), make sure to bookmark this blog so you know what questions you should be asking and what should be asked of you! And, let us know if we can help you with your next apartment search.

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