Phone Calls Vs. Emails: A Look at How We Process Inquiries, And How to Increase Your Odds at Securing a Property
If this is your first time reading our blog, I’d like to welcome you and I sincerely hope you enjoy yourself.
I decided to do a series of blogs about what it’s like to work at a Property Management company. I think there’s a lot of misconception about what actually goes on behind closed doors in Property Management, so I think a peak behind the curtain might answer some questions.
Look, I’ve been there.
You see that perfect rental property, at the right price, in the right area, etc. So, you pick up the phone and call, but you get voicemail. So you leave a message, and wait… and wait. All the while panicking that someone else is scooping that perfect place up right out from under you.
“Why aren’t they getting back to me?”
Well I can’t speak for everyone, but here at Drummer we manage around 1000 properties. In our busiest season, we might have 30-40 properties available at any given time. Imagine how many inquiries we get per day… (It’s in the hundreds)
To help with the sheer volume of inquires, we use tactics like auto-responses and template answers to save time. This helps weed out those applicants who may only be slightly interested or realize they don’t qualify based on our questions.
This only works with emails… but more on that later.
It’s not as personal as we would like, but the fact is this industry is some-what seasonal. We can’t keep someone employed year-round solely to answer inquires, during the winter they’d be twiddling their thumbs. So, we need to find ways to make these numbers manageable for the staff that we have, while still keeping the wheels turning.
Here’s the deal.
In our system, if you are a qualified tenant (see my post about what that means here) you get the first showing, put in the first application, and are a good fit, your odds of getting the property couldn’t be any better. Nine times out of ten you’ve got the place.
But how do you get that first showing? Or at least be one of the first. You can’t be on Rentfaster (or whichever rental site you use) 24/7 to make sure you catch that perfect property right when it’s first posted.
So what do you do?
First off, and I can’t stress this enough, make it easy for us.
If we ask you questions, answer them. All of them, in full. If you only answer half the questions, and we have to email you back to get further information, you’re essentially going to the back of the line.
Also, answer honestly; You never know what the situation might be. Just because you want to move in on the 15th, doesn’t necessarily mean that disqualifies you. Maybe the owner wants to get some maintenance done and a few weeks wait would be the perfect opportunity. PLUS if you do lie, say about your income or credit, we will eventually find out and then you’ll have wasted everyone’s time which doesn’t put you in a favorable position anyway.
Finally, the question I’m sure many of you have:
“Which is better for my chances; phone calls or emails?”
For us it’s emails for sure. Getting through 100 email inquiries might take 1-2 hours. 100 phone calls could take a full day or more (some people are talkers). Plus, if an applicant misses our call and has to call us back (say when they’re done work) they’re at the back of the line again. Also, we don’t call anyone before 8-9 AM in case they’re night workers or parents. So, the time window within which you can be contacted is far smaller.
Remember, it’s someone’s job to answer your rental inquiry. They have working hours, a home-life, and responsibilities outside of work, so they typically won’t be answering calls after they’ve gone home for the day. So, increase your chances of securing a showing by making it easy on the person at the other end!
It’s not that we try and avoid phone calls, it’s just that the nature of the medium makes phone calls far less likely to result in a showing. Phone calls require that both our employee and the applicant be available to talk at the same time. Whereas an email can be answered by either party (at any time), an email can easily be forwarded to the Property Manager, and an email can quickly and succinctly present information to our staff for review.
“When I first inquire, does it help to provide “a bit about yourself? If so, what information should I include?”
Good question. Absolutely, the more we know the better. Most landlords are concerned with a few key points:
- Can you pay rent/are you financially stable? (income)
- Do you have a history of paying your bills on time? (credit)
- Will you take care of the property? (references)
- What is your living situation? (Roommates/Family/First time renter)
- When do you want to move in?
If you can answer these questions up front, clearly and succinctly, you are making it very easy on the person at the other end to set up a showing with you.
Hope this helps!