Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Greg Pekarsky, the managing broker/partner of Vesta Preferred Realty.
The rental market is poised to be stronger then ever this year. The next round of new buildings have already opened or are set to open in the next few months. The summer is the busiest time in real estate, and the rental market is no exception. The majority of tenants move out/in to properties during these months. With thousands of new apartments needing tenants in Chicago, this side of the business is offering more opportunity then ever.
Getting involved in rentals, however, is not as easy as one might think. If done incorrectly, time is wasted, and you can easily get frustrated. Here are some quick tips to set you off in the right direction to begin a successful career in rentals:
6. Learn How to Pre-Qualify Properly – The needs of prospects looking to rent are different from ones looking to buy. Agents are mistaken in not understanding that point. Where you might work with buyers for a few months, you want to get the renter to rent the first time you go out. In the summer, rental units go within a matter of a few hours. Get to know what your client wants, and prepare them to apply when you go out. Managing their expectations on how quickly they need to make a decision will help all parties involved.
5. Understand Open Listing vs. Exclusive – Most agents only know of the exclusive rentals available on the MLS. Chicago is filled with thousands of open listing buildings that work with essentially any broker. Find these buildings and get to know everything they offer; then, guide your clients on which options are the best for them.
4. Know Where and How to Advertise – If you go on Craigslist, you will see that it has become a spam marketplace. To be seen on there, you will need to post hundreds of listings. It’s still a great avenue to use to advertise, but think outside the box. Maybe do a backwards search on Twitter and see if anyone just tweeted about their rental search dilemma and how they wished they knew someone to talk to. Or partner up with your barber and give them some business cards to pass out to their clients. Rentals are all about spreading your net. Many people post advertisements, but not many people think outside the box. Also, watch out for times you are posting. Many renters are looking at apartments when they are at work. Usually first thing in the morning or right after lunch are the best times to post.
3. Get Compliant and be Careful – Make sure you know all disclosures and legalities behind leasing apartments. Many lawsuits happen due to agents not knowing what they are doing. If you don’t know, get a mentor that does. Also, be aware that there are many scam artists out there who email unknowing agents about fair housing questions. If you make a mistake and answer a question that is not compliant, you might get sued and be in for a big headache.
2. Quick Response Time – The majority of clients looking for apartments are just happy to get a response. It’s amazingly simple, but just responding quickly and having good communication with clients will help you be successful in rentals. Most inquiries need to be responded to within 10 minutes or less. At my office, we try for a minute or less. Whatever else you do, make sure to implement ways to respond as quickly as possible and lock that client in.
1. Never Think of it as “Just a Rental” – Many agents make the mistake of thinking that the rental market is an amateur’s game. Commissions are big and come in fast, if you know what you are doing. Respect the game and it will respect you back.
Greg Pekarsky is the managing broker/partner of Vesta Preferred Realty, and one of the National Association of Realtors’ “30 Under 30” for 2012.