I heard that apartment buildings get shopped. Is that true? Would I actually have to rent an apartment? That just seems weird, plus I don’t have the best credit, so I would probably be denied anyway. I don’t really understand how they would work.
Apartment shops are actually my favourite shops to do! You do NOT need to rent an apartment, fill out an application, or leave a deposit to do an apartment shop. It’s pretty simple:
You call up the apartment building and talk to a leasing agent over the phone, setting an appointment to view the apartment. (Or not, depending on the shop requirements.)
You visit the property, taking mental notes about its condition, amenities, and the condition of the apartment. You’ll also take mental notes about if the leasing tries to “pre-qualify” you by asking when you’re moving, the size apartment you want, if you have pets, how many people are moving with you, etc.
The leasing agent SHOULD try and close the sale…meaning, they’ll ask you to fill out an application or leave a deposit (unfortunately, most don’t) and you politely decline, taking mental notes of how they try to get you to lease. Do they offer you one month free? Do they offer a free application fee? Do they “create a sense of urgency” by telling you that multiple people are interested in the apartment, or that is the only one left that meets your needs?
You go home, and write up the form. Or, if it’s a video or audio shop, upload the files.
That’s all there is to it! Apartment shops can get a little complicated when you have to target a specific leasing agent. Especially when there are others who work there, and it seems like your target has an aversion to answering the phone. And the bugger is that you do have to use your name and contact information because leasing agents are graded on follow up.
But, for the money, it really is the most cost-effective mystery shop. You’ll spend about 15-20 minutes on the property, another 40-60 minutes writing up the form, and they usually pay around $30-50 each. It’s not a bad way to earn some extra money!
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