Apartment complexes often spend thousands trying to attract renters: An apartment-finding service finds qualified renters for a complex, and charges a fee when a lease is signed. It offers one-stop shopping for renters, because they can find all of their options in one place. Follow these steps if you would like to start an apartment-finding service.
You will need a telephone, Computer, printer, and maybe Fax
1. Find out if there is a need for this service in your community. Talk to owners of apartment buildings and see if they would be interested in working with you; In most cases, the apartment owners will pay a fee if you find qualified renters, but in some popular spots, renters themselves may pay a fee of a month’s rent or more to the apartment finder.
2. Locate available apartments and categorise them: You can group them according to number of bedrooms, price range, amenities (like swimming pools) or special categories (like senior housing). You can see a good example of how to do it on this site that sells Spanish real estate. Learn about the different neighbourhoods, so you can tell your clients about safety, schools, and access to stores and playgrounds. Try to get pictures of the various units, and collect any brochures that are available.
3. Learn how to qualify your clients: Most landlords want renters to have a yearly salary of 42 – 52 times the monthly rent. Renters will also need a credit report, which you can get with their permission.
4. Take advantage of SCORE and other free small business services. Many business schools offer free or low-cost workshops, for people who are starting a small business. You can learn to write a business plan, advertise your services, and handle your finances, in these workshops.
5. Advertise your apartment business: Word of mouth is great, but you will also want to advertise in newspapers and in the Yellow Pages. You can also advertise your rentals online, and free on sites like Craigslist.
Always be honest with your customers; you may lose one fee if you tell the truth about a neighbourhood, but in the long run you will be building a good reputation for you and your business.