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Apartment Locators: How Do They Make Their Money?

If you're looking for an apartment in a hurry, apartment location services are a convenient, efficient route to your next home. The vast majority of these services are free, and if you happen to live in a high-growth metropolitan area, you're likely to find them everywhere. In North Dallas, for example, where apartment community developers are keeping plenty busy these days, you'll find as many as two or even three apartment locator services at the same intersection.

Locators tout their services as free, and believe it or not, they are. Not only that, but you'll find their consultants bend over backwards to provide you with copious information -- long lists of apartment communities that fit your desired criteria. Consultants also will call you as they hear of other opportunities with which you may be interested. It's a lot of service, and it won't set you back a penny. So what's in it for the locator? A commission -- but it all depends on your informing the apartment community you ultimately choose who referred you. For the locator, it's a risky venture, but consultants who persistently contact their clients and remind them to tell their new communities about the locator who referred them there are the ones who receive those commissions.

Of course, like every other business these days, apartment locators increasingly are going online. The Internet is providing them with a surge of new business. Finding an apartment locally no longer requires you to leave your home. Turn on your computer, find yourself a locator online, fill in and submit an online application which asks you your specifications and budgetary restrictions, and then, following a period of one to two days, the locator should contact you by phone.

After that, you're likely to receive a fax from a representative who has done the homework for you. You'll have a list in hand of various properties in the area in which you want to live -- all of which meet your desired criteria. Apartment amenities will be listed, as well. Then it's up to you to visit the communities that interest you. Making a preliminary phone call to each community before you leave home is a good idea, since the locator services typically do not know if each community has any vacancies or anticipates any vacancies -- a constantly changing variable -- during the time you wish to move. In addition, if you call ahead of time, you may ask leasing agents if the community is running any specials. If you're moving during the months of May to September, that's prime moving season, and you could land yourself a great deal.

Take, for example, a recent special run by one North Dallas apartment community, which gave residents who signed a 13-month lease full-sized washers and dryers with their apartments -- which they were allowed to take with them when they moved out later. So pick up your phone, and find out who's running the sweetest deals. Those specials can be make-or-break deciding factors for you when you've narrowed down your list of prospective apartment communities.

Apartment location consultants are paid a commission from the advertising budgets of the properties to which they refer prospective renters. Of course, that all depends on your telling the leasing agents at your new community who referred you there. Many locators will contact clients either by phone or e-mail after services have been rendered, in order to find out where clients ultimately chose to live and to remind them to tell agents who referred them there. Particularly savvy consultants will contact clients more than once because so many of us have a tendency to ignore such e-mail or phone messages. It's the clients' responsibility to perform this favor for the consultant in exchange for what amounts to a very time-saving and handy service.

If you're on the lookout for an apartment locator, there's an unspoken rule which you're entrusted to follow: Apartment-hunters are expected to use only one location service provider. The rationale behind that rule certainly makes sense. After all, if you're a locator doing the legwork for a client, you'd like to be recognized for your efforts in the event that client chooses a community to which you referred him or her. If the consumer is using multiple services, your chances of receiving any commission for your efforts are slim at best.

Although apartment locators are not at liberty to disclose to consumers particular properties they deem unsafe, their representatives can help you to an extent if you have questions about various regions -- their relative safety, availability of local resources, and more. Representatives of these services are the eyes and ears of the renters' market. They know where the most desirable areas are, which properties are hot and which aren't, and what morning rush-hour traffic is like in a particular area, for example. If your gut feeling tells you the neighborhood in which the apartment of your dreams is located is somewhat unsavory, an apartment location service may be able to tell you -- albeit indirectly -- whether or not that feeling is unjustified.

Apartment location services realize that moving is an emotional decision, and today's cutthroat apartment market can leave many hunters out in the cold if they don't move quickly and don't know where to look. If you're looking for corporate housing or a single-family home, these services often can help you with those searches, as well.

Submitted by:

Dan The Roommate Man

Since 1989 Dan The Roommate Man has helped 1000's of people find roommates. Need help? Contact him at 800-487-8050 or www.roommateexpress.com

info@roommateexpress.com





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