Real Talk

Property Management Mystery Shopper Tips

Property management mystery shops can be an interesting way to see the property management industry firsthand. Investment companies as well as developers and real estate conglomerates often buy a variety of properties. You might be looking at space within a shopping mall, business center, or an office park. The person in charge of leasing these developments is the property manager. They typically have more responsibility than the on-site manager as they lease much larger and more expensive properties. The contracts are also typically longer and more complex.

Mystery shoppers assigned a property management shop will present themselves as potential lessees. This means you will need to know the lingo of the industry and be comfortable discussing square foot pricing, lease terms and the local economic climate and trends.

Remember, these shops differ from apartment shops. You are shopping for a commercial property rather than a residential so your needs and concerns are more encompassing. The property manager of a commercial property requires more information than an apartment manager given there’s more money on the line. Additionally, commercial properties have more constraining rules and regulations regarding tenants and usage, as well as government and bureaucratic tenets to consider.

Property management mystery shopping reports are detail-oriented. A mixture of questions and narratives relating to the industry are required. And the reports often require a waiting period of a day or two to finalize, this allows the property manager to contact you to further negotiate terms.

A standard mystery shopper report for property management includes the following sections, though some may have additional sections as requested by the client.

Appointment Scheduling

Shoppers may be required to assess a particular property manager. In these cases, they will be given scenarios to use. Some examples include being referred by a friend who leases from the target company or learning the target manager’s name from a trade publication or newspaper article. Anonymity is as important as a believable story on how you know the manager’s name. Since commercial/business properties typically take longer to tour and discuss than residential ones, shoppers should set aside a couple hours to perform the shop, including the office visit and tour.

Office Visit

The property manager may suggest meeting at the property of interest but generally the shopper is invited to the manager’s office to get acquainted and provide more information on leasing details such as length of contract, how much square footage is needed, special amenities, how well the business complements current tenants, and details of the business’s financial stability and growth potential. Have all these facts organized and easy to quote to increase your credibility.

Property Tour

It’s crucial for property management shoppers to fit the profile of a potential client. Business attire, not too casual, presents a believable image and their vehicle should be late model and clean. Borrowing a vehicle from a friend or relative for a few hours is a good option, if necessary. Be punctual and professional. Carry a briefcase or portfolio with a list of questions, which is natural when shopping for commercial space at several different companies. Ask the property manager pertinent questions about their company and for a few referrals. Ideas for questions and appropriate comments for property management evaluations are included in shop guidelines.

Follow-Up Options

Property managers usually follow up with prospective tenants for a number of reasons. They may be working on commission; however, even if they’re not, it’s a highly competitive industry, so closing deals is central to career advancement. The shopper should remain upbeat and positive in dealing with the property manager’s follow-up inquiries and ultimately blame the delayed decision on an unnamed partner or higher up.

Mystery shopping property management companies is as enjoyable as apartment mystery shopping, just on a larger scale. Imagination and role playing are great ways to flex your mind, expand your dreams for the future, and earn some extra cash for your time and efforts.

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