Friday, February 19, 2016

R I P Postlets. How I use the Web to find Tenants for our apartments. The Apt hunt explained.

RIP I will miss you   Postlets was cool.  I liked it.  It worked.

It was a great web site.  It did not try to over complicate the process of renting an apartment.  With this tool it would set up a standard formatted set of information and photos to share.  Then when you used it's tools would up load the data to other Rental listing sites.

Recently Zillow bought them out.  

Major bummer.  Issues.  I've lost some great functions.

Postlets has gone the way of dodo bird by a bigger company eating it up and spitting out the bones.  The soul of a good process eaten up by the chinking larceny of another heavy handed company that leaves a lot of us wondering... What Happens Next.

Well luckily still works and is still good for basic listing. Their addition of maps is a really big improvement a year or two ago.  Had to add that to keep up with others like and more recently Nether are that good on their own.  Not much better is who has lost its luster with landlords (us housing providers) over the last couple of years.

Here is the lowdown on that. WestsideRentals had a complete lock on the Santa Monica & West Los Angeles area when the local daily newspaper The Outlook went out of business.  And the local landlords loathed to waste our time on the LA Times regardless of the price.  It was like this...
One little 3 or 4 line advert: $138 for a weekend run.
1000 phone calls on your answer machine
return 100 calls and set appointments
of the appointments maybe 5 to 10 show up to look.
Maybe one will return with a filled out application.
This math sucked. 

So, We all (housing providers) eagerly gave the rental info to Westside Rentals for free. Then they sold the data to their clients, the prospective renters.  This worked.  We got pre-screened tenants that had a real vested interest and had PAID up front for the privilege to see our rentals.  The 10 appointments we set, got out 8 or 9 folks to show up, and of that, half were willing to apply!  Maybe even bid up the rents a little to get the better places.

This was great for a time.  Unfortunately like the Zillow getting too big for it's britches above, WestsideRentals has as well.  It has gone into competition with the very folks that gave it the free data it used to sell.  Not good.  Some of the bigger firms are no longer giving them the data first and some not at all.

So the craze that Craig's List started ... Online sales for free... Is back to Craig's List!

My rentals are up on there for a week before I break down to give it to Westside Rentals.

And maybe if needed to one of the other sites.  The quality of tenant from the various sites is still sucky. What amazing demanding whiny folks get on Zillow and Trulia is really a sad sack section of humanity.   I have little time left for that type of folk.  

I need good Quality tenants.  Folks with a bit of brain between their ears and realize the contractual relationship of a housing provider is NOT to service you like a mommy or change your light bulbs or that flushing ear swabs is no big deal.  After all out of sight is out of mind. Right? Wrong. That will be an expensive clog you dim whit. 

The Dim whits that think hitting the automatic email button on Zillow or Trulia or Westside Rentals or Hot Pads or RadPads or HOTIgloos or most any list is not going to actually help you find a good apartment.  It just shows that U'r too lazy to be a good tenant.   With one thumb tap you think it will be handed to you?  Bwaaahh Haaa Haaa    

To Renters
If you are a tenant...  Or want to successfully become a tenant in a better apartment.  Read the advert.  Read all of it.  Yes we put enough info up to make it sorta telling.  There are clear clues.
1.      Send an actual email that states when you are available to rent and
2.      Tell the housing provider Why you want the unit.  
3.      Include your phone number
4.      maybe your email too   (Phone number is more important)
5.      Then follow up with a call and actually Drive By the site.

Really do follow up I'll recognize the name if it is in my list of folks I have to call back and tell you what's up.

If your phone message says something useful like: 
"This is Name, I looked at the photos online and the apartment at 123 7th Street works for me. Please call me on 123-123-1234 or email me at  I drove the area and like it.  It is right for me because X,Y,Z.    I'm available to meet you on Saturday or maybe Tuesdays after noon. Thank you.  Again this is Name at 123-123-1234"

This is the first one called back.  This one leads in setting the day and time of my open house on the weekend.  X is likely... I work for some firm nearby.  Y is likely a statement that it is well within their budget. Z is maybe a feature or something that makes them a match. Telling me the phone number at the beginning is good.  Telling me the number a second time at the very end is Fantastic.

This is in there with all those calls that say “Is it available?” then rush the phone number making me (or other housing providers) repeat the message 3 or more time to get that one breathless number. ARGHHH  And I have the add up?  Hell yes it is available.

Don't be that one if you want to rent from me.  We have to do business down the line for years to come if I rent to you.  You need to communicate clearly.  Fully.  

So Back to rental listings.  I'm going to brush up on my Craig's List Codes.  Some basic HTML formatting that they use.  I've lost my friendly Postlets helper to make easy the task of publishing the data the prospective tenant is looking for.

Fellow Housing Providers... the tip sheet is here

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