Tomorrow (March 1, 2016) we will be launching a new report format, a new price structure and a new look for our website. Unlike many other web-based startups, we do not job out our code to third party web designers. I build our site entirely in house - no collaboration, no support. Today I wanted to share with you a bit about what the new report is and how it developed.
When we opened last year we had two report formats - the Signature Report at $65 and the simpler Initial Report at $35. As there is no other company out there doing exactly what we do, setting the price for the Reports was something of a guessing game. However, I knew that the going rate for tenant background checks was in the $25-75 range and used that as a reference point as those costs have traditionally been covered by tenants without much problem.
Given the tight budgets that many renters have to work with and the rising rents in the Chicago area, we were surprised to see that the more expensive Signature Reports were selling a lot better than the cheaper Initial Reports. When I thought it through the reasons for this became apparent. Continue reading Introducing the Fingerprint Report and Pay-what-you-can Pricing
A long time ago, in a kingdom not so far far away, I worked in the customer service department of an apartment management company. One of the lessons I quickly learned is that if you put a bunch of different people in the same building, some of them are going to have problems with their neighbors. I fielded a lot of neighbor complaints. Most of them were fairly standard: loud music in the middle of the night, leaving full trash bags on the porches, and the ever-popular Walking Too Loudly.
Every once in a while though, I'd get a truly bizarre complaint. I kept a file of these in my mind.
You can read the first two collections here: Don't Love Thy Neighbor and Don't Love Thy Neighbor Part II.
If you enjoyed those (or even if you didn't), go ahead and read this brand new list of how people fail to co-exist -- even more of the strangest tenant complaints that I ever received as a property manager.
- When I'm eating, my upstairs neighbor does jumping exercises and things fall from the ceiling into my food.
- Yesterday the guy who lives down the hall was standing in his apartment doorway hissing like a snake at people. Today he's saying he's a vampire on a broomstick.
- Almost every day a large group of people comes to visit my neighbor across the hall. They ring my buzzer. If I don't answer, they ring all the buzzers. Sometimes they kick my door. They pound on my neighbor's door and yell his name. The weird thing is I haven't seen my neighbor in weeks.
- The sound of weights being dropped on my ceiling occurs many times a day. My parakeet does not like it, nor do I.
- My downstairs neighbor is freestyle rapping. (complaint on voicemail, no address given)
- Someone is collecting boxes of scrap metal and storing them right in the middle of the laundry room. There are literally sharp pieces of metal sticking out of them, right where people pass by. And I can tell you who it is – they labeled the boxes with their name and apartment number.
- There are petrified chunks of dog poop in the front yard of the house next door. Can you let whoever owns that house know that they might want to clean up their front yard and tell their teenager to pick up after the dog?
- My upstairs neighbor has left me several notes that she can hear my phone ring and “it disturbs her.” My ringtone is just a normal telephone sound. I don't know what to do.
- Someone in the building cooks fish every day, and it stinks up the hallway. I think it may be the woman in 1B who sings opera badly. Maybe you could post a note about both?
- My bath mat got stolen from the laundry room last month. Today I found it in the elevator. It was wet.
- Whenever anyone enters the building the small dog in the downstairs apartment starts barking. Sometimes this causes the dog in the upstairs apartment to start barking. This causes the large dog that lives with the small dog to start barking. This causes the upstairs dog to bark more, and the small dog is still barking. They all bark for at least fifteen minutes, and that's if they start roughly at the same time. And that's on a good day! It's a madhouse of noise! I have knocked on the downstairs tenants' door and nicely requested that they stop their dogs from barking. They said that they are currently working on this issue.
If you have any neighbor complaints to share, I'd love if you told me about them. Strange neighbors make for the best stories! I'm thinking about doing a reader-sourced version for next installment of neighbor complaints. Post a comment if you've got any to share with us!
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A few weeks ago I posted an article about ways that renters blow their shot at finding a good apartment by failing to properly prepare for their showings. You guys loved it, you shared it, you liked it on Facebook. So today I've got a follow up!
Getting to the showing is one thing. But there's also a lot of mistakes you can make in the lobby and hallway before you get to the apartment. Your agent will be watching for signs that you'll be a good renter. Fair housing standards do not include "people who act like jerks" as members of any protected class. If you pull stunts like these, you could certainly be turned down for an apartment.
If you want to be absolutely sure to give the worst possible impression, these are the steps you should be sure to follow. As before, all of these mistakes are taken directly from things that renters did at my own showings over the course of 10 years in the rental industry. Enjoy!
- Let the front door slam behind you on the way in.
- Read all the names on the mailboxes and ask the agent about any foreign-looking names.
- Walk up the stairs so close behind the agent that you can smell their deodorant. Tell them they look hot. Ask them for their number. Mention how much you like their earrings, necklace, purse or phone.
Continue reading How Great Tenants Blow Apartment Showings In The Lobby
So it was Valentine's Day last weekend. And your roommate has now come to you with a request. They want to move in together! Isn't that special? But here's the catch: they want to move in together right here. In your apartment.
Of course, they both agreed that they would only do it if you were cool with it.
Are you cool with it? Here's a handy diagram to help you figure it out!
Too small? Click here to see the full size version!
I was going to return to Google for another analysis of problems between landlords and tenants today. But I've used Google before. In fact, I did a whole series on what Google has to say about Chicago neighborhoods. So I figured it was time to use a different source of data. Today I turned to Twitter to see what makes renters unhappy about their landlords. Continue reading What do Twitter users hate the most about their landlords?