I'm wondering if someone can help me out here. I'm having problems with
prospective tenants that seem to want to tell me their life story when
they're looking at a vacant apartment for rent. They start off by
telling me where they're living now, and why they want to move, and why
it would be more convenient for them to live here rather than there, and
that's because they're going to be babysitting for their daughter who
lives just a few blocks away. She just had a baby a few weeks ago, and
is finishing her maternity leave from where she works. As the baby's
grandmother she's going to be babysitting while her daughter is at work.
She works at Russell Metals... in the office. She's been working
there for over 10 years and she likes it.
See what I mean? People think I'm interested because I'm listening to
them. Truthfully, I really couldn't care less.
Up until now I've been saying things like "Excuse me, but I really
should be getting back to work."
The problem is that even this doesn't work well because I have to wait
for them to stop talking before I can get a word in, and that often
takes a lot longer than it should.
Is there any way I can give these people the message, either verbally on
non-verbally that I don't care WHY their moving. I only care about the
kind of reference I'm going to get from their previous landlords, their
employment status and whether they smoke or have pets? Is there some
way to give people that message without offending them? Truth is, I
truly don't care what's all going on in their life because none of it
affects my decision as to whether or not to rent to them.
If you are the leasing agent/manager, you should let them runoff at the
mouth and use whatever information you glean (much filtered, of course) as
part of your screening process. Once them move in, that is another story
two questions for you:
1. what makes you think we want to read your endless dribble?
2. What is it about offending them that bothers you?
Yeah, but I don't want to spend any more time with them than I have to
until I see their application form and contact their former and current
landlords to assess whether I'm likely going to rent to them. I
basically want them to shut up, fill out the application form and leave
the rest to me, but I want to tell them that in a polite sort of way.
If I did shove a stack of papers in front of them to sign, then if they
wanted the apartment, that would just take up more of my time while they
signed them all. I just want to talk to their current and former
landlords more than I want to talk to them.
PS: I ask for their current address on my application forms. Then, I
go down to the Property Tax office here in Winnipeg and find out who
pays the property tax on that address. That way I know I'm talking to
the real landlord and not just someone who's agreed to pretend to be the
applicant's landlord. I'd say a good 10 percent of the applications I
get have the wrong landlord on them, and those I just chuck in the
garbage without further checking.
I dated a woman, years ago who had this problem.
One time I was there, and we were making arrangements
to go some where. I had to ask a question. I tried
about six times to start asking the question, and she
literally just kept talking. Missed all my cues and
interrupts. Finally, I yelled for a break, and waved
my arms over my head. She didn't appreciate that.
Talky people also tend to miss social cues. Might
have to try kind, and then direct, and then rude.
It may get to be a choice of time waster, or rude
on your part. What's your time worth?
I met a woman at a single adult event, Saturday. She
spent a bit of time telling me how her husband of
30 years got onto computer, found a web site for
affairs, and then left her. I am guessing the two
are contributors, never known a man to leave a woman
who is interesting, engaging, and positive.
I feel your pain, know the type. The only thing I can suggest is to take
charge and lay out the ground rules BEFORE they start in. I don't mean to
be curt or rude, just business like..,matter of fact. Maybe like this...
Good day, Prospective Tenant, my name is nestork, I'm the owner(rep) and I
appreciate your interest. I DO have another engagement soon but I'll be
happy to show you the property; if you are interested in it, I will also
have a few questions for you. Now, before we go in, are there any
questions I can answer for you?
If they start a litany, make a show of looking at your watch, interrupt if
need be and remind them that you have another engagement and that your
time is limited...maybe offer to reschedule them?
Not a lot of help but the best I can offer. And remember: it ain't WHAT
you do, it's the way how you do it :)
I don't want to offend them because until they fill out their
application form, I don't know if I'll be renting to them or not. I
don't want to make a bad first impression on a tenant that may be in my
building for the next 10 years. I want to impess them as being polite
and courteous. (No one ever lost anything by being polite, courteous
That's a good idea, but I'm thinking I could just tell the prospective
tenant while we're walking to the apartment that I can't spend too much
time with them because yada yada yada. I'm using some epoxy I just
mixed up and it sets up hard in an hour, or I've got a pizza in the oven
and it's coming up on the time I have to take it out, or something else
equally time sensitive. If they have a brain, they'll realize that I
don't want them to delay me with irrelevant discussion. That way, if
they start into their life history, I can just tell them "Sorry, I need
to get back to my epoxy/pizza. Have a nice day."
I think the time limit is good. I use that on yellow
pages reps, who tend to go on. I tell here are the
ground rules. I don't want o hear about bold, display
ads, etc. Not interested. Show me where my ads are,
and I'll ask the questions. I'm out in half hour, and
if you talk too much, we'll leave without a signature
and I'll call the office and ask for some one else.
Sounds like you need levels of reply. Polite and to the
point to start "I've got several applicants, and I've
only got fifteen minutes for you." and then less polite
after that. "I never get involved with tenants personal
lives. Lets talk references and payment, and not much
I assume you're in the vacant apartment. Interrupt their talking and
say, I have to get back home. I'm expecting an important phone call."
OTOH, maybe nows the time to find out who talks too much and who
doesn't. If you rent to the former, you'll face this problem over and
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