Six Questions You Should Never Include in a Resident Interview

Last modified on January 15th, 2016

By now most property management professionals know that verbal communication – word choices – is only a small percentage of the communication cycle. But, word choices and phrasing do make a significant impact on how apartment seekers and single-family home renters react to certain messages.

Below are six common questions leasing agents ask during the interview, and suggestions for phrasing the questions slightly differently to build confidence and trust with your property viewers. Many of these typical statements and questions could apply to a variety of conversations with residents and prospects. As you read through the six suggestions, try to think about other situations where you could modify the phrasing to improve clarity and understanding to build long-term relationships.

1. Typical Question: Do you have any questions about our property?

Better Phrasing: I want to be certain I explained the application (or the amenities, etc.) well, tell me what questions you still have.

2.   Typical Statement? Don’t worry about the application process, I’ve done this a hundred times, it’ll be fine.

Better Phrasing:  It looks like we have all the information we need to process your application. Is there anything  you ‘re concerned about or do you have questions I haven’t answered?

3. Typical Statement: I agree, the office manager (or maintenance man, or receptionist) can be kind of short. He  doesn’t mean anything by it, he’s just tired and grumpy.

Better Phrasing:  I’m sorry the maintenance man was so rude to you. Tell me exactly what happened so I can make  sure this doesn’t happen in the future.

4. Typical Question:  Do you understand there will be a late penalty if you don’t pay your rent on time?

Better Phrasing: Just to be sure I explained our late payment policy, please tell me what you understand about our rent payment policy.

5. Typical Statement:  I scheduled this appointment to talk to your about noise complaints, we’ll have to talk about your pest control concerns another time.

Better Phrasing:  Now that we’ve discussed the noise complaints, I understand you have some questions about our  pest control policy.

6. Typical Question:  Do you have any concerns about signing the lease today?

Better Phrasing:  What concerns you most about signing the least today?

Rather than just telling prospective renters about policies  and benefits,  asking them to repeat what you’ve shared helps increase clarity and understanding. Sadly, many people sign lease agreements without fully reading what they’re signing or understanding the importance of small details. Intentionally choosing word choices that encourage conversation participants to think about the discussion is an excellent strategy for your property management team.

Do you have a strategy that helps build relationships with clarity? Share it with us in the comment section below.


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