Apartment shops???

So I've been stepping out of my comfort zone to do higher paying shops that I typically would not do. I've done banks. Now I'm thinking of stepping into the realm of apartment shops. Generally speaking how tedious/uncomfortable are these? I know as my first shop it will be hard just because its different but generally speaking how tedious and time consuming are the shops and reporting?

This shop typically pays $30 but has a $20 bonus bumping it up to $50. Its very close by my house so I won't be going out of the way. I have to make a phone call first to the target and then set an appointment to come in and see the place. Hopefully the $30 base pay gives you a hint of who the MSC is. I think since I said it is an apartment shop I cannot list the MSC.

Thanks in advance!

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Biggest pain in the tush I have attempted. I signed up for one, actually got the target on the phone. They had no apartments to show until the end of August. My deadline was mid July. It took multiple attempts to get her. I was told to just take tour. Call her back multiple times. Can't get her. I spent five days and for nothing. We will be going away. I wasted so much time reading the guidelines, memorizing the million questions for the call. The scheduler will not reply back to me now. I would rather go to a car dealer, look at a car, get paid the same, without the endless calling.

Other people do these all the time. See what happens.
Reaching the target can be tricky and time consuming. Sometimes, the target is the manager, who doesn't answer the phone and if you reach them they will just transfer you to the leasing agent. Often, the apartments I have shopped didn't even have anything vacant so they were not interested in spending much time with me. They can require lengthy narratives, but I would say the most difficult is reaching the target. There are a lot of details to remember.
Apartment shops are very hard typically, this is a definitely MUST record. I recommend it if you have lots of free time the day off as the report can take 1-2 hours (no lie) although with practice it can be condensed to about 20-25 minutes. The shop itself is about 20-30 minutes alone. I suggest having at least half a day off, recording it and make sure you have the right target and confirm THEY will be one that shows the place. I had one do a switcharoo (which was irritating), I got the credit but apart shops are hard so make sure 1. record! 2. Confirm that the target will be there! Usually, the apartment shops are for high end and expensive apartments that rent for 1200-1700 a month so dressing the part is important too.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2019 06:01PM by Mysteriousways.
Some people love them and some hate them. I like them but they can be tedious reporting. I take it the company is not Ellis. They have the most tedious reports. But they are good training. If its legal in your state do an audio recording. Let us know how it goes!

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
Like all shops, it is only hard the first 1-3 times. The report will take 2-3 times as long the first and 2nd time, just like all reports.

If you do not reach the target in 3 tries, email your scheduler and ask for permission, in writing, to ask for the target. Target may have left that property,be on vacation of medical leave, etc. So, do not spin your wheels and get your knickers in a twist or decide to just walk away. These can be fun role playing experiences, since you will often get to tour very nice places, indeed.

Ellis reports are not for beginners, and are are VERY much more demanding than any other apartment reports that I have seen (doing hundreds of apartment shops since 2005).

Here are a couple of tips:
know why you want to move and why to that area
know how you found out about the place
let the leasing associate (LA) present the info, asking as few questions as feasible (given the guidelines)
"Recite" as you walk through the apartment. This is a memory trick that I stumbled upon. As you walk in the front, door, for instance, you might say,
"oh, it's nice that the kitchen/coat closet/pantry first bathroom is close to the door." Then, "oh, I'm glad that there is a dining table area/bar seating/ ?, but it is....(Small? does not have a light ??).

Basically, you are signalling likes and providing objections that CAN be overcome by the LA, , without commuting to the apartment or rejecting it. BUT most importantly, you are imprinting your memory (or your voice recorder if it is legal in that state) with notes.

Second most important tip: PICK and STICK. You do not want to be trotted all over the complex, which might be several buildings and take a long time. You just want to give the LA a chance to perform as the client has expected. Early in the presentation, express a preference, for one floor plan. When you see it on the tour, or when you are shown the apartment that most closely matches it (Since the first one may not be available for viewing) express interest without committing, such as, "If I took an apartment would they be sure to thoroughly clean to remove and pet dander? I am very allergic." You just gave a signal that should, if the LA is alert, cause the LA to try, even gently to "close" you. (Soft close may be like, "Do you think this would meet your needs?"

When you get to the point where the LA actually asks you to make an application, explain that you feel obligated to keep the other 2 appointments that you have. If asked where those are located, instead of naming an apartment community, say that they are condos that are being rented by the owners.

Okay. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly. Make a list of what you are supposed and not supposed to do on the phone call. Then decide what to say if the target does not answer. (I say, "Is this Walmart?" (In an Eastern European accent.

Feel free to PM me for more craziness.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2019 08:57PM by walesmaven.
Wow! That is alot! Sadly, yes you both were right about the MSC that you named. That's the one. So I'm thinking maybe its not the best idea to do as my first shop. I'm trying to push myself to do more but not if its gonna give me anxiety or a headache. I do some online mystery shops for way more and don't have to leave my bed lol. Maybe I'll try it with a different MSC first.

PM'ing you now! smiling smiley @walesmaven
Don't because the company will not pay~~ I did 3 apartment shops the end of January 2019, invoiced in February. I have not gotten paid and it seems like lots of shoppers have a hard getting their money!
Not true. My second ever apt shop was for Ellis. It was long and tedious to be sure but not difficult. And they pay like clockwork.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
I did my first shop for Ellis in June and was paid last Friday. Follow the guidelines and respond to all communications from the scheduler and you should be fine.
One thing that I have noticed is that when you do them for a certain MSC, the MSC contracts with various Property Management Companies, and the surveys vary depending on the PMCs. With one survey, I had to get the eye color of the LA, something specific that they were wearing, and a "memorable" moment at the community so that they would be able to "prove" I was there. I started to make sure to look at those things EVERY time, because I hate being caught off guard.

Also, it's "community" or "neighborhood," or some other descriptor in the reports and NOT "apartment complex..."
If the MSC is Cirrus, read their payment policy and search threads on this forum about them.
I've always enjoyed working for Ellis--my input time is fairly short by now. The shops for Remington are much more of a pain, but I'll still take them if the price is right.
When they ask for eye color, I answer, "not observed." That has never been questioned of challenged.

Ellis is reliable about pay for accepted shops.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Mysteriousways you just gave me a big laugh. Around here an apartment for 1200-1700 a month means you are on section 8 housing and better not dress well or they will think you are cheating the system.

@Mysteriousways wrote:

Apartment shops are very hard typically, this is a definitely MUST record. I recommend it if you have lots of free time the day off as the report can take 1-2 hours (no lie) although with practice it can be condensed to about 20-25 minutes. The shop itself is about 20-30 minutes alone. I suggest having at least half a day off, recording it and make sure you have the right target and confirm THEY will be one that shows the place. I had one do a switcharoo (which was irritating), I got the credit but apart shops are hard so make sure 1. record! 2. Confirm that the target will be there! Usually, the apartment shops are for high end and expensive apartments that rent for 1200-1700 a month so dressing the part is important too.
I agree, at first with Ellis it took me almost three hours to fill out. But after doing another apt I caught on. They pay well and is fascinating what’s inside these apartment communities. One I went to had it’s own Starbucks store.... crazy... I like to dress casual -smiling smiley
that is crazy your city is expensive lol Sounds like I'd die over there my rent is only $800 a month sad smiley
Kristylynnr, I was SO scared when I did my first apartment shop! But like others have said it gets easier. Now they're one of my favorite types of shops to do.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
@Jrsygal59, agree. I love to see all the amenities in the apartment communities.

@Mysteriousways...A 1 bed in my area is over $1500. 2-3 beds go up to close to (or maybe over now) $2k
Our taxes are over $1200/month. I can't wait to retire from here and move (in 16 years!)

We travel frequently, and I will complete shops while we are away. It's interesting how cost of living varies so wildly, yet MSC fees basically stay the same. Fees are actually lower where we live.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2019 01:37PM by Niner.
MJF is the authority on Apartments, however, I now think maybe Wales wins this one. Targets are iffy, I used to do them, do not in over 4 years, just don't pay enough here (35.00) plus my travel time, hassle and problem waiting to happen....having said that, you need to try for yourself, maybe you'll like them, she says with a blink.

Live consciously....
Predicated upon many years of shopping apartments, I now bump any with a target up $20. They can be a pain, especially with an MSC that will NOT give you permission to ask for the agent. I had one last year that took me 2 1/2 weeks to catch the gal. Several other shoppers had returned the work over a three month period and it was listed at $70. The guidelines required I set an appointment, but when I arrived she was off that day. I proceeded with the job, but held the report for one week until the MSC received permission from the client for me to be paid. Neither the scheduler nor her company approved of my conduct and, after I was paid, the scheduler removed me from any future consideration..It is strange, I am still able to log-in, but can neither apply for nor assign any shops.
I actually don't mind them too much if I have the time to do the visit (often the hours they need to be shopped clash with my job as I work full-time). I just did 2 this last week. One of them I could not reach a human being and the voicemail box was full so I contacted the scheduler who told me how many times to try calling and then to complete my report with the info about the attempts. The second I managed to reach, made an appointment and completed my visit yesterday which took me a grand total of 12 minutes on site. Each one earned me $35. I've seen some apartment shops paying just $15 though . Err, no thanks.
Intellishop apartment shops are typically $15. I don't do them for that price. When the scheduler emails me asking if I could do it, I let her know how much it would cost for me to go. She never replies then sends another email the following week. Rinse and repeat. It goes up to $25 and still sits there. SMH, the older scheduler used to agree to my rate with no cat and mouse game.
wrong thread.....

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/26/2019 01:28AM by Irene_L.A..
I would second everything @walesmaven had to say. I would add that dealing with targets is more about having the right mindset than anything. I don't take a targeted shop unless I have multiple times over the following week or so when I could make my visit. I then make my first call. If I don't reach the target, I don't hesitate to fill in all my time for that day, if I so desire. I do, however, keep time slots open over the next week. If I still have not reached the target by the following day, I repeat the process. And so on. I'll sometimes have seven or eight targeted visits on my "list" and I simply write them into my schedule when I reach the targets and have appointments.

Overall, If I don't reach a target right away, I don't worry about it. I simply log the call and do something else until it is time to call again. If I come up on a deadline or have made more than a few calls (varies by MSC, time of month, etc.), I update my scheduler and ask for extensions. If I have a confirmed appointment ("confirmed" varies by MSC) with the target and s/he is "out," I don't worry about it: I get an explanation and shop the person who greets me. If a target passes me off once I arrive, it's no skin off my back: I express disappointment and simply shop whomever the next person is. And, yes, I always get paid. I pick up a lot of shops with difficult targets: They often get dropped by frustrated shoppers and, thereafter, get bonuses....

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I fully agree with this! While EPMS does not always have accurate information, I can summarize my narratives. They pay like clockwork.

EPMS has given me wrong phone numbers. One of my targets was in maintenance. I always prefer them over RE.

@chrisg0619 wrote:

I've always enjoyed working for Ellis--my input time is fairly short by now. The shops for Remington are much more of a pain, but I'll still take them if the price is right.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I have performed many shops for that MSC and never ever had a problem getting paid ever.
I've been shopping with ellis since 2012 and have completed over 250 assignments for them. I've only not been paid 3 times, two which were my fault. I agree with honey that their info for targets are often useless. One time it took me nearly a month to get a target, who turned out to be on vacation. Anther time it was a mon-fri shop but the target only worked the weekends.
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