Monday, May 19, 2014

Cottage Life

"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."

As I opened the drapes to let in the morning sunshine yesterday, a car pulled into our driveway.  The passenger, a young woman in her early twenties, waved at me and walked towards our door.  I didn’t recognize her and thought she was someone my daughter knew from school.    My daughter answered the door and talked to her for a few minutes.

My daughter didn’t know her either, but she had been attracted by the university’s “Purple Pride” sign in our yard.   She has been desperately looking for housing and wanted to know how we had managed to find a house so close to the school.  My daughter gave her some ideas, but warned her that it wasn’t easy.   Most of the rental homes near the university are leased through real estate agencies that also do property management.  It seems as though that might make things easier.  Most of the rentals are handled by three agencies.  Put in three applications and wait for a call.  Right?  Wrong.

In our search, we dealt with lost applications and the promises of returned calls never occurred.   Several times, we were told that we were next on the waiting list, only to find that the property was rented to someone who had just applied for it.  It’s a story that we have heard from many others.  You just had to be right in front of them, when something became available or you were out of luck.    In the end, we found our place through an agency with fewer properties that was small enough to keep track of prospective renters.

I don’t think that the agencies are trying to make things difficult, but I do think they would benefit from a better computer system.  They need to ditch their homemade websites and invest in some good CRM software.  It could help them manage wait lists and match available rentals to customers.  That’s good business.   As it is, I would hesitate before using any of those agencies to purchase a home and I’m sure I’m not alone.  Wonder if any of them have thought about that.

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