General: Does every apartment in Locator IDX pay locator commissions?

Answer:

No. Our apartment map and data feed are used by multiple industries so not all properties in our database pay locators. Real estate agents use our apartment map and data feed to add value to their website and boost SEO. Moving companies use our apartment map to attract renters that need to move to a new apartment. Insurance companies use our apartment map to quote renters’ insurance.

The property name, management company, floor plans, and amenities are updated electronically through a data feed from the property management software, but not commissions. Apartment communities can’t post their commission in property management software because it’s redundant. The apartment locating industry is small and many cities have never heard of locators therefore, we don’t reach out and ask for commission rates in cities if there are no locators.

It’s entirely up to each apartment community if they pay a commission or not. There is not a standard commission rate; each property determines the commission they want to pay and they can change it or discontinue it at any time.

 

Crowdsourcing

Every apartment locator can post commissions into the database. Much like Waze for traffic or Yelp for restaurants, crowdsourcing accelerates the speed new commissions are added to the database and enhances the accuracy of the information. Locator IDX is the only apartment locating software that gives locators unprecedented access to the database.

  • Locators confirm commission rates daily through email and phone calls to the property sending a referral.
  • Posting commission rates is not the responsibility of the leasing staff. The responsibility falls on the party who wants to receive payment for referrals, the locator.
  • The commission database is accessible to IDX users, members of the National Association of Apartment Locators, leasing agents, and our staff to post commission rates.
  • The leasing staff can easily post their commission rate for free, but in our 15+ years of experience in this industry the participation rate is very low.
  • We are the only apartment locating software giving our users the power to post accurate commissions.

 

Follow these tips if you’re interested in starting a locating service and need to obtain commission rates:

  1. Every State has different real estate laws pertaining to locating. We do not research the laws in each state as it is nearly to impossible to get a straight answer from the real estate licensing board on legal requirements to be a locator. We tried unsuccessfully for many years. Make sure you conduct thorough due diligence to obtain the proper license; in most States you need a valid real estate license.
  2. Some properties in smaller markets require every locator to have their own individual commission/vendor agreement negotiated and signed. These properties will never enter their commission into a central database like Locator IDX. Unfortunately you will need to request a vendor agreement directly from each property and sign and return it. You can manually enter the commission into your IDX but we won’t be able to help you obtain commission rates at these properties. Sorry!
  3. Login to your IDX and use the Apartment MLS to create a list of the top 30 properties in your area where potential clients would like to live. You are going to use the list to prove your concept so rank them 1 to 30, 1 being the most popular and prioritizing national management companies like Greystar who use locators in other markets. Small local developers will be easier to convince after you have agreements with national firms.
  4. Write a short but professional email template explaining your desire to offer a locating service and request their locator policy. The best time to ask if they work with locators is when you have a client you want to refer to their property. Apartment communities have an unlimited marketing budget for referrals; they only pay if your clients signs the lease. Presenting a potential lease in your email is a great way to get a response.
  5. Avoid sending the email template to the general leasing email address on the property website. The response rate will be much higher with a direct message to a decision maker.
  6. Use your professional profile on LinkedIn to send the email template via direct message to the property manager or regional manager of the top 10 properties on your list. LinkedIn search filters make it easy to find the decision maker and shows if they open the message. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, looks professional, and has a professional headshot.
  7. Keep detailed notes about responses and objections from the top 10 properties so you can modify your email template to improve responses for the next 10 properties (top 20). If a national management company like Greystar or Lincoln agrees to work with you, subtly add that to your email template to entice other management companies. If a national company agrees to work with you, it’s much easier for smaller firms to say yes.
  8. If a property doesn’t respond after you’ve made 3 attempts via email or phone, you should assume they aren’t working with locators.
  9. Repeat this process until you determine if a locating service will be profitable or not. As a benchmark, if you can get 25%-30% of the properties to agree to pay a commission, you should make enough money to sustain a business. Even in large markets like Houston and Dallas, only 40% of the apartments pay commissions. On average, locators refer clients to the same 100-120 properties. Our Houston database has 1,500 apartments, but our most profitable locator in Houston only receives 110 tax documents at the end of year from apartment communities. Long story short, you will refer to the same properties over and over.
  10. Focus on compiling a list of quality apartments in popular neighborhoods with a rent range so 20 somethings getting out of college with their first job can qualify with 3 times the rent, 30 somethings who can afford $3.00/per square foot, and single adults who don’t want to buy a home but can afford $3,500 – $4,000 per month – and you will make money. You don’t need 50% of the apartments to agree to work with you. Potential clients won’t want to live at 50% of the properties any way.
  11. When properties respond with their commission rate, login to your IDX and manually enter commission rates into your database. The commission rate is now searchable when you create an apartment list or apartment map.

 

Advanced Tip!

  • Join the National Association of Apartment Locators and you can download our pre-written email template sequence to reach out to properties.
  • Use Salesmate CRM to manage your business relationships and track communication. Salesmate is a low cost, high functioning CRM to keep your business on track and see when managers view and click your emails. Create notes and reminders of each phone call to leasing staff or new clients to create a paper trail to make collecting your invoices easier.

Coming Soon…

  • Locator IDX and the National Association of Apartment Locators is working together to create an invitation for apartment communities to post their commission in the database. It explains how easy it is for them to post their commission for free and the marketing benefits they receive from our locators by posting the commission. The Property Relations committee of NAAL will be emailing this out on behalf of our locators to increase our crowdsourcing campaign.
  • PS: We strongly oppose sending mass emails to apartment communities for any reason. Even with the best intentions, email servers can detect spam and automated emails and blacklist our email servers. Even if the email is delivered to the inbox, leasing staff will unsubscribe from auto-emails or report us for spam. Email best practices dictates a person to person email and response rates are much higher when sent from your business email address. Mass email may seem like a fast solution to obtain commission rates, but in our 15+ years of experience in the industry, the response to mass email is less than 2%. Mass emails are not the answer.
  • If you join NAAL and want to serve on the Property Relations Committee to help with our campaign, we would love to have you.

 

 

Locator IDX is an apartment database you can make your own. Enter commission rates, obtain management company contact information, search inventory, create custom apartment lists and share them with your clients. Salesmate is a business CRM so you never forget to follow up or leave money on the table. Use them together to create powerful automation and follow up systems. Fortunes are made in the follow up.