Mystery shops for apartment complexes and model homes have their own unique challenges. Often you are asked very specific questions by your salesperson up-front as they try to determine if you are a qualified customer for them to spend their time with. On your end, you likely will be required to ask for a specific salesperson to complete your shop on, which inevitably looks suspicious unless you have a good excuse on hand for why you are requesting that salesperson. With the lengthy reports these mystery shops require you to complete, you may question whether all this hassle is worth the effort. If you are prepared with the right answers up-front, these shops can be just as easy as other mystery shops.
He’s My One And Only. When you call ahead to a model home or apartment mystery shop to make an appointment a specific salesperson, the person answering the phone is likely very curious as to why you are requesting him or her. Likely, they are also salespeople who wanted to gain some new business for themselves. They may question you in an effort to determine if they can help you instead of the person you are requesting. On the other hand, model homes and apartment complexes often have low turnover in their sales staff and if they have been the target of a mystery shop previously, they may be on the lookout for the likes of mystery shoppers like you.
So have a good reason ready for why you are requesting that specific person before you make the phone call to schedule the appointment. Keep in mind that this top of business inevitably gets names and numbers of all of their customers and likely sees much lower customer volume than a retail store or restaurant. So if you say, “My friend Jim suggested I talk to that salesperson,” be prepared for the next question asking what Jim’s last name is. It will be far better to say someone at a party or a friend of a friend suggested them, and don’t you know that you just happen to be terrible with names. “The only name that pops into my head is John (or some other common name), but I just don’t know if that’s correct and never got his last name. Is this a problem?” With a statement like this, you give them a reason why you don’t have a name, and you answer the issue of them not recalling that particular person coming into their office. With the question at the end of the statement, you also move them off the referral issue because you get them into the line of thinking that it’s not that big of an issue that you don’t have a specific name.
Are You Qualified? A salesperson does not want to spend his or her time showing you apartments or driving you around to open houses if you are not qualified to purchase them. A skilled salesperson will be very good at asking you veiled questions to dig into your personal financial situation. It may seem as though they are getting to know you, asking what you do for a living and where you work. Or it may seem as though they want to help you determine how large of a home you need by asking how many children or other relatives will be in the home or apartment with you. Some people, especially if you are in a lower income apartment complex that works with Section 8 (government subsidized) housing, may directly ask you how much money you earn annually.
Do some research before you even make the call to schedule the appointment. Check out the apartment complex or the model homes online to determine the price range and if they are suited for low-income housing. Then prepare yourself to give appropriate answers that will show you are a qualified customer for those apartments or houses.
Is It Worth It? You can see that mystery shops for apartments or model homes require more up-front preparation. Unfortunately, once you get to your scheduled appointment to complete the mystery shop, the actual mystery shop may take longer than other types of mystery shops as you are driven around to tour different homes or apartments, review floorplans, and so on. The news doesn’t get any better with the reporting either. The reports for this type of mystery shop tend to be rather lengthy, with much more narrative writing required.
The good news, however, is that the pay for many of these mystery shops is considerably higher, often in the range of $30-40. You may also be able to get additional bonus pay as well. Consider an estimated two hours of work for $40 of pay. Most mystery shoppers would consider $20 per hour a fairly decent pay rate. So don’t shy away from these types of mystery shops when you see that additional work is required to complete them, because in most case you will be compensated for your additional effort.
- pay is good, although may take awhile longer to complete, large bonuses, $20-40 or more, but lengthy reporting
- section 8 requirements – low income housing, they try to qualify you right off the bat, dress appropriately