If you are looking for a change of pace from the many restaurant and retail store assignments that flood the job boards at most mystery shopping providers’ websites, shake things up a bit and try to house or apartment mystery shopping assignment. This type of assignment involves visiting a real estate or apartment community rental office and posing as a new customer. If you enjoy looking at new homes and apartments, this can be a very lucrative and enjoyable type of assignment for you.
What’s Involved? Usually, but not always, the assignment will require that you “shop” a certain employee, and that you call the office ahead of time to schedule an appointment. Many of the mystery shoppers who have completed this type of assignment state that this is the part of the assignment that gives them the most difficulty. Often these employees are hit numerous times by mystery shoppers, and by you calling ahead to schedule an appointment with a specific person, you may be pegged as a mystery shopper before you set foot in the door.
One way to get around this common issue is by simply saying that your spouse or roommate was in there a few days ago and was already being helped by someone, and that he or she wanted to continue to work with that person. When you say the name of the salesperson, don’t simply blurt out the name, but perhaps say something close to it. For instance, if the name of the person is Ryan Jackson, you can say, “I think the person he was working with is Brian Johnson maybe….” Then you will play the name game, and you can guide the conversation by saying, “Maybe Ryan. Do you have a Ryan? Sorry, I should have written the name down.” You can even go so far as to hang up the phone to verify the name with your spouse or roommate, and then call back.
Sometimes the person you need to “shop” is not available when you visit the real estate or rental office. Know how to handle this before you go by asking your schedule how to handle this issue if it arises, as this is a common event with this type of assignment.
The Pay. The payment on this type of assignment is above average, as there are several additional steps you may need to take to complete it. In addition to calling ahead for the appointment, you often will be screened financially by the salesperson to ensure you are a match for the property. Some “Section 8” apartments require that you earn under a certain amount to qualify, while other homes may require that you either earn a certain amount or have a large enough down payment to qualify for purchase. Do your homework beforehand and make sure you know what amount of income you need to say you earn when asked.
But this additional homework for the assignment is often well-compensated. An assignment for a house or apartment community pays in the ballpark of $30-50, depending on the requirements and your part of the country.
While this type of assignment can be tricky, it can also be well worth your time and efforts. Your first assignment or two make take some additional time to complete as you strategize and determine your required income level. However, with persistence at this type of assignment, you will soon find that it is an easy and lucrative way to earn extra cash.