Secret apartment shopping

The more mystery shopping you do, the more you'll realize how vast the opportunities are.

The more mystery shopping you do, the more you'll realize how vast the opportunities are. If a company exists, there's likely to be room for mystery shopping. One less-traveled path is that of the apartment complex mystery shop. Before you delve into this arena, you should know that logistics are trickier and reports more detailed than most other assignments. But it's well worth the effort to go incognito at the leasing office, said the Mystery Shop Maven. These assignments tend to pay more than others. Here are the ins and outs of checking out apartment management companies:

Your biggest hurdle
It's highly likely your job provider will require you to ask for a specific person in the leasing office. Requesting someone by name can potentially tip off the leasing office, unless you're prepared to clarify your reasons. If you're lucky, this person will answer the phone when you call to set up your appointment. But don't expect that to be the case. Even if you clearly state your wish to work with Nancy, the person on the other end of the phone will probably be another salesperson, inclined to try to show you the apartment themselves. They'll definitely ask why your prefer Nancy, and if you tell them your friend so-and-so recommended her, they'll ask who so-and-so is. That's not a tactic to take, since most leasing offices keep detailed records of their visitors. Keep your answer more generic: a friend of a friend whose name you can't remember will be sufficient.

Be ready to share
Get into character and expect to fill out a rental application, as you might be asked to do so before a rental agent takes the time to show you property. It's certain that you'll be asked for your drivers license, warned the Mystery Shoppers Manual. You need to be comfortable revealing your real name and address. Make sure you know the rents for the apartments you're seeing. If you don't write a qualifying income on the application, the agent is less likely to devote the time you need for a thorough mystery shop.

Know your needs
This is the easy part. As with all other mystery shopping jobs, you'll be in consumer-character. Memorize things like how large an apartment you're looking for, what floor you'd like to be on and whether you'd like a lot of cupboard space in the kitchen. If you're taking on an apartment assignment, you're probably already a pro at this.