When Stephan Illouz of Los Angeles Property Management Group took on the task of leasing a 4500-square-foot house in Santa Monica, the home’s owner still had family members living there. When she told Stephan the price she expected to fetch for rent—$12,500—he detailed some specific repairs she would need to make to the property in order to achieve that number: painting over scratches, repairing floors, and so on. But because her family members still lived there and planned to do so until Stephan found a new tenant, the owner understandably didn’t want to put them out or pay for repairs until he had leased it anew.
This created a tricky situation. The property was two stories, with a long, gated driveway and a pool built to catch sunlight at all hours of the day—a high-end, luxury home. But he would have to show it to prospective tenants as it was: with a couple of unfixed issues, and with people still living in it.
Stephan found himself in a difficult spot. He knew that prospective tenants of a property as upscale as the one he was showing would want to see it perfectly clean and free of blemishes, especially if they were going to pay the rent that the owner sought to collect. And yet despite the tenants’ best efforts to tidy up the place, it looked and felt noticeably lived-in; there was food in the kitchen, an errant sock here and there on the floor, marks left on certain surfaces.
However, Stephan knew he didn’t need to game the system or talk his way around the problem. Instead, he leaned into it.
“My business philosophy is simple honesty,” says Illouz.
He told prospective tenants everything that needed fixing in the home before they even set foot in it. Through explaining exactly what was wrong, he could explain with confidence exactly what his employers at Los Angeles Property Management Group would do to make it right.
“This is because we do everything, from the beginning to the end of the process, we are the ones who cover it and take care of it,” says Illouz. “So I was confident, because I knew where the work would be coming from and how efficiently it would be done. They could trust me because I knew I could trust our company.”
By being entirely honest with prospective tenants and verbally painting a picture for them of exactly what the home would look and feel like by the time they moved in, Stephan effectively eliminated the obstacle of the current tenants and lack of repairs.
After just two showings, he found a highly qualified tenant who was happy to sign the lease and pay the full $12,500 rent.
Stephan’s lightning-fast leasing of the house goes to show that in property management, having your leasing agent backed up by a full-fledged team of experts—who will keep the repair and transition process efficient and entirely in-house—goes a long way.