Can We Guess How My First Year In San Francisco Apartment Leasing Ended Up?
It has been a year since I started leasing apartments in the most expensive market in the world — San Francisco. I have met over 2000 people over the last year just from showing apartments, and I remember 98% of them. I have met people that work at cryptocurrency exchange, Pokemon, and Blind. About 65% of the people are moving from out of state, the most popular transplants coming from New York. Everyone has a cool story, and they are pretty open since I am helping them find an apartment. I’ve personally leased over 125 apartments in almost every neighborhood. The least expensive being a 138 square foot studio for $1,600/month — all the way up to $7,000/month penthouse. Yeah I know — prices are crazy in San Francisco, but so are the salaries! 80% of the people I have leased to are moving here for a new job. $120,000 is about the average salary, and the average age is 29. These people are smart and very excited to be in San Francisco. About 30% of these people are choosing to commute an hour to get to work on the Peninsula (Google, Facebook, and other startups are down there south of San Francisco). It sounds weird to choose to commute, but if you moved from New York, Texas, or even Arizona, it makes sense to live in San Francisco while you can. Most people don’t live here forever. It’s just a stopping point in the time of life to be in a big city for a few years before settling into the suburbs.
Zip Around Town
I have learned and improved on a few things this year. Getting around in San Francisco includes a lot of hills, traffic (since Uber and Lyft came around there are 30% more cars on the road), public transportation, and timing. I don’t use GPS anymore. I know the routes like the back of my hand. The company I work for (RentSFNow) represents over 200 buildings, so getting to these buildings quickly is crucial. That’s why I bought a motor scooter. It’s only 49cc, and was a great deal from my friend, so I can live with the baby blue color. I cut and weave in between cars in traffic. I got a few tickets, but it goes with the job.
Get those Ads Online
Another highly important aspect of my position is posting ads for apartments online. Craigslist, as archaic and basic as it comes, is still the number one way to generate leads in the Bay Area. Posting ads is timely, and so is coordinating times to see an apartment. I signed up for this website called Calendly, which allows people to create time on my calendar to see an apartment. It worked pretty well for a while until I found something better. Now I use Showmojo, which not only allows for online appointments, but also posts the apartments to all the major apartment hunting websites…except Craigslist. Now, I don’t receive as many calls or texts from people asking to see an apartment at strange times. It also emails, and texts a person to remind them of the appointment. Posting ads online takes a lot of time. So I hired my sister for a while to post ads. It saved me a lot of time to do more of the important work. I also had my wife and daughter to post ads. My daughter is 12, and its a good way for her to make money. All that work to just make an appointment to view an apartment. Too many times a person makes an appointment, then completely forgets to show up. Don’t waste my time! Oh Yeah — I created my own website too. www.mikesimpson.co. I also created an Instagram account that just focuses on Iconic San Francisco Buildings.
Sorry I won’t show you an apartment at 7pm — I have a life too.
I have also learned to say no to people that can only come late in the evening. Yes, I know I am losing business, but I have to draw the line when too much time takes away from family time. If you really want to lease an apartment, take a couple hours off of work and see as many apartments as you can! I wrote a long article about it here. Did I mention I live an hour away? I take BART (no not Bart Simpson, the Bay Area Rapid Transit) from Pleasanton which is an hour ride. Speaking of taking public transportation, the subject of the modern commute is something I am really interested in. I am writing this on the BART train now, but most people drive. What do they listen to? What physical affects happens to the body if you drive in traffic 2 hours a day? What do they listen to?
I started a morning routine last year. It was 1 month before getting married to my loving wife. I read a book called “The Miracle Morning,” and this book simply laid out a routine to follow for 30 days. For those of you that have listened to the Tim Ferriss podcast, many of his guests (experts in their field) get up early to meditate, journal, and exercise. So I tried this for 30 days straight, and those 30 days were highly productive. I started meditating using the Headspace app. I wrote my creative ideas down, I read a Bible devotional, and then did a 1 mile run. It took about 45 minutes, and I felt ready for the day. I stopped getting the afternoon drag, and had a sharper mind throughout the day. I have continued the morning routine after that first month, but not every day.
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up
One time I went to show an apartment on Geary Street, and there was a guy sitting bare ass on the stoop smoking meth. Needless to say, the mother and daughter that I was showing the apartment to decided not to take the apartment.
Another time a guy asked if a cookie sheet would fit in the oven. “Yes,” I said, “just get a cookie sheet the size of the oven rack.”
I was showing several apartments to a guy in his 20’s, and we had been out for a couple hours. He asked if he could use the restroom, and I told him to go ahead. After a while he peeks his head out of the bathroom, red faced from embarrassment, and asks for some toilet paper. I had none, so I went down to the coffee shop downstairs, and got some napkins for him to wipe his ass.
Our lease is 42 pages long! That’s a whole other article, but I have had to answer so many weird questions.
Every time I walk by the corner of Turk and Leavenworth, I get asked if I want to buy drugs. Best response is to say nothing and keep walking.
I have seen people injecting needles on the street, defecate on the sidewalk, and yell uncontrollably at people that don’t exist. I have begun to recognize many of the faces on the street.
There was a guy who felt like he was “scammed” because the posting I had online was of a different room. He wrote a nasty letter to my boss. I explained to the guy he used the wrong term. Being scammed means you purchased something and you didn’t get what was paid for, which he did not even put an application in. If anything, it was a bait and switch!
Once, I was showing an apartment in Noe Valley. This apartment had gorgeous views of downtown. It had a sliding glass door, so I opened it so we could see the view from the balcony. The prospects were really impressed. We came back inside, and I started sliding the door shut, but it got stuck, so I pushed harder, and the handle ripped out of the door and I punched my hand into the sharp frame. My knuckles were cut and there was blood coming out. I had to pretend it didn’t hurt, but I wanted to cuss loudly. I kept my cool but I was really pissed off.
Behind the Mic
I really want to get my podcast going. I have a couple of interviews done, and a list of people who I think would make great hosts. The premise of the podcast is the pivotal moments in people’s lives that led them to where they are now. Specifically, I have great appreciation for creativity. I want to know how someone got inspired to create. I want to know the story. So look for that coming in the next year.
I want to create a newsletter that is based on a voice instead of facts. In my mind, I have a few friends that will write about what they know in their field. Money, food, and family are a few areas. But it’s not going to be about how to cook a meal, it will be about the good, bad, and ugly of working in a restaurant kitchen. It will be about extreme saving and investing so that you can retire at age 36 on a teachers salary like my friend Steve. It will be about opinions on why people need to walk on the right side of the sidewalk. Anyways, months have gone by and I need to get this started. I have been delaying getting my application into the Agent Marketing Syndicate.
A Simple Book
Have you seen or read “Images of America” historical books? There are books on almost every U.S. city. Anyways, I thought it would be cool to make a simple book of all of the buildings that Veritas Investments (the company I lease for) has. Each page would have a before and after picture, the year built, the architect, and maybe an interesting fact about the building.
Residential Real Estate
For now, I am going to remain leasing apartments in San Francisco. I will work on my newsletter and podcast this year. I have also entered into residential real estate in Pleasanton.
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