How Are Renters Finding Their Next Home?

real estate, tips for real estate agents  /   /  By Nick Kljaic

In the past, a vast majority of potential renters would open a local newspaper or hope to observe a for-rent sign in a window to find their next home. After plenty of phone calls and appointment for tours, a rental would finally be located.

Today, renters can simply open their browser and access dedicated apartment search engines. Several different sites offer renters the ability to find their next home, from Apartments.com to Craigslist. Each of these connects with different slices of housing options, from the big complexes to the individual landlord.

When a potential renter begins their search, various sites offer multiple filters to narrow down to choices that fit them best. Such searches include price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, even location. Other sites are geared toward a specific demographic, such as students or seniors. For many, the filters of their favorite apartment website also offers the ability to narrow their search by amenities.

As the various marketing strategies can attest, it is important to remember that renters are more technologically advanced than they were just 10 years ago. Now, regardless of the generation, most are comfortable looking for a rental home via the Internet and a variety of search engines geared toward that purpose. Still no matter what a site offers in terms of searching capability, it is another online information source that can play a larger part in the decision making process of a potential renter.

The reason so many review sites have become popular is because individuals prefer to both voice their opinion, but also to read others’ opinions as well. For renters, a potential home can be discarded because of too many reviews focused on bad maintenance experiences or other poor experiences of current and former renters. Multiple renter surveys have continued to point out how much weight they give the reviews of strangers. Thus a landlord cannot afford to just ignore reviews of their property. But how can they be handled so that a complex does not build a negative online reputation?

For a landlord, the reality is that bad reviews happen. So it is important to combat them in several ways. The first is to acknowledge the renter’s poor experience. Then try to take the discussion offline. Work to rectify their complaint or to find a satisfactory solution. While not every review can be turned into a positive one, your online reputation will improve due to your willingness to accommodate your tenants, both current and future ones.

Rental search engines are combining filters with the reviews, turning their sites into all in one options for potential renters

One such site is Apartments.com, which gives potential renters the ability to sort by the best reviews, location and even the length of commute. Many of these functions are also part of their app, which is available for smartphones and tablets. Thus a potential renter can start their search immediately, no matter what their location.

Apartment hunters today are starting their searches online, gathering information about more than just location and amenities. Landlords would be wise to spend their time maintaining not only their listings, but their online reputations as well.

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