Anyone in the student rental market knows it’s a whole different game from the multifamily market. There are high turnover periods – often when 95% of your student renters can move in over the one-week period before the semester begins. Often, there are several people on the lease, and rent has to be collected from each person. However, despite its unique operational differences, student housing can be a lucrative source of revenue. But you do have to know how to set yourself apart!
Here are five tips to attract and keep student renters.
1. Be Descriptive
Surveys have shown that the vast majority of students rank the Internet as the most important means of finding a place to live. With all that online searching, your online ads need to stand out. Zero in on the things that matter to students: Is heat or cable included? How close is it to the campus? Is there a bus or subways stop nearby or a bicycle path? And, don’t forget proximity to. Include numerous photos, as students will skip over ads without pictures of the available unit. Be sure to automate your online marketing with real-time feeds and bulk updates.
2. Be Fast
If students have to wait until your office opens to apply for a vacancy, you’ve lost that lead. Today’s students expect to do everything online, 24/7, and that includes submitting an rental application. Use a web-based automated web form that allows you to capture all information including guarantor information, which can often be needed as students have no previous credit history.
3. Be the Home Away From Home
For most students, it’s their first time living away from Mom and Dad. Convenient options that make their lives easier are highly attractive to students. This may include internet/cable deals, locker space for bikes, cleaning services or meal plans. By simply adding these fields to your application you can generate an excellent source of auxiliary income for you.
4. Be Digital
Kids don’t want to be bothered writing out cheques. They want convenient online payments, so that rent can be automatically deducted from their bank account. (Some parents prefer to have the rent payment charged to their credit card as a method of preventing their son or daughter from using the rent money for other extracurricular activities that may involve the campus pub.) If you are renting a large house, multi-bedroom apartment or multiple dorm-style rooms, automating the payment process will save hundreds of hours of chasing rent and reduce the risk of bounced cheques.
5. Be Accessible
Young adults use their phones for everything from texting to looking up stuff on the Web – although oddly, less for phoning. This Gen-Z demographic wants to be able to receive rent reminders by SMS text, or take a photo of their broken sink and be able to submit a maintenance request online.
The Final Word
The student rental market is a fast-paced environment, where manual processes just won’t work. And, quite frankly, won’t appeal to or attract your Gen-Z renter. They don’t want to have to visit your office, fill out paper forms, or even pick up the phone. And fax information or a signed form to you? That technology is in the Jurassic era.
To beat out the competition, take advantage of Property Vista’s modern web-based suite of products that offer online applications, communication portals and real-time reporting tools. To learn more about how to use cloud-based technology to effectively market your properties and close on leads, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.