April 14, 2016

What’s Up with Renters? Today’s Top Trends in Apartment Searching

How are potential renters finding your available units? Online search? Drive by signage? If they are arriving to your website via online search, how did they get there and what kind of user experience are they looking for?

In a highly competitive rental landscape, these are the questions at the top of multi-residential marketers’ minds.

Recently, J Turner Research released a report on the top emerging trends for the 2016 apartment rental process. It’s based on responses from more than 25,000 residents, living in more than 500 properties throughout the U.S.

Here’s what the study shows:

 

“Trust” is the New Watchword

The most important thing to renters is the building’s reputation. If they’re going to call someplace home, they want to know they’ll be comfortable, safe and happy there. According to the survey, 52% of tenant prospects started their apartment search by looking into ratings and reviews. Those factors were second only to price and location, when considering where to live.

 

Online Still Dominates

Where do prospects find ratings and reviews? One word: Online. For apartment hunting, the Web is still king, with Internet Listing Services (ILS) sitting comfortably on the throne. Drive-by and worth of mouth have taken a back seat to ILS since 2012. So make sure you establish a positive online presence. (According to the study, the top three review sites are Google, Yelp and Apartmentratings.com.)

 

Usability is Key

Speaking of online presence, J Turner Research shows that, when it comes to website expectations, today’s prospects are most interested in finding the basics: price, unit design and location. Your website should be intuitive and informative, offering the content people are looking for, in a user-friendly way. The survey notes that 62% of renters still prefer using their desktops to search for apartments. But don’t discount mobile devices. Among residents, 20% prefer to search on their smartphones, and that number may well climb as mobile grows increasingly popular. Make sure your website works well on all devices—people are looking.

 

Closing in on Higher Closing Ratios

Knowledge is power. Once you understand how renters hunt for apartments, you’ll have the tools you need to ensure that their search leads them right where you want them: In your units, for the long-term.

 

If you’re looking to increase your reach and understand how to leave an even better first impression on prospective residents, we can help. Property Vista offers a full array of marketing solutions, including responsive design websites, ILS update automation, online applications and even help with search engine optimization and marketing. Sign up for your free account today or give us a call.

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Robert Braun

President, Wolverine Property Management

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