As a landlord or property manager, it’s important to learn as much as you can about what drives renters who are searching for a new home. That means getting into their heads, learning their apartment-hunting strategies, anticipating their expectations, and knowing exactly what they’re thinking. This is the essence of developing successful marketing strategies that will keep your vacancies low.
If this sounds like an impossible task, it’s not at all. You just need to tap into data aggregated and broken down into meaningful study reports that provide analytical information developed by industry experts. Reviewing data such as the informative provided in this report from Zillow is a great way to better understand your potential tenant audience so you can focus your marketing efforts on their needs and expectations.
Data reports can provide you with some super-insightful information. Here are some examples:
Average amount of times renters search for new digs
Renters take about 10.4 weeks and talk to four to five property managers or landlords during the search process before making a decision to put down a deposit.
What methods do renters use to search for vacancy listings?
Online searches (85%)
Direct contact with property owner or landlord (63%)
Referrals by friends, relatives, or neighbors (59%)
Contacting property managers or leasing agents (53%)
#1 shouldn’t surprise anyone—online searches are the most commonly used resources for finding available rentals. Four out of five renters (85 percent) turn to online searches to search for vacancies. The second most common method is making direct contact with a property owner or landlord (63 percent). Third in line is referrals by friends, relatives or neighbors (59 percent). More than half (53 percent) also consider property managers or leasing agents to be resources during their search.
Once a renter makes an initial inquiry regarding a vacancy, nearly one in three (41 percent) expect to be contacted by the property manager or landlord within hours, and the majority (71 percent) expect to hear back within 24 hours.
If an interested renter does not hear back from someone within an anticipated timeframe, the most common reaction is to try to contact someone at the property a second time (45 percent). However—and this is a critical point for landlords and property managers trying to fill vacancies—if a renter receives no response within 24 hours, one in five (22 percent) will give up and move on to another rental property.
Ordinarily, renters contact five property managers or landlords, submit three applications, and take three home tours during the span of their search.
Devices used by renters in their home searches
Desktop computers: 74 percent of rental searches are performed on desktop computers
Mobile sites: 59 percent of rental searches are performed on mobile sites
Apps: 43 percent of rental searches are performed using an app
Marketing your rental properties successfully requires publishing your vacancy listings online so they are immediately discoverable to renters conducting online searches. Most rental property websites are search engine optimized and mobile-friendly—if you publish your vacancy listings on your own website it must be mobile-friendly.
Google offers a Mobile-friendly test that makes it easy to check and see you’re your website looks great on mobile phones. Click on the link and enter your website’s URL to see if yours is a mobile-friendly website.
Before renters commit to a lease
When renters assess a property, four out of five of them (82 percent) consider an in-person tour of the unit important. They want to view the space and check out the conditions in order to visualize living there. This is especially important for people with children (86 percent). The majority of renters (82 percent) also want to review lease terms and rules before they commit, and many (64 percent) want to meet the property manager, especially when the rental is a single-family home with a landlord (64 percent).
Online reviews are important!
Renters usually check out a property or complex’s online reviews left by former and sometimes current residents, and these reviews play a pivotal role in their decision-making process. About half (53 percent) of renters consider online reviews of a rental property important, and 48 percent think reviews of the property manager/landlord are important.
Check your website reviews often—every day if you can—to mitigate any negative reviews as quickly as possible. Negative reviews can cost landlords and property managers dearly when it comes to losing high-quality tenants because of them.
Amenities renters value most
Price, property safety/security, and pet policies top the list of important amenities that renters consider during their search.
Deciding to move
People who stay in a rental for a long time (five years or longer) are most likely going to have a hard time deciding to move eventually (56%). Long-term renters who plan to move within the next three to five years plan to search for a new rental (55 percent). 24 percent of renters move every three to five years.
As a landlord or property manager, the more you know about the key behaviors, characteristics, and expectations of the tenants you seek, the more able you’ll be to effectively market to—and engage— high-quality tenants.