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What Do Renters Want from a Website? And Does Your Property Manager Have it?

Web Admin - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When renters start searching for their next home

Over 70 percent begin their search online according to the National Multi Housing Counsel (NMHC). We have seen a dramatic shift in the last 4 years from newspaper searches to online searching. Many experts have credited this to the accessibility of the internet increasing with smart phones, tablets, and wireless access points. The days of throwing an ad in the paper and putting a sign in the yard to rent a property are gone.

Renters are demanding more from the sites they visit.

You can see in the graphic from RentJuice, the most wanted website feature is an available date. If renters can't tell when a property is available to rent then the information regarding that property is useless to them. It is surprising to see that 30 percent of the property management websites in the study did not have availability dates on their sites. It is even more surprising that 21 percent did not have pictures. With video tours becoming more and more popular, pictures seem to be the bare minimum a property manager should be providing.

What About Video Tours?

One missing category from the study is video tours of specific properties. Video tours can accomplish three of the top four items renters want in a website.  As you can see on our site, or our Youtube channel, many properties feature video tours. This gives renters a look at the floor plan by walking them through the property. Renters searching our properties are able to do an informative walk-through while sitting at their computer. This is very helpful to renters who are moving to a new area. Renters get a good idea of the square footage through a well done video tour. And when given the choice between pictures or video, renters will choose video. One new tenant recently told us, "We were able to narrow our search down using your video tours. It was great!" We have been getting great feedback from renters who were able to take a tour of a property before it was even available. Now current tenants who are planning to move out are not bothered with showings, and turnover time is reduced with people waiting to rent as soon as the property is available.