As digital searches increase and consumers become decidedly more connected to the Internet, finding ways to improve your rental website is more important than ever.
The Housing Search Begins Offline, but Quickly Moves Online
“For Rent” yard signs and external marketing are still great ways to get your inventory noticed and your brand out there, but they don’t result in immediate calls anymore. Renters want to see pictures of the inside of your properties, details on the amenities, and to assess your quality as a landlord. The first thing they’re going to do after taking notice is jump on the Internet.
You probably know this already: you don’t need a comprehensive, nationwide rental housing study to tell you that most tenants consider the Internet an extremely important part of the rental process (but here’s one anyway).
You’ll rarely find a prospective tenant that hasn’t visited your website or found you on one of the many listing sites like Rent.com and Zillow, so finding ways to improve your rental website is extremely important.
Additional Reading: Effective Marketing: 4 Ways to Improve Your Rental Advertising
91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews on Google or industry specific sites, particularly before making a purchase. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Your renters will almost certainly see reviews of your business before they speak with you and it will likely make a major impact on their decision to rent or not. It’s important there are a number of positive reviews available.
Of course, positive reviews all start with positive management, so you need to get your house in order first. A great way to improve the quality of your management and provide added convenience for your tenants is (shameless plug) property management software. If you’re not using any yet, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us at Innago. We’re here to help.
But great management isn’t enough. Many of your best tenants never feel compelled to leave a review. In fact, bad experiences are more likely to inspire a resident to write about you than good experiences. So how do you bridge that gap?
Be active; ask your tenants directly. Be sincere and appreciative: “Hey tenant, if you like renting from us, we’d love for you to give us a review on Google. It’s a really big help.” Some won’t bother, but many will! And if someone leaves you a bad review, don’t be afraid to respond to it. They’ll welcome the dialogue and possibly even change their stance. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to set yourself apart with impressive reviews.
Additional Reading: Easy Ways to Add Personality to Your Property Listings
Simple but Professional
Your website is likely the renter’s first direct interaction with you. If it’s sloppy, outdated, or unprofessional, that’s the exact impression the tenant will have of you as a landlord. So it’s crucial to modernize your site (and if you don’t have one yet, you need to get one). It should be clean and easy to navigate.
Listings should have bright, polished pictures that make the rental look great. Lived-in pictures with cluttered rooms and dusty appliances is an immediate turn-off. It doesn’t cost much to hire a decent photographer with a nice camera. In fact, reach out to a local university and find a photography student; they’ll do it for even less.
And when it comes to site features, don’t overdo it! Your development budget doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, virtual tours, video integrations, and fancy widgets often distract from what the tenants really want to know: the basics. According to Multifamily Housing News, renters are still most interested in price, floor plans, and pictures. So keep it simple but intuitive and include the most important information.
With positive reviews and a little time and attention, you’ll be able to improve your rental website dramatically. Soon, you’ll attract more renters and end up with better tenants than every before.
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