Today’s Online Renters: What You Need to Know

Author: Lauren Ross

Young Couple At Home

The way consumers are shopping for their next apartment home is forever changing. A desktop-only website just won’t make the cut anymore – not with a large (and growing!) number of prospects using mobile devices for their apartment search.

A study by SatisFacts Research suggests multifamily professionals consider renters’ online habits – or miss out on a huge customer base. The 2015 “Today’s Online Renter” study revisits the behaviors and attitudes of apartment hunters and explores the factors of their rental decisions. The original study took place in 2011.

A responsive website design should be first priority. By providing a custom website that is compatible on multiple devices, you’re making your community more accessible to prospects. According to SatisFacts, 60.1 percent of surveyors have used a mobile device to look for an apartment – a 33.8 percent gain from 2011.

Renters want to see floor plans, photos, rent pricing, promotions, location, and features/amenities on their smartphones and tablets, too. FinderSites can make that happen. Our beautifully- and custom- designed websites are compatible on all mobile devices, making it more convenient for today’s renters to check out your apartment community.

We have all heard this quote: “An unhappy customer will tell 10 others about the bad experience (or service) he or she had received.” In the apartment housing industry, residents are talking to each other online about their experience with a community – and prospects are listening.

Online apartment reviews and review sites are now a Top-5 information source for apartment shoppers. Reputational management tools can help property managers and staff quickly respond to negative reviews and build SEO. The survey found that 51.7 percent of consumers felt a response from staff conveyed better customer service than those who went unresponsive.

Social media marketing has lingered since 2011. Only a small portion of prospects have reported using social media to search for an apartment. About 20 percent of renters follow communities on Facebook.  Despite the low percentage, residents that do “like” apartment pages do so to stay updated on community news and activities – so continue to share those blogs, DIY tutorials, and neighborhood newsletters!

The takeaways from this study are simple: transparency, basic desires of renters, and the convenience of digital apartment hunting. The transparency of unfiltered reviews by former and current residents gives prospects a real perspective of life at the community, which can sway their rental decision.

This article contains survey results and highlights from SatisFacts Research’s 2015 “Today’s Online Renter” study, found on Units Magazine “The Times They Are A-Changin'” report.