In a recent survey completed by Rentbits dot com of 1000 people were who were in the process of finding a rental home, people were asked a series of questions about their process of finding an apartment or house. The results will surprise you.
Apartment vs. House
One of the first surprises was that 83% of people were looking for houses versus apartments. It would seem that people's interests has migrated away from small apartments towards houses. This change should have some major impact on apartment builders who have been increasing the number of new apartment buildings in 2008. For investors, it should highlight the need for investing in houses versus duplexes, triplexes or small apartment buildings for long term value.
Another surprise was the large impact of the internet on how people look for rental housing, with 72% of people saying they start their search on the internet. Over 93% of people visit at least 2 different rental sites during their rental search. Landlords need to understand this trend and start to use the internet to advertise your open rentals. There are free sites such as craigslist and many paid sites that offer great exposure. Pick a few sites and sign up for accounts and get your advertising onto the internet.
This is exactly what we have seen in our business as older methods of advertising, such as newspaper and locator companies, have become less effective in recent years.
We have moved heavily to the internet for advertising to be out in front of this trend.
In these Internet searches, people are using search terms that are between 3 to 6 words with "location" and "price" as the primary key words. It is important that people understand the importance of key words in your ads including the city, the zip code, the area code and neighborhood names such as "South Philly". Be sure to use shorter versions of city names such as "Philly" for Philadelphia. Anything that people might type should be in your ad to be sure to capture as many people as possible with your ads.
After the two most important elements of an advertisement including price and location are a number of additional elements such as pictures, lease terms, deposit amounts, pet friendly and appliance that are important to people. People are looking to "rule out" certain properties if they do not fit their needs. These additional elements allow them to rule out certain houses without having to waste their time or your time visiting properties they will never rent.
We have recently started filming videos of our rental properties, producing a "Virtual Tour". This tour allows prospective tenants to see a 2 to 4 minute video of the entire property, allowing them to make a decision about renting the property, whether positive or negative, without actually having to visit it. Obviously, this is a huge time saver for both potential tenants and we are finding that everyone gains from the benefits.
Another surprise was that 82% of respondents were female. Conventional wisdom says that 80% of home buying decisions are done by women. Landlords need to cater to women and make sure your kitchens and bathrooms are the highlights of your property to ensure a quick rental process.
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About the Author:
Mike Lautensack is a full-time real estate entrepreneur, coach and mentor in Philadelphia, PA and creator of the Private Lending Presentation Kit. This powerful done-for-you kit is loaded with tools and techniques to attract and develop a consistent stream of private investors into your real estate business. To learn more about this kit and receive your FREE eBook go to Real Estate Investing Blog.