There are so many details to take note of when listing a property online! It is key to remember that most listing pages are overloaded with properties, therefore it’s important to make sure your listings stand out from all the others. Imagine you could get a unit rented that much faster because you changed one or two things to set you apart. A few facts about what renters want:
- Renting is the new buying and for most Americans, they’re looking for flexibility and amenities.
- Many Americans are jumping quickly when they find a space they want to rent. It’s important that your online presence is up to date and informative for renters.
- Renters are looking for online applications; in fact, it may soon become common practice that listing sites include search filters so renters can search for properties accepting online applications.
- In today’s renting world, most applicants say they would prefer online application over any other method. Most people are not comfortable sending their information via .pdf or e-mail. An online option makes many renters feel more comfortable.
Now, how exactly do you optimize your listings? Here are some best practices to follow so you can have an outstanding property listing every time and fill your vacancies faster.
10 Ways to Optimize Your Property Listings
#1: Photography combines both quantity and quality. Be sure to include at least 10 photos and make sure the photos show a good representation of the property interior and exterior. Renters agree they will not consider a property without photos and listings without any images can get de-prioritized. Images should be professional looking images; hire a photographer or use your own camera as long as the pictures are high enough quality.
#2: The description of your property needs to include things that are not known by your photos. People will skip listings that do not have descriptions. Avoid things like all caps, poor grammar, and spelling mistakes that could hurt your credibility.
#3: Amenities are incredibly important to renters. If renters like your photos, the amenities are what will sell them on your property. It’s the icing on the cake!
#4: Be sure to advertise your availability date and at least 45-60 days out. This crucial piece of information gives you a greater pool of applicants to choose from. You’ll spend less time answering the questions about availability that are sure to come in if this info is missing.
#5: The most asked question from renters is ‘do you allow pets?’ Make your rental space pet policy clearly known upfront. 65% of households have pets and 42% have more than one pet (Source: 2015 All Property Management Research Report).
#6: Online applications are simple and easy to use. Most renters want to use online applications for multiple reasons including ease of use and mobility. No one has time for a lengthy rental process anymore.
#7: A defined process that is easy to follow and in place ahead of time will help you move quickly through your applicants.
#8: Communicate with your applicants in the best way for them to reach you. Don’t forget to keep up with modern advances in communication software such as text messaging.
#9: Make sure the websites you list on are the best they can possibly be for advertising your rental listings. (See the top 5 places to list your properties in 2016)
#10: Social media can be a powerful tool to get your listing noticed. However, don’t overload things like Facebook or Twitter with too many posts.
Your ultimate goal is to find quality renters, the right renters for your properties, and fill your vacancies quickly and efficiently. By incorporating some of these tips, it’ll be easier for both your renters and you as the property manager to move people in fast.
We held a webinar with Greg Fischer from Move, Inc. (operator of doorsteps.com and realtor.com) where he discusses these 10 key practices in more depth. Greg uses his own experiences to show why certain practices work and others don’t when renting a space online. He walks you through each step with a detailed explanation that will help you not only better understand but also how to implement these 10 steps.
View the Slides:
Watch the Recording:
During the webinar, there were a ton of great questions posed. As promised, here are all the answers from Greg Fischer:
1. We manage a lot of properties that are BRAND NEW, so they are empty and perfect and beautiful when they are completed. How important do you really believe staging is?
Staging is important, but in regards to rentals, I am really referring to occupied houses. And staging could simply mean that you go around the house making it look presentable vs. hiring a professional (though it wouldn’t hurt if it’s in your budget). I think vacant rental homes are perfectly ok to market (less so when for sale).
2. When you say include at least 10 pictures, are you talking about multiple angles for some rooms like kitchen or living room?
Ten photos is a guideline. A professional real estate photographer I know took 25 photos of a vacant lot so I think it can definitely be done for an entire home!
3. When do you communicate the expectations of the process? And how is the best way to communicate that process; email, text, other?
Anytime is a good time. But upon first contact is the most important if you didn’t explain it in your advertisement. Email, text or phone are all great ways to do this.
4. What advice would you give for listing senior communities? One of our properties is an over 55 community, and we don’t offer an online application or communicate via mobile, etc. We feel like marketing to that particular demographic is a little different. Any recommendations?
This is a great article: http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/. Move has a site called Seniorhousingnet.com that is popular and I would also recommend checking out a site called A Place For Mom. Your sense is probably right, if you feel that your target demographic is more likely to communicate through other means then it makes sense to do it that way.
5. What are the software programs where we can use a different phone number to text/call tenants and prospective tenants?
Better Voice, Google Voice, Twilio all have solutions for the phone solutions I mentioned.
6. Is doorsteps.com available in Chicago?
Yes, Doorsteps.com is available nationwide and is continuing to build local experiences in specific areas as the year goes on.
7. Will MLS list Commercial Rentals?
It depends on your MLS. Check locally.
8. For listings, what do you think about a bunch of bullet points describing the properties as opposed to well written paragraphs?
Bullet points are ok too. The most important thing is to highlight important features, items that aren’t clear through the photographs and giving insight into your process and communications expectations.
9. How would results differ for searches on doorsteps.com and realtor.com since doorsteps.com is powered by realtor.com?
What I was referring to here is that the websites appeal to different demographics in different ways. Doorsteps has seen amazing performance in urban markets with a younger demographic and realtor.com does really well in suburban single family home markets.
With AppFolio you can post your listing to hundreds of sites with a click of a button. To learn more, visit www.appfolio.com.