Renters take a multi-step journey to find a new apartment. They typically start by searching broad terms about their ideal location and preferences, move to a search engine or ILS for further research, and then develop a “shortlist” of preferred communities that fit their specific needs. Prospects will then take a closer look at these communities, reading reviews and checking out social media, before reaching out and submitting a lead.
However, many communities make the shortlist only to be disqualified. Here are three reasons why that could happen – and how to avoid them.
“The community didn’t answer my call.”
According to an internal RentPath study, 75% of renters report that at least some of their submitted leads go unanswered. A missed, ignored, or unreturned call or email can leave prospects with a poor first impression right away. Without solid communication at the start, renters wonder, “If this is how they’re treating me as a prospect, how will they treat me as a resident?”
To ensure that all prospects receive personalized attention and follow up, consider taking advantage of a virtual leasing center to respond to phone and email leads. This type of service is most beneficial when it does more than just take messages. Look for one that can field questions and book appointments around the clock.
“The community had bad reviews, and nobody was responding to them.”
Before reaching out to your community, most prospects will read online reviews – and those reviews matter significantly. According to a recent JTurner study, “Among conventional residents, online reviews account for 52% of the total influence of the multiple factors that affect their decision to lease at a property.”
While you can’t prevent negative reviews, you can manage them with thoughtful responses. And be sure to respond to the positive ones as well to further demonstrate your engagement with renters. Radio silence is a fast track to getting crossed off of the shortlist. If keeping up with review responses adds too much to your plate, you may want to consider taking advantage of a third-party service that can handle this task for you.
“The experience I had on the tour was nothing like what they showed me online.”
By the time prospects set up a tour, they have developed expectations based on their online research into your amenities, grounds, and available units – and they will bring those expectations along when they visit. Make sure that their on-site experience aligns with what you have presented online.
RentPath research shows that 93% of prospects need to see an apartment in person before they make a commitment. Although beautiful photos can attract prospects, the overall presentation of your community during the in-person tour is what will keep you on the shortlist and should be a priority for your on-site team. When a community feels welcoming on a personal level, a prospect is more likely to believe that attitude will continue if they become a resident.
The renter’s journey is long, so make sure your community lands on the shortlist – and stays there. Ensuring that calls and emails are answered promptly; managing your online reputation; and creating a positive, welcoming on-site experience will all work to help you convert a prospect to a resident.