Nov 9, 2021
3 minute read
Understanding renters’ motivations at each stage of the apartment search is critical in creating a property marketing strategy in a way that drives action. But there are subtleties in the apartment search process that renters don’t often communicate with leasing teams.
To help you refine your strategy, we’re sharing the renter’s perspective.
I’m a Demand Generation Specialist on the RentPath team, and also recently started a search for a new apartment. From a renter/marketer’s perspective, there are two factors that multifamily communities should consider in renter acquisition strategies—time and attention.
It’s crucial to ensure that your property is saving prospects time and dedicating attention to their specific needs. Overall, the winning property made the decision process effortless.
Directly from a renter, here’s how properties can better serve prospects in their journey to signing a lease.
Early on in the search process, your property is competing for a renter’s time. Between searching for listings, communicating with leasing agents and touring, my calendar was filled. The best apartment communities were effective in painting a full picture in the listings and property websites. They also provided images, videos, price points and policy details so I could confidently take the next step in scheduling a tour.
Properties that knocked it out of the park had bright photos and videos, detailed descriptions, and high ratings. With these, I was ready to schedule a tour in minutes.
For listings that lacked information, had only exterior photos, or photos that were unclear, I either marked them off of the search or saved them for later when I had more time to research.
Internet listing sites like Apartment Guide and Rent.com were the easiest place to start my search because I could get a broad view of what was available in my desired area and price range. As a seasoned searcher, I already had a wish list in mind for what I wanted in an apartment.
I relied on the ILS advanced search tools to select all of the items in my wish list and filter through available units. I scheduled directly on the listing site if possible, which saved me time in having to jump between property websites and ILS. It also allowed me to see all of the properties I requested tours with in one area.
For properties crafting listings, it’s important to realize that the details you include can make or break whether you show up in a renter’s search on ILS. Be generous with providing information. Ensure that your apartment listings include all available attributes, both in the features section and in the description. When it comes to pet policies, parking, or other items that impact daily life, “Contacting management for details” may be the last resort for searchers who have found other communities that provide more information upfront.
After my initial search, there were about fifteen units that made it to the favorites list. However, that number quickly plummeted once I was ready to communicate with properties and schedule a tour. The first follow-up your property sends after a renter submits the lead is critical in keeping them interested.
Properties that fell short either didn’t follow up or had complicated tour-scheduling processes. In some cases, I would receive email autoresponders inviting me to schedule a tour. However, in visiting the scheduling platform, I would find that tours were not available. This kept me from researching additional units at these communities as I focused on properties that simplified the process.
The best properties made tour scheduling easy. One amazing property followed up to my lead form submission with an email inviting me to view a virtual tour of the unit right away. With a link to the pre-recorded video, I could tour the apartment immediately without having to schedule anything. Other properties teams had less automated processes but made meaningful connections by being flexible with scheduling, asking thoughtful questions and offering great service.
I was happy to hear directly from leasing agents, which made the process more personal. I could ask questions, discuss move-in dates, schedule tours and apply with one point of contact. In some cases, the unit was off-market by the time I inquired, but the leasing agent offered comparable options that were available during the dates I needed to move in. Small gestures like these to assist in my search made a huge difference. It also gave me an understanding of the service and communication I could expect as a long-term resident.
While it was important to connect with the leasing team, virtual tools like video tours and online applications guided me through the decision process much more efficiently than purely in-person. Live virtual tours eliminated scheduling challenges and I could usually be available to see the property within a matter of hours. For in-person tours, I often had to schedule days in advance to find times that worked so it was helpful when weekends or weeknights were available.
Digital offerings were especially critical for the final application process. I live in a hot market where renter competition is steep. Due to this, I was often ready to apply after virtually touring my favorite units so I would have a better shot at receiving an offer. The best leasing agents provided resources to apply early in my touring journey. They also had the applicant screening software in place to make this process easy.
Properties that excelled at keeping my attention throughout the apartment search struck a balance between maintaining a strong digital presence and communicating seamlessly. The apartment itself and location were big factors in the final decision. Yet, efficiency and follow-through showed me that I could trust the apartment community to provide a positive ongoing experience once I became a resident.
With RentPath’s highly-targeted multifamily digital marketing solutions, your property can get more signed leases for your efforts.
Rachel Richardson is a Demand Generation Specialist with a mission to bring RentPath’s social media, marketing and communication efforts to life. She holds an MS in Brand Communications from the University of Colorado – Denver. In her free time, you can find her painting, boxing, baking, and hanging out with her calico cat, Aiva.