In a survey done by ForRent.com, 28 percent of respondents used mobile sites or apps during their apartment search. An even greater number of millennial renters wanted an online medium to connect and communicate with their landlords.
Those numbers will continue to rise so be prepared!
Online communication skills are essential for landlords hoping to reach this generation of millennial renters. Gone are the days when print advertising would suffice as the sole source of marketing. Gone are the days when phone calls and paper checks were the norm.
Renters are using mobile devices to search, pay and maintain their apartments which makes having an online presence essential for landlords. Here are some tips to get started:
Social Media Presence
Many landlords think having a social media presence means simply having accounts on Facebook and Twitter. However, the key is to be pro-active on these sites.
Create a Facebook page for your property and fill it with the significant photos and details. Just as importantly, actively engage anyone that comments, likes, or shares any of your pictures, listings, and wall posts. Since millennial renters tend to want responses to their questions as soon as possible, set automatic alerts that go directly to your cell phone so that you are alerted immediately when someone posts a question or comment on your Facebook page. If possible, try to respond within an hour.
Millennial renters are extremely active on Twitter and Instagram. These are good places to start conversations with renters to see what they might be interested other than the standard rent amount and lease information. Maybe they want to know what utilities are covered in their rent, or whether the heating is oil, gas or electric. They might be curious about the sublet policy or whether pets are allowed. Perhaps they want a better sense of what the neighborhood is like i.e. what are the good restaurants? what are the neighbors like? Whatever the case may be, there will always be questions. Having a “forum” where these questions and answers are stored will save you a lot of time.
Let’s not forget about the good, ol’ and reliable – emailing. You may think with all of these mobile apps rising in popularity, that millennials no longer send and read emails. This is not true. A recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review showed that millennials check email more than any other age group. This study found that 88% of millennials regularly use a smartphone to check email. The key is to keep the email short and to the point. Less is more.
Post a short video on YouTube and Facebook to give a tour of your rental unit. Show the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. Of course make sure everything is neat and tidy. This not only makes your unit more attractive to viewers but it also sets expectations of how you want your renter to treat your property. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in the video too and show off your personality to give renters an indication of the type of landlord they will be renting from. Keep the video short – 30 to 60 seconds at most.
Online Rent Payments
Provide your renters and applicants with a way to pay security deposits and rent online. It is a lot easier to close a deal when you can accept a deposit online immediately. Plus, some millennial renters don’t even own checkbooks, envelopes, or stamps!
A little effort goes a long way – as in – MORE MONEY!
Building an online presence for your property is becoming more and more of a necessity in this digital world. In order to engage the most diverse group of applicants possible, you need to use all the tools at your disposal. However, this is not a zero-sum game. There are plenty of tenants who are willing to pay a premium for ease of communication and payment. Creating your online presence offers the quickest and most efficient way to capture that group!
If building your online presence seems like a part-time job, it is because it does take some time to set up if you are doing everything yourself. Properly exists to help facilitate this setup. We help you set up online communication, automatic notifications, and payment functionality for you, your tenants, and your applicants. With Properly, these services including collecting and paying rent online are completely free for both landlords and renters.
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