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My POV as a Renter: The Dilemma of Looking in an Active Market

As a renter who falls into the category of looking over 6 months out, I can confidently say that it’s the properties that stay in touch with me that end up being the ones I tour at. Here’s my story as a renter and I hope you’ll take the time to read it.

 

Surprising data collected by PERQ shows an interesting and growing trend in renter behavior: 20% of rental prospects are much like me and looking to move 6+ months out from when they begin their search for their next apartment. From the perspective of the leasing agent, that’s a lot of people who might be considered what many call “looky lous”, or casual online shoppers.  But, they are actually high intent shoppers that are qualified leads. These shoppers are more organized with their search process and have a better understanding of what they want and what they don’t want. These renters will be the perfect lead in just a few months. There are several reasons why we are looking now instead of closer to their move-in date. First is increased rental volume. With COVID-19 causing us to spend more time in our homes and living spaces, we felt the shortcomings of the spaces we were living in and a desperate need to start fresh in a new space caused a shift in rental activity. In fact, data collected by USPS shows that 27% of temporary movers moved in the first six months of the pandemic. That’s a lot of rental activity!

 

More active, invested renters sound amazing for properties, but the truth is, it presents challenges. Leasing teams are focused on filling known vacancies as quickly as they can. The time it takes to consistently nurture those longer-term high-intent renters and keep them interested while they are months away from their next lease is a lot for a property to manage. 

 

WHY AM I LOOKING SO FAR OUT?

 

We live in a time where homeownership is far out of reach for many people in my generation. Last year there were over 43 million renter occupied housing units in the US alone. As a renter, I know that there are many other rental prospects looking at the same units I am, and based on my location, I know which months are the busiest for leasing and moving. Looking in advance isn’t because I’m bored and casually looking at apartments. I do it so I can be prepared. When the time comes for me to start talking to a leasing specialist, I want to have some knowledge of what unit and pricing I prefer and can afford.  

 

There’s nothing worse than finding a beautiful unit at a property with a great location and then being ghosted by the property. I know it is simply because I am looking too far in advance, and it’s happened to me too many times.  As a renter, this is frustrating to me because I am simply trying to be prepared for when the time to move comes. COVID showed us all how unpredictable life can be, and securing my next lease as soon as I can is one of my highest priorities. Not hearing back from a property when I inquire or subscribe to their site is frustrating, and also eye opening about the kind of responsiveness I can expect from them as a property manager or landlord

 

From my vantage point, as I look at rental options in advance, I can easily tell which properties put in the work to take care of their future renters year round and which ones only begin to invest more effort once they know they have availability coming up. It’s frustrating having my inbox suddenly become cluttered with follow-up emails that don’t relate to what I am looking for, my timing, or my budget. It just feels like more spam and leaves a bad impression of the property.



FUTURE LEADS NEED YOUR ATTENTION NOW

 

With so many renters looking farther in advance than most property companies realize, it’s becoming best practice for multifamily leasing teams and property management companies to keep their marketing and leasing activity in an “always-on” state, even when they lack vacancies. Doing this increases the connection with renters like me, who want to feel heard and be communicated to with relevance until we’re ready to talk details about a lease. 

 

Those properties I was emailed by who felt like spam? It’s clear to me that the property management team isn’t utilizing tools they have available to do this so much better.  And if they’re slacking before I become a resident when they should be trying to woo me, what will they be after?

 

DemandGen’s most recent white paper reports that companies with lead nurture campaigns average 20% more in sales than the companies that don’t. This is why 20 - 30% of your marketing budget should be invested in lead nurture automation. Rather than having your leasing team catch up with all those leads that might be a few months out, you can focus them on the more immediate renters and leverage technology to nurture the others. This way you can maintain all the activity you need to with high intent leads and not add on to the already busy work days of the leasing team. 

 

If you’re a PMC team member looking to supply a better experience to future renters without adding to the team’s workload, I'll give you my recommendations.

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There are some interesting points here, but they are not reflective of the current rental market in my area. Apartment rentals are in sky-high demand and good renters are beating down the doors of desirable complexes trying to get in. If this is not the case with some multi-family properties, then I think it would be more prudent to try to figure out why than to spend a lot of time and money on customer acquisition. It's a similar situation to restaurants in that restaurants that offer an extremely popular product do not need to take reservations. Same thing for selling single family housing right now There are so many people lined up to buy houses you have to significantly beat the asking price and throw in a bunch of other incentives to be successful. This could all change in the future, but, for now, any home owner or apartment complex that has to work overtime to acquire customers is probably offering an inferior product for the asking price.

  Betty
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Having your point of view is so valuable Ibby especially regarding the reframe from "looky lou" to high intent, qualified lead!

  Lilah Poltz

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