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3 top search habits renters are using to find properties

Larry Arth's real estate investor adviceMany people changed their buying and spending habits during the recent recession.

It is imperative to understand how these habits have changed, in order to run an effective real estate investment business, especially when you are providing housing.

First, understand your target market’s rental preferences in order to connect with them. As a real estate investor, I do research on the best markets. It is only prudent to give the same attention to detail when identifying who my target market is when it comes to finding quality tenants. I am always researching to see what the latest trends are.

What do these people that make up my target market look like and how do I connect with them?

Some important demographic trends to know in my opinion

Renters often use mobile to search for new properties to rent

  • The Millennial generation:  They tend to be moving away from smaller communities into larger populated markets of 500,000 population and higher. They also tend to be moving into more expensive property. This demographic, roughly those born from the 1980 to the late ‘90s, have more jobs available with many years of growth potential ahead of them. They tend to not worry so much about finding work. They also tend to favor renting more than their predecessors. As they have good paying jobs, they are renting higher priced properties.
  • Generation X:   This group of people tend to be offspring of wealth. As a result they like to live where they want and do what they want. So like the Millennials they like the nicer more expensive units. This group, born from 1965 to 1980, tend to favor homeownership over renting. When renting they will pay to have the class A and B properties as they like the finer things.
  • Baby Boomers: Contrary to expectations, many baby boomers (those of us born between 1945 to 1964)  took a financial hit over the past decade and many of these folks are now moving into smaller communities and lower priced housing. They want great quality units at an affordable price. Baby boomers on a budget tend to locate in areas where they can live economically. The wealthier of the boomers tend to locate to lifestyle locations, near golf, fine dining and water.

Now that you are thinking more about who your target market is, it is important to know how these renters are searching for your properties.

3 top search habits renters use to find your properties for rent

  1. About one-half of renters shop on mobile devices. For the Millennials and Generation X this number is even higher. Having your vacant properties searchable on mobile- optimized websites is paramount for maximum exposure.
  2. Be readily available. We live in the information age and these prospects will immediately call or email directly from their mobile device and in absence of a quick answer they will move on to the next rental. If you want to connect with tenants today they expect you to be there and be ready for them. If an hour goes by before you respond, chances are they have gone bye bye.
  3. Online ratings are important. Rental prospects like to search for online ratings and, for baby boomers this is even more important. They search for information on the properties as well as the property management companies. Recent surveys show that for roughly 96% of rental prospects, online reviews influence their decision making process.

I have always found that as tides change we must change with the tides. Whether you manage your own properties or hire a professional, staying in tune with your tenants wants, needs and habits will keep your units filled and business prosperous.

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