Apartment hunting just got easier: Listing your dream pad online

While real estate agents often provide a level of expertise, legal advice, and support, they also add a third-party, middle layer that many businesses and consumers want to avoid. As more and more people prefer to (and expect to) take a “DIY approach” to real estate, an influx of apartment listing and direct-to-consumer sites have flooded the market to satisfy this niche in the digital world. Most managed properties have been letting tenants do everything from paying their rent, to booking maintenance by themselves via the internet for several years, increasing the expectation that the leasing process itself should also follow suit. Getting ahead of this trend can help your property attract self-sufficient, proactive tenants and increase the perception that your brand is ahead of the apartment marketing curve.

Consumer apartment listing sites:

Consumer listing sites such as rent.com, apartmentfinder.com, forrent.com, and apartments.com provide broad apartment marketing support for units that are agent-listed or self-managed. These websites leverage geolocation and filtering tools to help would-be tenants find properties that fit their lifestyle and needs. The benefit of using these sites is that your property is highly searchable, and very little preference is given to one listing over another, creating an equal playing field. Advertising is tied directly to location and amenities rather than your search budget or website prowess. The flip side of those benefits is that your property personality will be absorbed by the listing site itself, making it somewhat harder to differentiate your building or unit from other options.

Pros:

  • Easy customer interface makes finding your property a breeze
  • List one property or many: sites are free or require nominal fees for advertisers on a budget
  • Creates the appearance of a technology-first approach, even when property is still evolving
  • Seamlessly supports other advertising channels so your apartment is searchable no matter how customers choose to find you

Cons:

  • This new technology is still building credibility and trust across the real estate marketing world
  • Limited by listing site’s branding rather than your own
  • Requires management and follow up to ensure leads evolve into tenants

Proprietary apartment marketing sites:

The benefit of individual property websites is that you have an opportunity to show off your unit’s or building’s unique personality, amenities, and neighborhood. More so than listing options, property-specific sites allow you to paint a picture of what it is like to actually live on-site. Take the North Carolina based Midtown Green Apartments, for example. Their dedicated website provides deep insight into how a resident connects with the building and surrounding area. Potential tenants can review floor plans, interact with the neighborhood, browse a photo gallery of building amenities, and connect with the property management team itself. This is a wonderful tool once customers have found your property. Leveraging this tactic requires a strong search and discovery strategy to ensure potential tenants find the site. The best content in the world can’t make an impact if no one surfs your site and finds it.

Pros:

  • Provides deep information about a building, with full-scale branding and immersive content
  • Communicates look, feel, and vibe of desired residents to increase fit at point of sale
  • Creates dedicated link to property staff and leasing opportunities
  • Builds a brand, rather than a transaction

Cons:

  • May exclude rent-by-owner opportunities, favoring property managed buildings
  • Guests need a pre-existing relationship with the building or strong top of funnel support to ensure content is found

Both listing and dedicated sites provide unique, digital opportunities for owners and managers to promote their property. We recommend a blend of both types of advertising techniques to increase exposure on website visits and drive business your way. For inspiration on how to use these tools in a cross-channel marketing strategy, check out our website to learn more about our services and contact us for more information.

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