Zego, a property management proptech company, released a report that found there is a rise in expectations for digital communications, the importance of resident reviews and rent growth influencing renter expectations.
Based on these trends, Zego formulated how multifamily communities can bring in and retain quality tenants. The report combined data from its 2022 State of Resident Experience Management Report and external research, including customer testimonies, to advise property managers on the ways they can establish an online presence and a prospect-to-resident experience.
This experience, according to Zego, has a few steps including attracting renters, converting prospective renters into residents, and engaging and retaining them in the future.
The report draws from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reports, which found 83% of renters visit the property or the property management company’s website at least once while hunting for a place to rent.
The 2022 NMHC Renter Preferences report also found 71% of renters are millennials or Gen Z below 45 years of age, and are keen on digital touch points for their resident journey. Through these digital platforms, they do not need to communicate with brokers or realtors and search for a suitable apartment by themselves.
Moreover, Zego reports 87% of renters did not use a broker, locator service, or realtor while searching for an apartment.
Zego says property marketing today has changed drastically in the last few decades, changed by the advent of Internet Listing Services (ILS), which were later bought by companies like Apartments.com and CoStar. Investing in websites became of utmost importance, in a bid to make it to the first page on Google. Having established a website and a CRM tool, companies are now moving onto technology that would allow tenants to have control over their house search.
The company also conducted a survey in 2022 called the State of Resident Experience Management report that found most property management companies believe their online reputation is very important for their acquisition of tenants.
In this regard, referrals and positive reviews from residents help create a positive marketing environment for property managers, as they can rely on word of mouth recommendations for future tenants.
The survey of 600 multifamily companies also found that an average of $217 is spent per unit on advertising in 2022, a $13 increase from the average in 2021. Zego suggests advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube and search engines. NMHC reports 45% of renters visit social media pages of the properties they want to rent.
Additionally, it says investing in blog content with listicles could be beneficial for the website’s SEO to establish credibility.
The report’s correlation of renter expectations and rent growth are also a factor in a property marketer’s strategy to lean toward learning about the importance of customer service from the hospitality industry.
It also suggests boosting their website’s digital presence with white spaces, large fonts and modern aesthetics. Other suggestions for the mobile and user-friendly property website include the location with information on the area and schools, contact information, floor plans, amenities provided, images and reviews from other residents, ADA compliance.
The report also stresses on virtual tours and video walkthroughs over only photographs, digital lease applications and payments and an all-in-one resident app. It found 52% of Gen Z renters prefer self-guided and virtual tours without the help of agents.
NMHC says 69% of renters value ratings and reviews during their apartment search and 84% are influenced by them for their leasing decisions.
Zego found companies with 10-15 landing pages that target keywords, increase leads by 55%. It cites National Association of Realtors data that found embedded video drives 157% more organic search results for a website and usage of Google Analytics to improve them.
For listings, Zego suggests catchy headlines with the apartment description, images, short sentences about the units and a call for action with sentences like “Apply now.” On the plus side, walkthrough video listings garner 403% more inquiries, it says.
Renters also look for quick responses, according to Zillow which found 71% of renters who inquire about a listing expect a response within a day. Only a little more than half receive quick responses. Zego believes AI leasing with chatbots could help in meeting these expectations without staff members who work around the clock. The report cites 365 Connect that reported 40% of millennials interact with chatbots every day.
Zego believes Business Intelligence (BI) software gives multifamily owners and operators a centralized tool to report, analyze, monitor, and predict tenant requirements.
In other recent proptech news, a partnership between The Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) and Venture Catalysts, a startup incubator, is set to establish a $100 million proptech fund in India. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) also appointed Sharon Wilson Géno as its president-elect, effective from October 11.