Reputation is key to success for landlords and property managers. Studies show that 89% of renters visit review sites and use the reviews to narrow down their apartment search. 70% of potential tenants will decide to visit a property or development based on its reputation.
In yet another survey, 80% of renters acknowledged that they use reviews when searching for a new place to live. Three-quarters of those surveyed pointed out that reviews and recommendations are very helpful during their apartment search. Thus, if you think a positive online reputation is something you could overlook as a landlord or property manager, think again.
- Benefits of a good reputation
- Trends that have led to the need for reputation management in the property industry
- How landlords can build a positive reputation
Benefits of a good reputation
A stellar online reputation is crucial because potential and current renters will often use it to form an opinion about you and your property. Other benefits of a good reputation include:
- Lowers turnover rates – Tenants can gauge how good or bad their rental experience will be based on the property’s reputation. This impacts their decision to choose or forgo your property. Additionally, maintaining a good reputation should help keep your current tenants much longer, effectively reducing your turnover rates.
- Higher and more consistent rental income – With lower tenancy turnover rates through a good reputation, you will also experience a stable and stronger income stream. According to a recent study by the University of Reading, landlords who invest in establishing good relationships with their tenants are likely to see a 1.9% increase in their financial returns.
- Reduced marketing costs – Happy renters are your biggest assets when it comes to marketing. Such renters are often willing to refer and recommend you to their friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This enables you to fill vacancies fast and avoid void periods.
- Easier management – A great reputation means potential clients have a positive opinion about you. This makes it easier for you to work with your tenants and neighbors. It also becomes easier to collaborate and solve disputes.
Trends that have led to the need for reputation management in the property industry
Building a positive reputation has become an important undertaking for any property owner who wants to stay on top of the game in this industry. The importance of reputation management in the rental industry has been brought about by the following emerging trends.
The rise of online reviews
Today, landlords and property managers or agents are expected to consider how their onsite and online interactions with potential clients impact their operations. With the majority of tenants rushing to online review sites to document their unpleasant experiences, property owners need to guard their reputation now more than ever.
Online review sites are not just a source of customer insight. They also impact the overall performance of a property or property management company. Having positive online reviews help attract new tenants and improve turnover rates. Online reviews also provide feedback and helpful criticism that you can use to improve the property experience to enhance retention rates and acquisition rates.
Sabine Ghali, Director at Buttonwood Property Management, makes a good point when she says, “One of my most valuable skills that I continue to develop each year is how to recruit top talent for my company.”
Remember: You are only as good as your team. If you run a property management company, it’s imperative to train all staff on the importance of client management and client relationship - as it only takes one bad experience to ruin a tenant or landlord’s view of your entire company.
More landlords are ditching agents and going solo
Landlords are often seen as villains in the rental business. Most renters feel that the majority of landlords care more about money than their well-being. Moreover, landlords’ use of letting agents has put them in a bad light with tenants due to the unscrupulous charges some agents levy on tenants.
In the UK, the government recently banned letting fees which are charged to tenants looking to rent out the property. This, combined with tougher tax changes, resulted in a large number of landlords looking to shift these fees or cut costs by ditching their property management company or switching to cheaper online letting agents. During the wake of the abolishment, 70% of surveyed landlords said they are less likely to use an agent moving forward.
In the US, the number of landlords who don’t use a property manager or agent is even higher, at 73%.
Landlords who are going ‘solo’ must essentially build a reputation from scratch, as they can no longer rely on the reputation of a property manager or agent. Furthermore, reputation is more important than ever in a tough market as tenants have a lot of negotiating power.
The growth of social media
Social media has become an important platform for businesses to connect with potential customers - and that, includes landlords with renters. Landlords are expected to do more than build a social following. They need to constantly engage their renters and humanize their user’s online experience. Furthermore, the use of social media by property owners builds credibility for their business and fosters loyal followers, fans, and reviewers. This kind of loyalty is what produces consistent lease renewals and increased revenue.
How landlords can build a positive reputation
So what should landlords do to build and maintain a reputable reputation?
Provide a positive experience for tenants
Establishing a good relationship with your current tenants increases their satisfaction levels and loyalty to your property. Here’s how you can make the renting experience positive:
- Be flexible in terms of lease terms and tenant requests
- Respond to tenants requests quickly and resolve disputes fairly
- Ensure your property is clean and habitable
- Build a sense of community for your tenants and make sure they can contact you easily and quickly
Respond quickly to reviews and requests
You need to be aware of what people are saying about you online. Fortunately, there is software you can use to constantly monitor online reviews and comments. This allows you to give quick responses to the reviews and also make necessary changes to your property.
Timely and professional responses to online reviews and other mentions shows your potential renters that you are accessible. If one of your tenants posts a positive review don’t be shy to ask them to share the review with others online. According to BrightLocal, 71% of customers will leave a review for an enterprise if asked.
Negative reviews also present an opportunity for you to communicate with your potential tenants and show yourself in a positive light. Responding respectfully to such reviews shows that you listen to customers' concerns and are willing to take the necessary steps to correct any issues. Such reviews may also offer constructive criticism giving you a chance to improve on specific areas.
Be active on social media
Most renters search for rental properties on the main property portals, but they don’t stop there. They also check out social media, and you should post your listings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Craigslist, and Pinterest.
Social media is a great communication, marketing, and reputation management tool for landlords. Here are a few things you can do to stand out from the competition when using social media:
- Start a blog and share interesting and engaging content
- Build lasting relationships by following and sharing your followers’ content
- Offer discounts, promotions, and contests through your feed to drive more traffic to your accounts
- Optimize your ads for mobile
- Use testimonials in your social media ads to humanize the face of your business
- Create a Facebook group for your tenants to build a community
- Post video walkthroughs on YouTube to promote your property
Successful property owners keep tabs on what is being said about their property online. They know the management of their reputation is crucial in ensuring a steady flow of revenue, reducing tenant turnover rates, lowering marketing expenditures, and keeping their renters happy.
Reputation Management for Property Managers FAQs
What are the benefits of a good reputation for property owners?
Property owners can expect the following benefits of a good online reputation. Lower turnover rates. Higher and more consistent rental income. Reduced marketing costs. Easier management.
Why do property managers need to pay attention to online reputation?
Changing industry trends have led to the need for reputation management in the property industry. Why? Because of the rise of online reviews, landlords decreased use of letting agents, and the growth of social media.
How can landlords build a positive reputation?
Landlords can build a positive reputation in three easy steps. 1. Provide a positive experience for tenants. 2. Respond quickly to reviews and requests. 3. Be active on social media.
How can landlords create a positive rental experience for tenants?
Be flexible in terms of lease terms and tenant requests. Respond to tenants' requests quickly and resolve disputes fairly. Ensure your property is clean and habitable. Build a sense of community for your tenants and make sure they can contact you easily and quickly.