Perfecting your social media pages to attract potential Gen Y renters could be a waste of time—only a small percentage are likely checking them out.
That’s according to Houston-based J Turner Research’s new report,Trends in Resident Technology & Communication Preferences, which found that only 5 percent of prospects looked at social media pages prior to renting an apartment. But the same report, released last week, said that 74 percent of potential leasers looked at online rating and review sites.
Among rental sites surveyers said they visited, Move.com was the most influential, followed by Apartmentreviews.net and Yelp.com. But Yelp remained the top choice in terms of trustworthiness. Among younger renters, Craigslist was the top search tool for finding an apartment. And Craigslist's presence in major metros may be the reason that it generated the highest rents of any lead, at $1298 per month on average.
The study also found that prices, floor plans and location remain the top three aspects that respondents look for on an apartment community's website.
“The renting game has changed,” says Kerry Kirby, founder of New Orleans-based online service provider 365 Connect, LLC. “These kids now will look at your ... website and decide if they even want to show up [to look]. So you have to market from that standpoint of having a great website and a great public face on the Internet so there’s a reason for them to come.”
The survey also showed that Gen Y residents have the highest percentage of laptop and smartphones among any demographic, at 89 and 88 percent, respectively. They are using these devices to research neighborhood restaurants and events, perhaps even on the property Facebook page—but only after they move in.