At the Apartment Innovation & Marketing Conference earlier in 2022, Sarah Yaussi Pienik, Vice President of Business Strategy at National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), Dom Beveridge, Principal at 20for20, and Tim Hermeling, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Cortland, gave a presentation titled 'Renter Demands vs. Executive Investment.' (Watch the full presentation here).
Their talk focused on the results of an NMHC survey in which 221,000+ renters nationwide were asked to prioritize their list of demands in an apartment community. The survey results placed renter demands in three tiers of prioritization:
- Primary: Price, Place, Parking, Pets
- Secondary: Floorplans, Features, Availability, Sales Service
- Tertiary: Amenities, Reputation, Connectivity, Certifications
In this blog, we'll discuss ways apartment marketers can meet these levels of renter demands using a marketing strategy—specifically, a community website—that aligns with what prospective residents want to see.
Primary: Price, Place, Parking, Pets
The four 'P's—price, place, parking, and pets—should be considered non-negotiables, and it's no question why renters say they prioritize these things the most when searching for and selecting an apartment.
Price is essential for obvious reasons. They can only afford a certain amount for rent each month, so you must show accurate and up-to-date pricing on your website. We recently wrote another blog post on this topic featuring keys for displaying rent prices on your website.
Place can seem pretty basic. But because they already know the general location of the next apartment community they want to live in, it's crucial to not only confirm the city and street address of your apartments but also highlight the benefits of your location. You could use a map feature on your website that shows nearby attractions like restaurants, bars, shopping centers, parks, and more. We've also seen some apartment websites have a commute calculator tool for prospects keen on finding an apartment community close to their employer.
Pets and your policy regarding them need to be mentioned prominently on your website and messaging, regardless of whether you accept furry friends or not. While most renters want to live in a pet-friendly community, others don't, so it's always vital to explain your pet policy in complete detail.
Parking is perhaps the most interesting top priority of renters. Many on-site personnel will tell you that parking is a big deal to most of their current tenants. Many renters have a car, and they need a place to put that car. They especially desire the ability to park their vehicle close to the entrance of their building, plus they want to know if there are garages available and what those costs are. You must explain your parking procedures and show your different garage options on your website in full detail.
Secondary: Floorplans, Features, Availability, and Sales Service
Once prospective residents have whittled their choice of apartment communities to ones that have met their non-negotiable standards, the next set of demands they focus on is the overall living experience.
We argue that apartment marketers should make floorplans a centerpiece in their strategy. Though labeled as a secondary priority, floorplans are essential because prospective residents know how many bedrooms (and bathrooms) they want before they begin their apartment search. Organizing your website with pages dedicated to each floorplan with media content, like a walkthrough video tour, pricing, and other relevant information makes it easy for prospective residents to seek out the floorplan that best fits their criteria.
Features define those in-unit items that prospective residents seek. It would be best to have pictures and descriptions of these standard features: washer, dryer, kitchen appliances, closets, air conditioning, and more. But something noteworthy that Yaussi Pienik mentioned in the presentation was that more renters are looking for soundproof walls and high-speed internet access. Those two features, in particular, are, to renters, more critical for their living experience than a dishwasher. Are they mentioned on your website if you have features like these at your apartments? It's best to list and show all your various unit amenities separate from your community ones.
Availability, like price, is another piece of essential knowledge that impacts a potential resident's decision to pursue signing a lease at your apartment community. They do want to be able to learn at least if or when the floorplan they're most interested in is available and how that impacts their moving timeline. Most property management software allows you to display updated availability online through website integration.
Sales service is a demand that apartment marketers don't have much control over as they may not be the individuals that interact with prospects, yet there are a couple of things they could take away from this. One, it can be beneficial to have resident testimonials on your apartment's website expressing their satisfaction with their own leasing experiences. Two, it points to renters' overall need for a helpful apartment search experience, meaning that you need a functional and easy-to-use website that gives them all the information they want to feel comfortable about pursuing a lease.
Tertiary: Amenities, Reputation, Connectivity, Certifications
While not as significant in impacting lease conversions, this final tier of renter demands heavily influences one's decision when choosing between final candidates in their apartment search.
Amenities are differentiators that can separate your apartments from similar communities nearby, so you want to ensure that you feature your gym, pool, outdoor lounges, and more online. But don't forget to include those in-unit features, too! It's beneficial to be as complete as you can be when listing out and describing all of your community's differentiators. Not sure where or how to start? Here are three innovative ways to market your apartment's amenities.
Connectivity focuses on the need for pre-installed, high-speed internet access—primarily as more people work from home, stream videos, play games online, and more. What may get forgotten in this discussion is mobile phone reception, too. The main takeaway for apartment marketers here is to include all the various technical packages available in their community because this information addresses a unique need.
Reputation and Certifications are confirming for prospective residents as they learn more and build trust in your community. The importance of reputation management has increased significantly as online reviews are weighed heavily by searchers. Apartment marketers can respond to these demands by including tenant reviews, awards, and other positive appraisals on their community websites, ads, and other marketing collateral.
Every prospective resident has already prioritized the things they want in a future apartment home before they've even begun their search. These demands paint the picture of what apartment marketers need to consider as they establish their community's overall marketing plan, including the things they must feature prominently on their website.
Meeting these renter demands is the core purpose of apartment community websites built by RentVision. With one, you can elevate your apartment's competitiveness amongst other similar properties nearby and increase your leasing probability—two primary goals for every apartment marketer.