By Mary Salmonsen (MultiFamilyExecutive.com Article) — Out of over 1,100 respondents to the 2019 Renter Insight & Digital Engagement survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey Audience for online reputation manager Binary Fountain, 93% of U.S. apartment seekers have used online reviews in their rental property search.
A majority of renters—74%—read between one and 10 reviews before making a decision on their rental property. Eighty-five percent reported looking at online reviews after a friend or family member’s recommendation, and 64% said they are willing to pay more for a highly ranked or reviewed property.
Over half of respondents (58%) used Zillow to find apartment ratings and reviews, followed by Google (51%) and Apartments.com (48%). Google was the leading choice for sharing experiences at 31%, followed by Facebook at 27% and Apartments.com at 24%.
When asked to consider the “top three aspects” that matter most in reviews, over half—57%—named “negative reviews” as the most important. Positive reviews came in second at 55%, followed by how recent the last review was at 42%.
The survey also found that potential renters take property managers’ engagement with online reviews into consideration. Almost all respondents said they thought it was helpful when property managers responded to reviews, and 89% said they would post an online review of their community if asked.
At the core of it, 80% of respondents chose value and cost as the most important factor when it came to choosing a rental property. Seventy-seven percent selected location, while 65% chose safety and security.
The most frustrating issues for apartment seekers, according to the survey, included “finding accurate information online about the property” at 31%, followed by “waiting to hear back from the property manager or Realtor” at 18% and “compiling and filing application/required documents for renting” at 17%.
“The 2019 Renter Insight & Digital Engagement survey further proves the impact, significance, and trust online ratings and reviews have on U.S. consumers,” says Aaron Clifford, senior vice president of marketing at Binary Fountain. “It is imperative that U.S. property owners and managers carefully monitor and evaluate their online reputation if they wish to remain competitive in today’s dense real estate market.”
The full survey is available here