Real Estate Investing Technology Changes Rental Listings
In Real estate investing it’s important to lease up rental units as soon as possible to generate revenue and create cashflow. A few years back we had an interesting experience during a time we had properties vacant in two different demographically contrasting regions. It also happened during the period of time that’s challenging for leasing – Winter. What was discovered is not only the importance of having good leasing systems for the specific market, but also the importance of utilizing the technologies connected to cell phones and staying on top of the market trends.
Our property management company oversees properties spread out over an area of Southern California covering Long Beach in LA County to San Bernardino County. Some of our properties demand higher rents due to quality of amenities and location (Class A), while others are middle of road market rate (Class B), and others are in lower income areas that include section 8 tenants (Class C-D). One of the things we know is the need to market properties using different media, such as internet, print, signs, based on their location. Certain marketing media works better in certain locations, while other forms of marketing yield little results and cost time, money and effort.
We had units in Long Beach and San Bernardino come vacant. I was a little worried the distance would spread thin my make-ready and leasing teams because of the distances between them. The make ready on the Long Beach house was extensive and got delayed, so we had to change the make-ready team to get back on track. The make ready on the San Bernardino went fine.
The interesting observation on the Long Beach house during showing appointments was how people were reaching out to us. We use rent promotion sites that share the listings with sites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Hotpads.com. During our showing appointments, people were contacting us the same day, to come down and see the house from their phone apps. We would stick around the house and wait for them to arrive. These were younger millennials comfortable with the technology and searching while on the street mobile – instead of sitting on a home computer. This gave them an advantage as they were able to see the property and get an application sooner, instead of setting an appointment and waiting in line.
The San Bernardino unit is in a lower income area. Here print media in local free classifieds papers and physical signs along with craigslist and GoSection8.com work better. The tenant base cannot readily afford higher end smart phones with larger data capabilities. The use of the technology is not as prevalent but that is starting to change. During this particular time no one was using cell phone applications. On recent lease-ups that has been changing, especially with younger millennials who are very savvy with the new technology.
We were successful in leasing up both properties quickly despite it being in the winter time. The tenants are happy to have a home and we’re happy to be receiving rents and keeping our real estate investing business and services producing income. This experience showed us the importance of using the right marketing media for different target markets but also recognizing the technological trends as they evolve and their affects on the tenant base. Since then the websites we promote rentals have changed and we continue to adapt and evolve with the times.