Pains and gains in the apartment hunt

apartment hunt

A new survey shows renters are becoming more reliant on online photos and virtual tours than on traditional, in-person guided tours when selecting an apartment. This study, which was conducted by Entrata, multifamily real estate’s fastest-growing technology company, shows that apartment hunters are turning to a variety of online options to eliminate the need to physically visit the apartment.

“Today’s technology is changing the way people search for rental properties,” said Chase Herrington, president and chief operating officer at Entrata. “Online photos, virtual 360-degree walkthroughs, video feeds—options such as these are making it easier and quicker to find the perfect rental property. These online tools are making it possible for a renter to sit at a computer and virtually tour a dozen different apartments in a single afternoon.”

Key findings of the survey include the following:

Prospects find that searching for an apartment online is far more practical than taking in-person guided tours. Few people have the time to hunt for an apartment. Online tours are far more efficient, and an increasing number of renters are taking advantage of it. 25% of those polled reported that they had signed a lease without physically visiting the apartment.

Hunting for an apartment is time consuming and isn’t convenient to do after business hours. The report revealed that 68% of those polled spent an hour or more per day apartment hunting. And since much of the day is spent at work, apartment hunting can seriously impact productivity in the workplace. 47% of those polled spend at least an hour or more a day searching for an apartment while at work.

Apartment community websites lack the online information prospects seek. Respondents reported that leasing offices were unavailable to provide the help they needed 21% of the time. In addition, those polled reported that they couldn’t always find the information they needed online. The price of the apartment was available online only 9% of the time and floor plans and availability were only available 14% of the time.

The move to online or automated services, while inevitable, will take time. Many in the study reported they were unable to do such basic things as fill out an application or pay rent online. 40% said they were unable to fill out an application online. 43% said they were unable to pay rent and other fees online.

Generated by Entrata and fielded in July 2018, the survey collected online responses via Qualtrics from 805 U.S. consumers who are over the age of 18 and rent an apartment.

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