AppFolio study: Today’s renters are increasingly focused on online services

apartment photoby Dan Rafter

What do today’s renters want in an apartment building? According to a new survey from AppFolio, today’s renters are increasingly focused on being able to pay their rent and request repairs without having to mail checks or pick up the phone.

The AppFolio survey found that 46 percent of tenants prefer to pay their rents digitally through an app, Web site or automatic withdrawal.

As AppFolio says in a blog post announcing the results of its survey, when property management companies offer these digital services, apartment owners will have a greater chance of attracting a higher number of tenants.

It’s important for apartment owners to have a strong online presence, too, if they wish to attract tenants. According to the AppFolio study, nearly a quarter of renters will eliminate a property from their search if they can’t find photos or videos of it online. A total of 27 percent of respondents said that bad online reviews are the top reason why they drop a property from their search.

A building’s amenities and digital features might be as important to younger renters as are monthly rents. AppFolio reports that only 28 percent of renters from the ages of 18 to 34 cite high rents as being the top reason for eliminating an apartment from their search. Compare that to renters from the ages of 55 to 64. A total of 45 percent of respondents in this age group said that high rents were the top reason for choosing not to rent an apartment.

It’s tempting for property managers and owners to focus on Millennial renters, but AppFolio’s researchers warn against ignoring older renters. AppFolio says that the rental market is actually going grayer, with older renters making up a larger portion of the renting population these days. Yes, Millennials might get the press when it comes to renting, but older renters are an equally important part of the market.

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