Apartment Websites, a Pixelated Palm Tree and a Sponsored Post

>> Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I once had an idea to create a website for the property I was managing. When I broached the subject of entering the 21st century, my boss gave me the green light and free creative range to create a website. I have a degree in Liberal Arts(like every third person in this country), so, you know, I was deeply qualified as a website designer. And you've seen my artistic abilities, right? 

So, I gave it go. I bought a website and got to work. I had dreams of tenants being able to pay rent online, virtual tours, perspective tenants filling out applications before they even set foot on the property, and perhaps some cool background music(I can be my own worst enemy at times). Well, way too many days, hours and headaches later...I had a page with a pixelated palm tree, two enlarged pics of of a studio apartment, contact info and a link to our ad on craiglist. 

Nothing says RENT HERE like this...

Accompanied by some Kenny G. 

It was awe inspiring I tell you. Don't bother googling the site, when my year of ownership was up, I happily declined to renew it. 

With that said, I am sure a lot of managers find themselves in the same boat. Which is why I'd like to introduce you to Jacquelyn Marie Trimper, an account manager at Rentbot, to share some insights into an apartment website. So, you know, perhaps you don't have to go with a pixelated palm tree--unless that's what screams Welcome Home to you. 

by Jacquelyn Marie Trimper

Apartment websites suck. There, I said it, and you know its true. The majority of apartment websites are about as high quality as your local Ma and Pa restaurant. You know, the ones that have a downloadable menu that wont actually download.

Yet, just about everyone shops for their next apartment online—94% of people in fact. In an industry where more leases and lower delinquencies are by definition what keep apartment owners and managers in business, why are managers displaying their property online in the suckiest of ways?

The biggest mistake

I should start by telling you that only a few short years ago, I was a property manager. Ive experienced first hand the mayhem that is property management: the never-ending complaints; the demands from corporate to get more leases while not spending any money; the slaving away your weekend to show units to prospects who are “just seeing whats out there.” Its a never-ending job with a lot of responsibilities and very few “thank-yous.”

I think one of the biggest mistakes that apartment managers make is not allowing the propertys website to help them with all of their responsibilities. Many apartment managers find themselves making up for what their websites lack and are even embarrassed to refer prospects and residents to their propertys site. Continue reading

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