In some ways, real estate and the internet are opposites. In an era in which we do more and more things online, our need for physical things appears to be dwindling. The concrete nature of a big box store or even a nice local shop feels like a liability rather than an asset, as more and more people shop online.
But while real estate and websites may be very different sorts of businesses and investments, they are more closely connected than you might think. As the owner of an income property, a good landlord needs to understand just how important the internet is for creating wealth through real estate and rent payments. Here’s what you need to know.
Renters look for their apartments online
We do a lot online these days. We shop online, we order food online, and we even find our significant others online. So it’s no surprise that we’re looking for our homes online, too. Statistics show that renters overwhelmingly prefer to look for their next apartment or house online: more than 90 percent search the web for their future rented home. This makes print catalogs a thing of the past.
This is an important thing to understand, of course. And just as important is this: being found online isn’t as easy as simply posting a real estate listing on the internet. The internet is a huge place, and nobody wants to go out of their way. Would-be renters are going to use search engines and online brokerages to find their living spaces, and you need to make sure that internet-wide search engines (and intrasite search engines on rental websites) lead great renters directly to you.
Search engine optimization matters
So how can you get search engines to find you? You need to make your listing as attractive as possible not just to people, but to machines too. You want to convince the search engines that your listing is just the thing to serve up to a potential tenant.
That means using keywords and keyword phrases. If you think that a potential tenant will search for a certain word or combination of words — or, better yet, if you know that potential tenants search for these words and phrases because you’ve done proper keyword research — then you should include those words and phrases in your listing. Look for ways to use keywords that differentiate your space from less impressive competition. This is called “search engine optimization”, or SEO for short.
You don’t need to be an SEO whiz yourself in order to master the online rental market. You can and should reach out to professionals. There are SEO consultants who can help you, and some landlord software solutions offer you SEO tools or let you list your property on their high-authority domain. This brings us to our next section.
Use landlord software
The internet can be a confusing place. You work hard to keep your rental property running lean and smart, but you’re not a master of everything. So let someone else help you out. It’s particularly easy to get a hand with listing rental properties online, because there are landlord software solutions that make the whole process a breeze.
A good landlord software solution will help you get your rental listing in prominent places online so that the best and most qualified tenants see it. And you’ll be able to know how qualified those tenants are when they fill out the free online rental application and you use your landlord software to conduct thorough background and credit checks. Landlord software makes it easy to acknowledge and account for the power of the internet in the modern real estate market, all without having to become some kind of computer engineer. Use it to make more money from your rental property in the most efficient possible ways.