Can we all agree on one thing, renting an apartment or buying a home is in large part about a feeling of status? I would agree that we could debate the idea that it means varying things throughout ones life time even in the context of status.
In other words a first time home buyer or apartment shopper looks at status as if to say we now own our very own home and or we have a place of our own in an apartment. And, a second or third time home buyer would look at neighborhood and location more. Even a first time investor would gets caught in the status game sometimes buying just to say they own something.
I say all that to say this. Apartment shoppers are no different at least in my opinion. They shop for apartment homes in large part for the way it will make them feel.
You have undoubtedly heard of maximizing your mortgage payment by paying 1/2 of your payment every two weeks in lieu of once a month. The fact is you would pay one full payment more in the year than if you paid the traditional way.
Well with that in mind what if we as owner/managers partnered with a local community bank and promoted; All in the Name of Savings.
The promo would encourage people to pay 1/2 of their rent every two weeks thus creating a surplus that we would match $1 for $1 up to $200 or whatever we deem. And, if they renew with us what if we deposit their concessions dollars in their savings account in lieu of giving them rent credits.
With electronic payments becoming more mainstream, it could catch on.
Seth writes of the 7% solution [Read Here]. The basic premise is couched in the ever popular trend of discount brokers in the real estate industry. Seth suggests thinking about moving commissions to 7% in lieu of 4 or 5% as the discounters are now doing. His question is what would you do different in order to substantiate the value of being at 7%.
It is an interesting thought for our business. What if, in lieu if discounted rents or concessions, we came of with amazing value adds to substantiate raising rents in a down market.
"Now renters can see what other residents are paying at thousands of apartment communities. This is an important tool that helps renters find and choose the best apartments," said Jeremy Bencken, president and general manager of ApartmentRatings.com. "Our goal is to build services that focus on providing renters unique and hard-to-access information about apartments. Ultimately we believe our apartment ratings and apartment reviews, and now pricing survey information, drive more informed, more serious customers to our advertisers." [Read the full story here]
Let me get this straight Jeremy , the renter is going to give you the information that you will publish on your site? And, you are going to validate that in some way, I trust? I mean what is to stop the user from reporting a less than true rate not unlike some of the simply untrue reviews on the site.
Maybe you should back up and think about driving a more informed, more serious consumer to good quality communities, not to the advertisers. This important tool helps renters choose the best value, not necessarily the best apartment. It’s seem a bit disingenuous to suggest they would get "the best," don’t you think? And, I’m not convinced that it is hard to get this information. I did an anonymous shop of my market just about a week ago and it took all of 8 phone calls and about 25 minutes of my time.
I say all that and I am a fan of the site and consumer reviews believing that the astute apartment searcher would negate the many exaggerated comments that are posted.