As multifamily property owners we tend to always be marketing our vacant units and we are always looking for better/cheaper options, at least I am, I assume many of you are also. The one thing I noticed is that we tend to overlook our reviews and the power of good reviews. One of the first things a potential new resident will do is to search your property online and if they find reviews from existing resident or past residents that have written good reviews they will be more likely to want to rent from you, now if all they find is negative reviews they will of course keep looking. The one thing you want to keep in mind is that if you have a resident that has had a difficult experience with your property they tend to want to spread the word but if you have a tenant that has had a great experience they sometimes don’t consider taking the time to let everyone know.
Make it easy for them to write a review and incentivize them! A simple request for feedback could be all it takes to increase your number of reviews or make it part of your move-out or lease-signing process by providing the renter with a questionnaire or link to the review website. Offering an incentive like a gift card from a local retailer or a small discount on their rent for submitting a review is a great way to get them motivated.
Go where your renters are- Go online and do some research to find out which site ( ie: Yelp or Google Local) renters are using to read or submit rental reviews, and create profiles on those sites. For example, if a renter is active on Yelp or Google Local, they’re more likely to write a review of your community because they’re familiar with the site and have an account set up.
Follow up with them- Not all of your residents will remember to write a review immediately after receiving your request. Follow up with them about sharing their experience with your property.
If you decide to create a questionnaire be specific in your questions to avoid short, generalized answers. Ask about what improvements you can make, or how your residents felt about working with you, what they like about the property, the staff and of course their unit. Potential renters may be suspicious of businesses that feature only positive reviews; instead of focusing solely on collecting great reviews, make an effort to solicit honest feedback. Presenting and responding constructively to criticism not only demonstrates your credibility, but also shows prospective renters that you are interested in working with residents to solve problems and create a vibrant community. Make sure you respond to all reviews, thanking the good ones, and addressing any negative comments to show you are proactive.