It is no surprise to anyone in real estate that the rental market has caught fire. Many MLSs are scrambling to expanded offerings to meet the needs of brokers who have focused on growing their property management business to meet demand. “Nobody wants to own a vacant home,” says Amy Gallagher of Century 21 Hometown. “We represent investors in buying rental property, and attract them with our strong property management business – we capture a side or two of the sale, and an ongoing business relationship that lasts years.”
One thing that you can always trust consumers to do is vote with their mouse. There are currently 6 companies in the Hitwise Top 20 Real Estate websites that focus purely on rentals.
Recent studies show ApartmentFinder.com against the rest of the industry – a shift took place sometime in July of 2009. Property search took a dive, and traffic to ApartmentFinder.com and others jumped up. For companies like Move, who make a living on website traffic – capturing the attention of these consumers is the basic instrument of their succes.
In a press release today, Move announced the following summary of their new rental portal. Move has always been a leader in online real estate search – with the relaunch of their rental search, they have elevated themselves as a leader of the rental search experience. The press release that follows provides very accurate product and feature description of the new site. Chief among the features is the focus on Lifestyle search. WAV Group will be publishing a report on Lifestyle search in the next week or so.
REDESIGNED RENTAL PORTAL LEADS RENTERS TO THEIR NEXT APARTMENT FASTER
CAMPBELL, CA (November 23, 2010) Move (NASDAQ: MOVE), the leader in online real estate, today launched a redesigned rentals search portal on Move.com sporting an updated look and feel supported by proprietary technology and new features designed to match todays renters with their ideal apartment in just three clicks.
Redesigned to help renters make better and faster decisions, visitors can now search for their next apartment on a map or by list view simultaneously, select five desired community amenities from a list of 22 ‘Local Likes and instantly find apartments located close to those amenities, locate a pet friendly rental with a view, review city cost of living comparisons, instantly check availability of a unit with a desired floor plan, and download a leasing agreement before setting off to tour the apartment.
‘Local Likes, offered only by Move.com as part of the new rental search experience, are 22 preset desired community amenities that can influence which apartment or neighborhood a renter considers as they search. Included on the new Properties Tab to assist renters find the right apartment in the right neighborhood, Local Likes range from desired airports, bakeries, bookstores, bars and clubs, to fitness centers, golf courses, grocery stories, schools, shopping, parks, and more.
“Apartment rents rose across much of the country for a third straight quarter this year, and we expect this is primarily due to increased demand resulting from the current economic environment,” said Eric Gramberg, vice president at Move.com. “As more consumers enter the rental market, it becomes increasingly important to provide them with the information and tools they need to make smart decisions quickly.
The redesign of Moves rental search portal provides today’s renters with easy access to the search tools and accurate information they need to find the right apartment in the right neighborhood across the country.” Once a Move.com visitor has identified an interesting apartment, one click leads them to a newly designed Listing Detail Page where they’ll find up to 25 property photos, in-depth property and unit details, neighborhood and school information, driving directions, links to share the listing on Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and MySpace, and up-to-the minute move-in specials. New View Availability buttons help renters immediately check the status of an apartment before downloading the rental applications and leasing terms featured next to the property management contact details. Prospective renters are now better prepared to submit an application on the spot after they tour a rental apartment found on Move.com.
According to a national study conducted for the Associated Press by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the gap between monthly rents and mortgage payments is at its lowest level in almost 20 years. For consumers debating between renting versus buying or interested in community details and the rental experience in general, a Search Properties tab and a Learning Center tab have been integrated into the search experience. The new Search Properties tab is home to helpful features including Local Likes, Apartment Communities, and detailed analysis of different apartment properties in each city. Each Search Properties page includes information such as population, community information, cost of living, and rental costs relevant to the city a visitor wants to explore.
The new Learning Center offers a wide array of relevant topics including apartment search tips, renters rights, moving tips, finance and insurance details, and budgeting tips for a first time apartment renter. Editorial content ranging from living with roommates and renting with pets, to lease negotiations and links to blogs with rental-related articles have also been added to the Move.com rentals Learning Center. To help Move.com visitors find their ideal apartment in just three clicks, new search technology now delivers predictive ‘as-you-type search features and dynamic search faceting that reduces potential frustration caused by ‘zero results prompts resulting from misspelled words or keystroke errors.
In addition, Moves advanced proprietary search technology was leveraged to surface search results faster and with greater details so renters can zero in on their next apartment with less effort. As a leader in property search technology, Move redesigned its rental portal to facilitate rapid and accurate results based on each users individual preferences so they find the right apartment faster. In addition, Moves rental site offers local and national exposure to apartment advertisers, with the added benefit of real-time connection and communication points with renters who can now download a rental application. By integrating the ability to share apartment listings through new social media features, advertisers organically expand their potential brand and traffic footprint to other consumers. Renters interested in finding their next apartment on Move.com can quickly access Moves rentals portal from the homepage of Move.com by clicking the ‘Rentals tab on the ‘Find a Place search box, and entering the desired city, state or zip code. Once on the Search Results Page, visitors select price range, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and pet details and can view their results in a list and map view. To further refine a search, visitors can select the ‘More Options button to filter searches to account for features including disability access, gated entrance and fitness centers, to playgrounds, covered parking, furnishings, fireplaces and more.