RENTALS! A Market Quickly Slipping Away From REALTORS®

by Marilyn Wilson on May 4, 2012

Every agent I know is looking for new opportunities for generating additional revenue.  At the same time I hear again and again that many agents are not interested in working on rental properties because there’s “not enough money in it”. Driven by this ambivalence, many MLSs are ignoring the rental market.

This perspective is a HUGE mistake, in my view.  Let me share some “fun facts” with you to help you understand why I say that…

First: Did you know that experts are now predicting that rental properties will constitute up to 40% of the overall residential real estate market over the next several years? Current trends further suggest that up to 25% of the residential market in 2012 and beyond will be comprised of domestic and foreign investors creating rental properties from the distressed real estate inventory.

Second: Are you aware that leading online rental sites collectively generate over 40 million visitors every month?   To put that in perspective, Zillow only generates about 25 million visitors per month.  Along these lines, have you ever noticed how every mobile app for the large portals are now focused on BOTH for sale and rental properties?

Third: Zillow just purchased rentJuice for $40,000,000!    They don’t invest that much money just for their health!  They recognize the important shift in consumer’s thinking and they are going to capitalize on it!

Fourth: What do you think will happen with renters over time? As the market continues to strengthen, and many reach a time when they want to have a family and backyard, they will inevitably want to purchase a home.  It’s important for brokers and MLSs to WELCOME renters so that when they ARE ready to buy a home, you will already have a relationship with them and they will be comfortable searching for properties with you and on your website.

WAV Group has been talking about the need to jump on the rental market for some time, yet very few in organized real estate have responded to this important and urgent need.  There are exceptions of course; Kudos to Utahrealestate.com who now overtly markets both for sale and for rent properties!   Utahrealestate.com is already the number one property site in Utah and they are going to likely maintain that position by offering this important new feature!  Great job WFR MLS!

It’s about time for every Broker and every MLS in the United States to start taking this trend seriously!   MLS Vendors – it’s time for you to start supporting rentals as a legitimate property type. Do not treat it as a stepchild to residential single-family homes any longer!  Vendors – start offering affordable ways for agents to get actively involved in the rental market!

If not, an important and irretrievable customer base may get completely used to transacting real estate WITHOUT the use of a REALTOR®!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Russ Bergeron May 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

MLSs cannot by their very definition (and rules) just add rentals to their database unless there is some form of exclusive right contract involved. Just like we can’t add FSBOs, we can’t just add any old rental. We can’t add apartments, etc. I know several large MLS from across the country that have had a strong rental presence for years, including MRED (we currently only have about 5500 active rentals) – the problem is that many rentals do not get done via real estate brokers so they would not be eligible for MLS inclusion. We are not craigslist or apartments.com. We could operate a totally separate business venture to do this but most MLSs do not have the financial strength to go out and market and to generate traffic to compete with the big boys.

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