While the apartment search process is becoming more digitized, do online community reviews actually matter to residents who are on the hunt for their next apartment? Kingsley Associates received responses from over 29,000 apartment seekers, and the results showed that online ratings do influence choices.
A large majority of apartment seekers (nearly 70 percent) utilized online ratings and reviews in their most recent apartment search. One fourth of respondents indicate that online ratings and reviews are one of the most important factors influencing their leasing decision, while an additional 64 percent indicate they are one of the many factors in their decision.
In the survey, respondents were asked to rank the importance of several factors in the apartment search process. Location, price and an in-person tour ranked the highest, but a community’s online ratings and reviews ranked slightly ahead of the word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends, a historically very powerful source of influence.
While it may not be surprising that consumers in a digital era look to the internet for recommendations, the results showed that nearly 90 percent of respondents think they can spot a fake review. Residents’ distrust in anonymous or uncertified reviews underscores the importance of third-party certified reviews.
This study just scratches the surface of the many factors that influence decisions during the leasing process. As the demand for certified reviews grows, the relationship between residents and the impact of online recommendations on a prospect’s rental decision will likely only strengthen.
The key findings of the study are depicted in the infographic above and the joint report from Kingsley Associates and Apartment Guide, Highly Recommended: The Influence and Impact of Online Ratings and Reviews on Apartment Searchers, can be viewed here.