Apartment Website Features That Work
A reliable website is the first and most important step to attracting residents.
Apartment website features can make or break a business. Digitalization is a given these days and everyone expects to find everything they need online. The same goes when it comes to finding an apartment—the search starts online. As such, the best apartment website features function as a two-way street, providing a user-friendly and informative experience for those who search for properties and the property managers and operators behind the residential communities. These features should be well-crafted tools, enabling the users to find, evaluate and contact rental properties, and potentially become residents. Here’s what works:
Not just search filters, but effective search filters. This website feature is paramount. Users should be able to narrow down their options based on main criteria—location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities and price range. But it can go even deeper than this and allow for more customized searches such as floor level, type of parking, or pet amenities.
Bonus tip: Make sure your database is kept up to date with unit availability and pricing. It’s hard to express how frustrating it is for a prospective resident to start filling out the application form only to find out that the unit is no longer available or that the price is different than the one displayed in the listing.
You can have the most beautifully and thoroughly designed website, but if the experience it offers is sluggish and not responsive on various devices, the user will get frustrated and dump it quickly. Make sure that your website is designed to work well on desktops, smartphones and tablets, because we live in the era of now-is-not-fast-enough and patience is running on fumes.
Comprehensive property listings
Each listing needs high-resolution photos—a video tour is a bonus as it enhances the feel of the unit and/or of the property—a detailed description, pricing information and a contact form. The COVID-19 pandemic has made 360-degree photos, virtual tours and video walkthroughs a new standard; these days everything is filtered through the digital filter first, so don’t skimp! The contact form should include options for scheduling viewings and asking questions.
Maps with local area information
Interactive maps with several layers of information such as nearby restaurants and coffee shops, schools, parks and dog parks, transportation options and trails, help the user understand the neighborhood and its conveniences. Take it up a notch and, for each map layer, include a legend with local area information. For instance, when displaying the schools in the area, have the legend display information about each. The same goes for public transport, grocery stores and more.
Saved searches and alerts
Deciding where to live is an important and not-so-easy-to-make decision. So, while some users might feel drawn to a unit at your property, they might still feel the need to shop around for a little longer until they make the final call or want to prepare well in advance. There is also the scenario in which the floorplan they want is not available at the time of their search. It is great if they can save specific listings and set alerts for when their desired floor plan is available.
Offer the users the option to calculate estimated monthly costs—rent, utilities and whatever other expenses. This helps them budget accordingly and ensure that no unpleasant surprises arise after the lease is signed.
User reviews and ratings
Reading about the property from other residents offers a personal touch to the listing/property, enhancing trust and helping prospects make informed decisions.
Property management tools
The website’s backend should offer an array of features that allow them to list and edit their listings, manage inquiries, schedule viewings and track leads. More so, analytics and reporting tools are vital, providing insights into the performance of their listings and marketing campaigns.
Depending on the area, if the website caters to a diverse audience, supporting multiple languages could be another essential feature. Another desirable feature would be a resource section containing additional information related to renting in the area, moving companies (and tips), and other local insights. Last but not least, the website’s security and privacy features should be high on the backend specs list, as users’ data should be handled and stored in a responsible and safe manner.