Renters Look to Friends’ Recommendations When Hunting for New Digs

New York--Renters' aren't just looking at traditional advertising when searching for new apartments.

New York–Renters’ aren’t just looking at traditional advertising when searching for new apartments, they’re relying more and more on friends’ opinions shared through social media sites, according to ForRent.com.

It’s all about trust. Citing a study by Nielsen and Facebook, which found that consumers put their friends and peers’ opinions above all others when making a purchase decision, ForRent.com has concluded that prospective renters make their decisions in much the same way. The company has the numbers to support its case on the benefits of friends sharing information on apartment properties.

“Implementing the social media ‘share’ tool on ForRent.com has proven to be beneficial to property managers,” Brock MacLean, ForRent.com senior vice president of national sales and development, says. “In April alone, nearly 9,000 apartment listings on ForRent.com were shared on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Since the tool’s launch, more than 58,000 listings have been shared.”

Some in the apartment management industry do believe the trend of renters relying on friends’ online references has its benefits, but that it does not improve or hinder leasing activity by any great degree. “Restaurants and music–those are different types of purchases with different frequencies and prices, compared to apartments,” Donald Davidoff, group vice president, strategic systems with Englewood, Colo.-headquartered national apartment operations company Archstone, tells MHN. “Prospective renters are going to take the time to do research. They’re not going to rent on a whim, like they would take a chance on spending $20 on a recommended restaurant. We have a share tool on our website and it gets use. If you put anything out there, it will be used, but we don’t believe that if it’s removed we’ll see a drop in vacancy.”