Website Combines Apartment Listings with Social Media to Produce More Qualified Leads

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorAtlanta—RentWiki.com launched a Website that integrates social media with property listings, allowing, it says, apartment seekers to vet their potential new neighborhoods and providing property managers with more qualified leads.RentWiki offers property managers free unlimited listings, charging only for phone calls and emails generated by the site. Managers can control their spending by capping the number of leads at an adjustable level of their choosing. Additionally, all renter leads sent to an apartment community reportedly are reviewed and validated as legitimate leads.“We are the only [internet listing service] who reviews every lead,” Robert Turnbull, president, RentWiki.com, tells MHN. “When we send it through, we know who that person is, where they called from, what they are looking for, and we charge based on that lead.”Turnbull notes that the average property management company reports that Internet leads convert at 5 percent, from lead to lease, and guidebooks convert at approximately 3 percent. Because RentWiki.com provides more information about the property and the neighborhood in which it is located, Turnbull asserts that RentWiki’s preliminary numbers show a conversion rate of 20 to 30 percent.Prospects can review neighborhood content—contributed by current renters—and interact with potential neighbors. RentWiki.com includes neighborhood reviews, pros and cons, and renter recommendations. Turnbull notes that the company will soon be adding a Facebook application for current and prospective renters to begin dialogues.“Renters can now come in and learn all about their neighborhoods. The property gets a really good, qualified lead, and the property in turn pays $10 for every lead—that’s one-fifth of the cost they are paying for other sources,” notes Turnbull. This pay-by-lead model, he explains, is based on property mangers’ existing frustrations of contracts with no out-clauses and the difficulty in tracking based on pay-by-lease models, as well as the effect the current economy is having on budgets.“You have minute control over every dollar you spend,” notes Turnbull. “In this economy, when people’s dollars are shrinking, we can turn this on or off.” In addition, he notes that more qualified leads results in people moving and breaking leases less frequently, which saves both the property and the renter money.
RentWiki.com currently has information on 10,000 properties and 205 management companies nationally. As the company continues to expand, Turnbull estimates that the site will have 20,000 properties listed within the next year or two.