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Are Your Prospective Residents Local? Google Data May Surprise You.

September 08 2014

Do you know where your future prospects and renters currently live?

You may have some notions about the demographics of your target residents — their occupations, their price points, the amenities that appeal to them — but do you know where those target renters are living now?

New research shows they may be farther away than you imagined.

A recent Google report reveals that a substantial number of people are searching for rentals in a different city or state. Check out these tips to make sure your listings are getting in front of as many potential renters as possible.

Search Horizons Are Broad

According to the Google report, 57% of people search for rentals within their current city, while 65% search within their current state. In other words: 1 in 3 renters are searching out-of-state, while nearly half are looking at a different city.

The average user's search radius expands to 338 miles away from their current location. Renters in "hot markets" are especially likely to broaden their search scope. In the top 10 most in-demand cities, 30 to 50 percent of renters are searching for properties more than 50 miles away.

trulia google local real estate search

What This Means for Your Business

On the whole, consumers are moving further away than you might expect. How can you find rentersfind renters who may be 50 to 300 miles away?

Follow these five steps:

1. Take Advantage of Online Advertising

Advertising your rentals online is the best way to find renters not located in your area. Many consumers research online, which is a quick and easy way to compare numerous potential properties.

Make sure your properties have attractive, easy-to-find online listings that include plenty of pictures and a clear way for interested renters to contact you. Remember that out-of-town renters are trying to gather as much information as possible from a distance, so include as much information as you can. If you can include added features like a 360-degree video tour, even better.

2. But Don't Overlook Local Marketing

While it's true that renters are looking at properties farther away, don't forget that 57% are still searching in-city and 65% in-state. Consumers in the South and Southeast are especially willing to move nearby; they tend to have smaller search areas than their counterparts up north.

The lesson to landlords and property managers is that local marketing is still valuable. While you want to keep out-of-town searchers in mind when advertising your properties, don't neglect to make use of traditional venues like classifieds in the local newspaper and placing a sign in the front.

3. Make Consumers Feel at Home

Whether your renters are coming from around the corner or across the country, you want to make them feel at homefeel at home in your properties. Stage each unit in a manner that highlights its selling features. Keep towels, soaps, and candles in the bathroom, and place a vase of flowers on the kitchen table.

4. Consider Offering a Furnished Option

Ask the property owner if he or she would consider providing a "furnished" unit, for the benefit of out-of-town renters who might not be hauling couches and chairs from 300 miles away. If the owner agrees, you could list the property at two price points: unfurnished and furnished.

5. Highlight the Area

In addition to describing the property itself, emphasize the best aspects of the neighborhood. Is it close to local attractions? Near a subway station? Around the corner from a park?

Include photos of nearby attractions in your online listings, or post a screenshot of a Google map showing neighborhood hotspots. This is particularly helpful for out-of-town viewers who don't know the area.

Wherever a potential renter is coming from, help them view your property as their new home.

trulia google rental and landlord tips

This article was originally published on the Trulia Pro blog. You find it, and other articles for real estate agents, herehere.