Twenty and even ten years ago, online reviews for rental property weren’t a major factor for either tenants or landlords. But that’s not the case today. As the internet has become an even more powerful tool and a constant in our lives, reviews on rental property are becoming more common.
If your real estate business has any sort of online presence, whether it’s a website or social media, then you have the opportunity to request reviews from tenants. Of course, this can be good for bad for your business, depending on what renters are saying about you and your properties.
The Power of a Review
So just how important are reviews for you as a buy-and-hold property owner? I’d argue that they’re pretty important, especially if you own multiple rentals or commercial properties. Think about it. When you buy a big ticket item, like a new fridge or car, do you check out reviews from other consumers? If you’re a smart shopper, of course you do. So it’s only natural that, if reviews are available, prospective renters will look them up before signing a lease. These reviews could be the deciding factor on whether or not a tenant will decide to lease your unit.
How Can You Encourage Reviews?
I’m a believer in offering tenants the opportunity to leave a review. I think it sends a message of confidence, and it also allows them a platform to express themselves. Giving people the opportunity to speak out gives them a sense of power. Their words matter, and that’s a good feeling. It also provides you with constructive feedback, which is important if you desire to grow and improve as a property investor.
To encourage renters to leave a review, it can be as easy as simply telling them the opportunity exists. Direct them to your website and invite them to leave a testimonial. Some property owners I know also email tenants and include a link to their website or a survey. As an added incentive, you could also offer a small rent credit or a gift card to those who leave a review.
What To Do If Someone Leaves a Bad Review
Bad reviews are an unfortunate fact of life this business. When you open the door for people to leave feedback, you also open yourself to the potential for negativity. No investor wants this, especially if it’s left in a place where others can see it. And keep in mind that even if you don’t have a website or social media dedicated to your real estate business, tenants can still leave testimonials about you on other third-party sites.
So what happens if you do get a bad review? The first thing is to address it swiftly and directly. You don’t want it hanging around in cyberspace for everyone to see. If you have the opportunity to respond to the review, do it so you can tell your side of the story – just remember to always keep it professional and courteous. Talk to the tenant if you can, and work to resolve any conflict or neutralize any lingering bad feelings.
Of course, the best way to avoid a negative review is to prevent it by being a good landlord. This means being responsive and approachable, yet firm. Make sure you are doing everything by the book, and that your lease spells out all the terms and conditions. With your own website and social media, you can also customize the way you accept reviews. Don’t allow people to post directly to your page without your approval first, or consider offering a survey rather than an open-format review. With a survey, you are the only person who will ever see the responses, so you can choose what makes it onto your webpages.
As reviews on rental properties and landlords become more common, investors will need to work harder to ensure the information that can be found on them is positive. The power of an online review is real, and your success as an investor can be directly linked to those testimonials. Use the tips and advice above to help guide you as you navigate through this new part of investment property ownership.