Single family rental or built-to-rent homes are currently the best performing housing asset class. They make up about a third of U.S. housing market inventory, and the pandemic has made single-family units even more desirable. Because of this, demand has increased dramatically because people are looking for safer environments (less dense) and larger spaces where they can adapt to both their daily life and their work areas without worrying about maintenance.
The financial aspect associated with LICOs for renters is attractive compared to home ownership – economic volatility continues and some may find it difficult to qualify for a mortgage. Not to mention that many might not be able to afford the loan if it is offered. There is also the need for flexibility to be able to move in the future, as no one is quite sure when or if they will have to return to the office.
All of this attracted investors to SFR and put developers to work. Currently, the available SFR inventory is limited, but growing. According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, nearly 12% of new single-family construction this year will be rental properties. According to Yardi matrix datathere is a significant regional disparity in properties under construction: more than two-thirds are on the secondary markets and the rest on the tertiary markets.
But the marketing of SFRs is not the same as for a traditional apartment community. “The biggest difference in marketing between single-family and multi-family rentals is the need for awareness, as many consumers don’t even realize it’s an option. It’s educating current multi-family residents that single-family rental is an option for them now,” said Lisa Kennedy, regional manager at TBD Management, the property management arm of Wan Bridge. MNH.
Another difference, she added, is “the reputation of scattered houses which are not managed properly”. But, especially since the onset of the pandemic, some landlords are providing five-star service and hassle-free living by maintaining the property through an on-site management team. This concept is new for the single-family but very traditional for the multi-family.
With a growing pool of single-family rentals, there is a growing need to develop attractive ways to market these assets. If you have SFRs in your portfolio, here’s what you should look at when developing your marketing strategy.
Know your tenants, use their meeting places
Reignited by COVID-19, SFRs are in high demand, especially by young families looking to move out of urban apartments and gain more space for their children or pets. Because many of those families who wanted to move into suburban housing either couldn’t buy or simply didn’t want to take on the responsibilities that come with home ownership, SFR is the next best thing.
This means adapting the presentation of your property to the audience you hope to attract. Because technology is within everyone’s reach at all times, and because both Millennials and Gen Zs are comfortable signing a lease for a property they’ve only seen online, in As an SFR operator, you must pay attention to online platforms and social media networks. For example, YPulse’s recent social media behavior report found that Millennials spend about 3.8 hours a day on social media. Gen Z is even more connected to the online environment, spending an average of 4.5 hours a day on these platforms.
“An important tip in SFR marketing is the need to be very specific in your word selection, because many consumers assume that if you build multiple single-family homes in one location, they’re for sale,” Kennedy explained. “All signage and promotional materials should clearly state that you are a rental community and not a sales community.”
Improve your SEO tactics and ensure your website keywords, asset categorization, status updates, and individual reviews are relevant to SFR prospects. This will help your property show up in Google searches. Personalize as much as you can, because standardized language can create confusion, which can turn into lost leads. One suggestion is to add a local map pack, as this can boost your property into the top three results on Google, which results in more than 40% of clicks.
Write a well-written description of the property and besides the basics – price, size, address – include information on rent payment options, pet policy, nearby services (schools, hospitals, grocery stores , etc).
Have the property ready to present
Even if it is a rental, the property will become someone’s home. Before you even put it online, make sure it’s ready to move in. If it has been rented before, call the professional cleaners, repaint if necessary, replace what is damaged and, if necessary, make updates. A “available to rent” sign on the front lawn is also a good way to bring visibility to your rental, and it also promotes word of mouth, which can do wonders.
And, we have already said: photos are the best tools to invite a future tenant to your rental, and this also applies to SFR residences. Be sure to take realistic photos and make good use of lighting.
A little effort in the beginning will pay off; after all, renters who choose to live in houses are known to live there longer than those who rent apartments.