Online Reviews Still Play Major Role for Renters

The vast majority of American renters look at a property’s online ratings even after a recommendation, according to a survey by reputation management company Binary Fountain.
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Online property reviews continue to be major factor in a renter’s decision-making process, according to online reputation management company Binary Fountain, which just released its latest survey, 2019 Renter Insight & Digital Engagement.


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Conducted by SurveyMonkey Audience, the survey was commissioned by Binary Fountain in May of this year and reveals renters’ thoughts and behavior when it comes to searching, evaluating and sharing their experiences online.

According to the survey findings, 85 percent of respondents said they look at online ratings and reviews of properties even after a getting a positive recommendation from a family or friend and 64 percent of renters in the U.S. are willing to spend more to live in a property that received more positive reviews and/or higher rankings.

Listing giant Zillow took the number one spot as the primary go-to for renters looking at ratings and reviews, with 58 percent of respondents saying they use the site, followed by Google with 51 percent, Apartments.com with 48 percent, Realtor.com with 29 percent and Craigslist with 25 percent. Additionally, 92 percent of prospective renters that responded to the survey felt it was helpful when a property manager responded to an online review.

Unexpected results

Much of the results were par for the course on what Binary Fountain has learned through its surveys, but some of the findings were surprising, Executive Vice President Andrew Rainey told Multi-Housing News.

Rainey and his team assumed that the question of whether renters would still seek out reviews online for a property even after getting a good recommendation would garner a big response, but they weren’t prepared for just how much.

“I assumed that would come back high but I don’t think I expected it to be that high,” said Rainey, who was also surprised to see how many respondents felt about the importance of a property manager’s response to an online review.

“I thought it was also interesting that the positive reviews weighted heavier than the negative,” he said. “I would have thought that would have been the opposite.”

When it came to renters actually leaving a review themselves, 64 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to leave a review. Rainey was even more shocked by the results, especially given the nature of websites and online retailers constantly inundating users with requests to review their services and products.

“I would have thought you’d start to see some of the fade but the willingness of renters to actually leave a review, I thought that was incredibly high,” said Rainey.