The days of driving around town with the newspaper classified ads to look for an apartment may be over, according to a survey released today by Apartment Finder. The Mobile, Search and Renters study, a national survey of more than 1,500 renters put out by the publisher of U.S. housing information, shows that a growing number of people look for new digs and rentals online using smartphones and tablets at sites such as Zillow (NASDAQ:Z) and HomeAway (NASDAQ:AWAY).
The study said four out of 10 renters used a mobile device during their search for an apartment and an overwhelming majority of them — 97 percent — thought it was “valuable” to the process. Not surprisingly, 68 percent of those who used mobile devices used them to look for details like price, description, amenities and contact information, but 72 percent also looked up photos and video tours of the apartments they were considering.
Marcia Bollinger, president of Apartment Finder, pointed out a finding that 73 percent of those surveyed who opted to search via mobile devices actually used their devices to contact someone about physically viewing properties. She noted that the results are interesting for property managers and others who lease apartments because they show that “mobile users are not only browsing on their devices, but taking action to contact someone to view the listing.”
“Now is the time to leverage mobile tools to reach renters in leasing mode, right when they are actively engaged in their search process,” she added.
The study also revealed that of those who used tablets and smartphones in their apartment hunting, 59 percent searched by city, 53 percent asked for details about an apartment community, 45 percent used GPS to locate an apartment, 36 percent downloaded an apartment search app and 24 percent shared listing information with friends and family.
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