Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Listing Lingo

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Listing Lingo

Article excerpt

Online listing services are a real time saver

Time-strapped renters are increasingly turning to the Internet when hunting for their next apartment. To meet the demand, a number of online apartment listing and relocation services have cropped up, each one offering a growing list of features and amenities.

Listing services provide service packages for apartment owners and managers on a monthly subscription basis. Relocation services are paid on a contingency basis.

While many of the online listing companies offer similar services, there are some differences. Most services offer four or five packages costing from double digits up to $500 a month, according to John Wheary, general manager of Virginia Beach-based www.forrent.com. "They're very flexible, and some offer a la carte services as well," he said.

In the case of Wheary's company, users choose their own packages based on the level of service needed. In order to assist them in determining that level, www.forrent.com assigns sale reps who double as consultants. "We don't sell what users don't need," he said. "Our objective is to lower costs and increase ROI for the user."

Chicago-based www.apartments.com offers silver, gold and platinum listing packages costing up to $280 a month. Tim Fagan, senior vice president and general manager, said packages are sold on a 12-month subscription basis.

Relocators offer different services. For example, San Antonio-based www.moveforFREE.com bills itself as the first apartment relocation service offering residents traditional online listing services combined with a free local move. The company offers three moving options, depending on whether it serves one or both of the markets involved in the move.

James Schermerhorn, CEO and president of www.moveforFREE.com, said the firm has its own services, such as utility connections, and also is partnering with other vendors to provide bundled services including credit screening, furniture and appliance leasing among others.

Wheary said his firm assigns one customer service rep to every two sale reps to optimize results with users. Fagan's company has 10 customer service reps and a sales force of 35 accountable for service to properties and management companies.

Regarding amenities, Wheary said all listing services have the same base of photos, virtual tours, complete description of properties and links to management companies. "Photos sell the product," he said. …

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