The age of social media: how landlords can benefit
From listing properties and finding tenants, to screening prospective tenants and much more, the uses of social media in the rental sector are wide ranging.
In the age of social media, personal information is fast becoming public property. Millions are now willingly sharing information which was previously confidential; photos, political views, work history and even whereabouts can be found in a few clicks. It’s now easier than ever to build a picture of someone’s habits and tendencies with just basic information.
The applicability to the rental market is obvious; 11% of landlords now routinely check social media profiles of prospective tenants as part of their screening process.
While this may seem more of a personality report and cannot replace hard facts like credit checks and criminal records, it helps build an overall picture of the prospective tenant which would be impossible to glean from information provided by traditional sources.
Many part-time landlords are also using social media to find new tenants, other than saving on letting agent fees, the benefits of finding a tenant in your social network, and therefore someone you implicitly trust, can be priceless. And even if you don’t know the person well, you can quickly build trust through mutual friends.
Using social media in a more traditional way also has huge benefits. Facebook has an advertising feature which allows targeting ads for rental properties towards specific audiences within their 2 billion active user base. While smaller landlords may find this too expensive, the wider reach may appeal to large portfolio managers. Of course, if you do go this route, you will lose the personal touch of posting on your own timeline, etc.
But social media has its risks, if you are using it to screen tenants, you should consider using it as a quick way to spot red flags, rather than relying on it to fully guide your decision making.
There’s also a question of ethics, is it fair to judge someone based on the few things they share online? Do you feel comfortable looking at a stranger’s profile without their consent? What if it was the other way around? Letting the prospective tenant know they will be checked online may allay some of these concerns.
However, you may feel about social media, it’s here to stay. Other than a few moral qualms, there’s no reason not to use social media as part of your screening process, indeed it is likely to become a generally accepted part of a modern landlord’s due diligence. The sooner you get onboard, the better.
Arthur Online is a cloud-based platform that enables property managers to respond instantly and solve problems fast from anywhere in the world, be it with tenants, contractors, property owners or letting agents. Since launching in 2015, it has helped thousands of property managers like Marc run their portfolios in the cheapest, most efficient way possible by using the full potential of new technology and cloud computing. See how Arthur can help your business by going to https://www.arthuronline.co.uk/private-rental/?utm_source=Property%20and%20Development&utm_medium=article