The Search For a College Apartment

College students, like everyone else, do in fact need to find housing and usually at a more frequent rate than the average person. However, if you assume that college kids do things in the same way as the rest of the general population you are making a big mistake.  If you are a property manager who manages housing for college students (or just housing for this generation at all) you may want to take a different approach when it comes to apartment marketing.

The college student’s way of searching and dealing with all things property management is as follows (all information following is taken from personal, and current, experience with student housing):

The first thing that this demogrpahic will do when searching for an apartment is look online.  There is almost no exception for this rule; when we want to look for something, we start on the internet.

So, we’re online looking for apartments, reading reviews about local property managers and how they manage their properties and residents. However, when it really comes down to it, the thing we’re looking at most is price. Above all, this is the most important thing to us (trust me, I know of kids sharing tiny rooms just so they can divide up the rent).  With costs being so important to us, it is important that you give us something within our budget.  With the right property management software such as VaultWare, you can get the right pricing for your property. For example, Market Comps enables you to collect competitive rent data and have visibility into historical trends (and much more), all without making your life more complicated.

Another thing to mention: when we’re looking for these apartments, we’re most likely doing it way past regular work hours. Don’t you remember that college kids sleep during the day? Having your apartment information available is very important when it comes to catering to this demographic. This is just another reason why it is of utmost importance that you have the correct property management software to cater to our needs!

After we have finally decided the right property for us, filled out the necessary paperwork, and paid the correct amount of money, we move in.  Here is where things can get complicated.  With a normal non-college student resident you would probably expect maintenance requests and such on time.  With college students, you may not get so lucky.  Essentially, if we don’t have the ability to submit a maintenance request easily, we’ll most likely forget to do it for… a while. Don’t believe me? Consider this real life evidence: I live directly next to my realty company on my campus and I live with 6 people. Despite passing by the building every single day my roommates and I take about 3 weeks to submit any problems we have. Maybe it’s because we think someone else will do it, maybe it’s because we’re always running late, or maybe it’s just because we’re lazy, all I know is you probably don’t want a ceiling leaking into a living room (true story!) unattended for 3 weeks.

So what’s the solution for the potential catastrophe? Simply get the right property management software for us to use.  For example, Resident Connect will allow us to submit maintenance reports online (another thing to help us procrastinate writing our ten-page-due-tomorrow papers!) and view status updates. As you can see,  college students are a different breed and need to be catered to very specifically. Using the right property management software is essential to making us happy, clean and well-behaved residents. How will you make renting easier and more streamlined for college students? Are there any problems in the resident lifecycle of college students that you think still need to be addressed? Let us know!



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