Prior to the rise of the internet, apartment hunting was dominated by print. Potential residents armed themselves with classified ads from newspapers, fliers found on bulletin boards, and, in larger communities, with apartment magazines filled with listings from residential buildings in their city. It was then a matter of footwork. Visiting all the listings that looked promising only to discover that the neighborhood wasn’t right or the property was in disrepair, etc. Apartment hunters of the past could spend weeks trying to pinpoint the perfect residence.
Today, all they need is a computer or smart phone with a solid internet connection and the weeks of research and time spent trekking from property to property can be accomplished in a few hours. This is thanks to leading real estate visionaries like Daniel Drimmer who evolved a number of technologies that make finding and renting an apartment a whole lot easier.
One of the most obvious advances of the real estate industry online was the birth of the virtual tour. The first examples of this tool appeared in the form of still photos that provided a 360 degree view of a given room or apartment complex. Once streaming video became an option, Drimmer and other leaders began creating true video tours of properties and specific units. This meant that instead of having to drive to every potential apartment, searchers could quickly watch short video clips and eliminate those that weren’t worth the time, or gas mileage, to visit. Thanks to Drimmer, today’s residential rental companies post their virtual tours on video sharing sites as well as their company Starlight Investments websites in order to give potential residents all the information they need.
Another important tool that was pioneered by Drimmer is the interactive map. Renters can search for available units by geography. The best maps allow for filtering by specific features and amenities. Since location is the most important aspect of any real estate transaction, it only makes sense that being able to see properties on a map would be a key part of the apartment hunting process.
In addition to these two features, more and more apartment sites have started offering the online lease application. Prospective residents can easily complete the application from home, work, or, using a smart phone or other handheld device, from anywhere they like. Efficient companies will be able to offer quicker decisions, since all the information is provided digitally, rather than having to be gleaned from a paper application. The overall savings in time and energy is invaluable.
Tools like these are what set apart companies like Drimmer’s Starlight Investments from rental companies that rely on the now old-fashioned process of printed listings and time-consuming site visits.
Image courtesy Joelk75 via Flickr. Creative Commons License.