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If You’re Not Promoting Rentals, You’re Missing The Boat!

July 5, 2011  |  by RETechnology

The world has changed. Many consumers that used to want to live the “American Dream” of homeownership have given up on that dream – at least for now – and have turned to renting, instead of buying. They may have lost their home, or simply don’t believe that buying a home is a good investment anymore. Still others simply cannot afford to buy a home because they have lost their job or they have been forced to take a lower paying job just to keep food on the table.

Are we just going to abandon these folks because they aren’t buying a home “at this moment”? We may not be trying to ignore them, but in fact we are by not providing any options for them to learn about rentals from organized real estate.

Did you know that nearly 1/4 of all real estate traffic online is going to rental sites like, and others? Collectively, leading rental sites have MORE traffic than, Trulia or Zillow. And that number doesn’t even include the huge focus companies like MSN Real Estate and AOL Real Estate are placing on rentals through their partnership with

At the MLS Cloud conference in Houston we talked about ways to make MLS Consumer Websites more attractive and sticky. Most MLS consumer sites do not include rentals. Historically it has been really difficult to encourage rental companies or even agents for that matter to submit rental listings. They didn’t see as part of their core business. Times have changed, though. Consumers are now switching back and forth from home ownership to rentals seamlessly. Some properties for sale are also for rent especially in some of the more distressed markets. Are MLSs do all they can to address this unmet need? Have they put a full court press on this opportunity as a way to keep consumers engaged with the real estate community until they are ready to come back and buy again?

I would highly suggest that every MLS with a consumer-facing site think about a way to make it really easy to shop for rentals and for sale properties. You will secure more consumer eyeballs and you may gain some new property manager subscribers at the same time. If we’re serious about making MLS sites one of the most important tools we offer to subscribers, then we need to break ground on some new thinking.


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6 responses to “If You’re Not Promoting Rentals, You’re Missing The Boat!”

  1. We work with renters and show rental properties on our website. It is a must! Our sales professionals are building great relationships with the renters (or "buyers in waiting") as we like to call them. We also have a great property management division that is constantly acquiring new properties because we market to people not quite ready to purchase (or sell).

  2. MRIS_CMO says:

    "Buyers in waiting" is brilliant! I remember years ago some great sales training; "it's not NO, it's just NOT NOW". That fits well with your philosophy. In this market quality opportunities take on many different "cover stories" and it's smart for you folks at Prudential Carruthers to be on the case! Best wishes for continued success. John Heithaus
    ps — we're launching a new soon and future versions will have more for renters and people seeking property management services, thanks for pointing us in that direction.

  3. Boyd says:

    Great perspective and it certainly rings true in today's quirky market. I say go for it.

  4. I am the broker/owner for HMC and a member of MRIS since it began. Please give us a call at 301-791-6060 office or my cell phone 301667-5858.
    We have been working with renters , property owners , and agents working with buyers and sellers. HMC has always paid for new properties to manage then when owner can sell give listing back to referring licensed agent, and the same goes with the renters agents bring us. Thanks Craig Harshman GRI, ARM, Broker Md, Pa, NARPM

  5. Christina Engerman says:

    I work with renters all the time, some have returned to me for a second rental in preparation for that home purchase. I also get many referrals from them some have been for home purchases because I don't treat renters as if they were "second class citizens". My rental listing clients retun to me as well. Just remember it is easier to turn around a rental than a sale and sometimes the renter will buy the property

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