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Online reviews rank higher than friends' rental referral

Prospective renters place higher importance on online reviews than referrals from friends and family, according to a study released at the National Apartment Association Education Conference & Exposition.

The first-ever multifamily study on ratings and reviews entitled Highly Recommended: The Influence and Impact of Online Ratings & Reviews to Apartment Searchers found 70 percent of prospective renters researched community ratings and reviews before selecting their current apartment home.

Respondents ranked online ratings and reviews (11.4 percent) as a more important factor in the apartment search process than referrals from friends and family (9.5 percent). Renters still ranked location (75.5 percent), price (70.1 percent), in-person property visit (23.6 percent) and community website (14.1 percent), at the top of the list. However, the data, compiled by Kingsley Associates, underscores the growing importance of community ratings and reviews.

Data gathered from more than 29,900 current renters indicates a significant shift among the use and consumption of certified ratings and reviews to influence rental housing decisions.

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