With all the options open to those investing in a rental property, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choices. You’ll want to pick the best way to help you get the most out of your investment and time.
One option is to offer your property up for rent for an extended stay. Where most people either rent their properties out for only a few days at a time, extended stays of a week or longer are in high demand. Renting out your space for weeks or even months at a time appeals to a broad market of professionals and travelers alike.
But how do you find guests willing to pay for these extended stays? Your best bet is to list your property on an online rental platform: typically an app or website that connects you with people looking for apartments for rent.
Naturally, not all platforms are made equal. Some are better designed, more popular, and better at finding paying customers for your investment property. Finding one that works best for you as a host is critical (see: The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Landlord or Host), which is why we’ve prepared this guide to finding the best online apartment platform to suit your needs.
1. Is the Rental Platform Comprehensive?
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. We live in the information age, where quick access to large volumes of information is a priceless asset. As such, anyone investing in a rental property will want to use a platform that showcases their home or apartment to the absolute best of its capabilities.
When searching for an online rental platform to use, see just how much information you can share with that platform. The more that a platform allows you to display your property’s best qualities, the better your chances would be of attracting guests.
There are simple things to look out for, like whether a platform lets you upload high resolution images. Pictures are a great, simple way of showing potential guests what they can expect from your property. If you have an especially skilled eye for interior design, then even better. But more than just visual appeal, you’ll want to be able to share the specific selling points that entice guests.
Then you can be more specific about the amenities you offer. Take a fast internet connection for example: almost every guest that books an extended stay looks for a good internet connection, especially one that's fast enough for them to get some work done. In fact, some renters have even shown that they’re willing to pay more just for the luxury of having fast and reliable internet access.
Also keep in mind what other info a prospective guest might want to know when planning an extended stay. Some guests look for precise square footage measurements. Others will want to know about parking availability and pet allowance. Showcase how well you can cater to all those various needs —on a platform that lets you do so.
2. Is the Rental Platform Organized?
Information on its own doesn’t amount to much. As any student trapped in a boring lecture can tell you, having all the information laid out for you doesn’t mean that it’ll leave an impact. As someone investing in a rental property, you’ll want an online rental platform that keeps your information organized and appealing for users, across all manner of devices.
After investing in a rental property, find an online rental platform that works well on desktop and mobile. The number of people accessing the internet on their mobile devices is rising, and as more eyes find their way onto mobile devices, it’s important to make sure your chosen platform caters well to this market.
Next, make sure the platform you’re using prioritizes the user’s experience. An easy way to do this is to try the platform out for yourself. If you were a guest looking to rent out a property for an extended stay, how would you want the relevant information displayed to you? Do you find the platform user friendly and intuitive? If it works for you, it’ll work for your leads too.
3. Is the Rental Platform Versatile?
Having invested in a rental property, you’ll want to have as much control over your property as possible. So when looking for an online rental platform, find one that offers you as much control over the practical outcomes of a booking as possible. For example, keep an eye out for platforms that allow you to switch up the duration of the stays you offer. A versatile platform lets you list shorter stays to rake in more guests at a higher volume, and longer stays to give you the security of more stable, long-term arrangements.
On the other hand, you might also want to offer extended stays of several weeks or more. This can be a very attractive option for anyone investing in a rental property, given that the market for extended stays has been steadily growing over the past few years. In fact, more people are seeking out extended stay properties than there are spaces available for extended stays.
In the end, what you’re looking for is versatility. Investing in a rental property comes with many opportunities for you to decide how you want to make your money back. Find an online platform that allows you to make those choices on the fly—your leads will surely appreciate having a variety of options available.
4. Is the Rental Platform Secure?
With the high amount of capital that goes into investing in a rental property, the last thing you need is more risk. Security and stability are key values that you should be looking for in an online rental platform, especially when they become a part of your overhead costs. After all, many people in real estate have found payment problems to be their number one issue when dealing with their property —an online platform that can streamline and secure this process is essential.
Take the time to look into how your platform facilitates payments. Online payments are a secure way to potentially handle your finances as it leaves a record of all transactions as well as being something that you can track in real time. Find a platform that makes these payments a part of their service so that you can keep an eye on all transactions right on your device of choice.
The best platforms to entrust with your invested rental property is one that manages payments itself. These are rarer to find, but you can bank on a platform that keeps track of your payments, and goes the extra mile by guaranteeing you the money that you’re owed. Guarantees of payment are a luxury for anyone investing in rental properties, and platforms that can commit to keeping your investment safe and secure are worth a look.
5. Does The Rental Platform Screen Guests?
The online rental game isn't just about the quantity of leads, but the quality as well. A good rental platform allows you to screen leads, before confirming a booking. At the very least, it should give you some information about a person such as age, location, purpose for visiting, and many others.
On top of that, it should cover you for fraud, property misrepresentation, personal damage, and the like. That way, you can rest assured that the platform has the best interests of both you, the host, and your potential guests in mind.
6. Is the Rental Platform Community-Driven?
If you’re investing in a rental property then you’ll want to put as much effort into creating a comfortable and positive experience for your guests as possible. Whether they stick around for two weeks or two months, you’ll want your guests to leave with fond memories. Not only is this valuable in providing a good experience for your guest, but also in potentially generating trust in you and your property.
Feedback from your visitors is vital. One one hand, constructive criticism, though negative, can help you improve the experience for future guests. On the other, you can use positive reviews and testimonials as leverage when chasing new tenants. A strong testimonial is one of the best ways to highlight the value of your property: it highlights your strengths as a host, and the strengths of your home or unit.
Make sure that the online rental platform you choose allows you to collect and display feedback. Better yet, aim for a platform that encourages a strong community bond among its users, and gives them a space to leave stories, reviews, and recommendations. In line with the second point on this list, check and see if the platform does a good job of spotlighting reviews —the more readable, the better. All of this encourages other users browsing the platform to convert into guests on your property.
With all this in mind, should be set to look for an online rental platform that not only secures your investment by getting you quality leads but also showcases the absolute best of your property. Remember that it’s always best to select a platform that was designed with both you and your guests in mind.
While you’re playing the field, check and see if 2nd Address has what you’re looking for. We strive to prioritize the user experience for our guests and hosts, and we worked to provide them with the qualities outlined in this guide (on top of a set of industry-leading features).
Keep all these things in mind to help you make a smart, informed choice about your investment.