When searching for apartments, you’ll probably want to learn everything you can about the apartments you’re interested in. You’ll check out pictures and virtual tours, scope out available floor plans, read property descriptions and discover their amenities. You may also read online reviews.
Reviews should be read, after all you will likely live in the apartment for a year or more. However, reviews can be a little tricky. Just how reliable are online apartment reviews? Let’s take a look and deconstruct apartment reviews so you are able to get the most out of them!
First, check the date. Pay closer attention to recent reviews over reviews that are older than one year. Why? The apartment could be under new management, had staff changes, or undergone renovations and the older reviews do not reflect the current condition, management or staff.
Star Ratings. Have you ever noticed the majority of apartment reviews are either very bad as in 1 star or glowing reviews with 5 stars? Why? Well when everything is satisfactory, people are far less likely to write a review. Reviewers are often motivated by EXTREME feelings, either positive or negative. It is highly likely if a tenant has a bad experience they will post a negative review. Whereas, if a tenant has a great experience they are only about half as likely to take time to write a positive review. This is why a more established apartment may have an imbalance of more negative reviews than positive reviews.
Pay attention to details. A vague review or a review that sounds near exact to another review may be a false review. Sometimes one person can post multiple negative reviews. You may come across a review that’s a generic complaint. They don’t offer many details, but they will make a blanket statement like, “This place has roaches!” Or “poor management” and tell you “don’t rent here,” but they don’t provide anything except what I like to call “words of warning”.
A reviewer that gives specific details about what they like or don’t like about living at the property, and provides a detailed assessment may be more reliable. Repetitive or recent detailed negative reviews may be of concern.
Ask Questions. So, what do you do when you love a property with poor reviews? ASK QUESTIONS. Ask your locator if they have heard anything negative about the property. You can always ask the apartment manager about any reviews that concern you. Apartment staff should be upfront with what they know. If the manager’s response acknowledges some fault and explains how they remediated the issue - take note. If the manager’s response is defensive or doesn’t take time to answer your question - take note.
Of course everyone wants to live at a community with 100% positive reviews. Those are challenging to find unless you are leasing at a newer built property and sometimes those are not within budget. Do your due diligence when analyzing reviews by gathering as much information as you can to make an informed decision. And trust your gut feeling!
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