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Apartment Marketing

WXXI’s Innovation Trail shares the Newdigs story

April 9, 2012 by in Apartment Marketing, Featured, Housing Market Trends, Rochester Metro Area, Technology
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We are very excited and grateful at Newdigs to have been featured on WXXI’s Innovation Trail, which highlights the budding start up economy in their ‘Company Town’ series. Zack Seward sat down with Ben & Daniel at Newdigs HQ, and talked about Newdigs’ aspirations for the coming months and years. We can’t say enough how jazzed we are to be a part of this movement in our community towards starting businesses and identifying viable products to solve market problems.

We’d really like to hear back from Rochester (and the rest of NY) about your ideas and wishes for apartment search. We’re listening!

Our New Look! – updated

May 27, 2011 by in Apartment Marketing, Featured, Newdigs, Oswego, Rochester Metro Area, Search Tools, Technology
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Updated!we’ve put out a big code update. It fixes a majority of the issues on this list, and though there are a couple problems still nagging us (photo upload for listings!), a majority of things are working!

As you might’ve noticed, we’ve had a bit of a facelift at Newdigs.com.  We’ve been hard at work trying to make the site better reflect a bit of our flair, and I think we’ve got it!  That said, you’ll notice a lot of little snags, and a couple of really big ones.  Here’s a not-so-conclusive list that I’ll be editing throughout the period of our update, until they’re all gone:

  • Editing properties / listings is broken.  This should be fixed this weekend.
  • The option to create an account has been removed, and won’t go back up until the listings thing is fixed.
  • Toggling advanced search options won’t modify your search results.
  • Flagging listings (for content, whether questionable or awesome) is broken.

Those are the big issues and they’ll be fixed as soon as we possibly can, from top to bottom.  If you spot any other issues, please feel free to drop us a note using the little “chat” icon nestled on the right side of your page.

- Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Visit our booth at the 2011 Imagine RIT Festival TODAY!

May 7, 2011 by in Apartment Marketing, Events, Featured, Henrietta, Newdigs, RIT, Search Tools, Technology
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Imagine RIT in Gordon Field House

We’re excited to participate in Imagine RIT, RIT’s festival of Innovation and Creativity, for the third year in a row!  This year, we’ll be in the Gordon Field House with our peers at Venture Creations business incubator.

If you get to our booth quick enough, you’ll be able to get your hands on the first ever Newdigs Rochester Rental Market Guide!  This is a very exclusive sneak preview of the guide, which won’t be seen by the rest of the city until Friday, May 13th, when our distributor drops them off to hundreds of area coffee shops, laundromats, and college campuses.

Please be sure to tweet to us (@newdigs) when you  stop by our booth, so we can feel the love!

10 Tips for Writing Great Apartment Listing Descriptions

September 19, 2010 by in Apartment Marketing, Landlord Tips
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Ok, you managed to take a bunch of great apartment photos, and get them uploaded to your Newdigs listing. Now you need to write a compelling description of your rental unit. The more life you can breathe into your online listing, the easier it is for a prospective renter to see themselves living in your unit. As with most other purchases in life, an apartment is generally sold on emotion… so get them fried up about living at YOUR apartment!

Here are Newdigs’ Top 10 Tips for Great Apartment Listing Copy:

1. Include all the information you can about the property itself.
the street it’s on, the size of the unit, access to parking and laundry, how many units in the property, special features like water views or a gas fireplace. Build up a clear picture of what you’re marketing.

2. Describe the neighborhood in detail.
Renters can find demographics and other stats, but what’s within walking distance? Is this a hip neighborhood with lots to do at night, or is it a ‘bedroom community’ where there is nothing but residential housing in every direction?   Why would someone want to live in your place?

3. Avoid going crazy with the superlatives.
Describing an apartment as “charming” or “amazing” might sound nice, but ultimately it doesn’t give apartment hunters any real information.

4. Help apartment hunters see themselves in your property.
Instead of saying that the apartment has a balcony and a fenced yard, you might say, “Imagine yourself relaxing with your morning coffee on the back balcony while you effortlessly keep watch of your dog secured in your fenced back yard.”

5. DON’T violate Fair Housing Laws. It should go without saying that apartment ads should never be excluding of ‘protected classes’ by suggesting that the owner will only rent to Catholics or non-gay tenants. But it can be easier than you think to be in violation. Suggesting that the unit is perfect for handicap tenants or seniors because of its ramp access and low counters can be considered steering. You can however, highlight that the unit does have ramps and low counters. See HUD’s website for more information.

6. Let them know you’re a great landlord.
Because the rental market is still terribly inefficient, renters often have no way of knowing if they are dealing with a reputable landlord. Put prospective renters at ease by offering past tenant referrals, or mentioning any accolades you may have received.

7. Give buyers a sense of the property’s history.
Mentioning recent renovations, or the fact that it has had the same owner for 30 years, will show apartment hunters that you know all there is to know about this apartment.

8. Correct grammar and spelling count.
If you don’t have someone who can proofread your work, try reading it aloud to spot any errors.

9. Address any cost of living in your apartment beyond rent. In Rochester, NY and much of the North East, utility costs in older apartment units can often exceed $300-$500/month. You’ll have a very angry renter if they budgeted for $600 rent and $100 in utilities.

10. Be Original. Statements like, “can’t miss” or “must see” get seriously overused in property listings. Take the time to think of a new way to describe what the property offers.

There you have it. Now you’ve got the framework to go out and create a rockin’ listing. With these tips you should have your vacancy filled in days, not weeks.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Dollars

by in Apartment Marketing, Landlord Tips
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You’ve heard the old phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”, but in landlord terms, that picture often translates to cold hard cash.   For many landlords, a one month vacancy can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Including pictures in your apartment listings will dramatically increase the number of renters interested in your apartment.  You’ll also only receive calls from tenants who are truly interested in your apartment’s unique set of features, rather from all the rest who only want to see more detail than the listing provided.  The more renters you manage to interest in your apartment, the sooner the rent checks will start rolling in.

Try these tips to get some extra nice apartment photos:

Plan for Natural Light
Put some thought into when the apartment will get the most sunlight.  The more sunlight available to you when you photograph the space, the less you’ll rely on your flash.  A camera flash can often make your photos look either washed out or give them a yellowish hue common of artificial lighting.  Natural light will make your apartment look light, airy, and well, natural.

This room would photograph much differently in the evening, without the natural light.

Clean up!
Nothing turns off a renter like a photo of a cluttered or dirty space.

This kitchen is too cluttered to make a good impression on an apartment hunter.

Try Exciting Angles
When you’re looking through the view-finder on your camera, experiment with standing high on a chair, or squatting low to the floor, to achieve a view of the room with more of its features included in the shot. Alternatively, if you’ve got the budget, invest in a wide-angle lens. A wide-angle lens will help bring all the details of a room into one shot, and will result in beautiful, professional-looking photos that are sure to wow apartment seekers.

A wide angle lens allowed for the entirety of this living room to fit into one photo.

Highlight unique details!
Is there something about your apartment that makes it stand out from the rest?  Nice landscaping, a fireplace, a spiral staircase, stainless steel appliances, or any number of other features can really bring life to your advertisement when included in the photos. Don’t limit your photos to just the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. If there’s a big closet, snap a photo to add more visual interest to your advertisement. Just remember not to go overboard! You want to make sure that there’s a good variety of images, but you don’t need more than 2 or 3 photos of each room at a maximum.

The exposed brick in this loft apartment makes a striking visual impact

Highlight Fixtures and Fireplaces with Night Photography
Light fixtures and fireplaces can look especially stunning at night.  If your unit happens to have either beautiful light fixtures, or a fireplace, you can highlight these features by turning them on and taking their photo at night.  You can even try capturing the glow of your fixtures from the street, looking in, to create the sense that the apartment is a cozy place to come inside to on one of Rochester’s many cold nights.

Photograph unique light fixtures in the evening when they can really shine

In Rochester, NY and the surrounding Metro area, there are several places that allow photos with apartment listing:

  • Newdigs.com – When it comes to adding lots of photos, Newdigs is your best option.  Okay, we’ll admit we’re a little biased here, but we dare you to tell us differently once you try it for yourself.  Newdigs allows for unlimited photographs with all of their listings.  Newdigs is free for any apartment of less than 25 units.  (For buildings with 25 units or more, Newdigs is free until the end of the year.  In 2011 they will begin charging $95 per month.)
  • Craigslist.org – Craigslist is extremely popular because it is free, but landlords have to be selective about which photos you post, as only 4 are permitted per advertisement.  The free advertisement also offers a very large amount of text, sufficient for any apartment advertisement.  You just need to re-post your listing every 48 hours to keep it relevant.
  • RentRochester.com – Like newdigs, Rent Rochester is a locally based company.  They allow for several photos with their $35 per month, per unit advertisements.
  • Rent.com- Rent.com’s solution for the small landlord allows for one photo per one month advertisement.  Actually, we should say it requires one photo, as it will not allow a landlord to continue with their advertisement until they add their one photo.  They tried charging $15 per lead every time an apartment seeker contacts them regarding your advertised apartment, but it does not appear to have gone over well.  Recently they changed to a flat $150 for a 60 day listing.
  • Apartments.com – Basic advertisements, $100, do not allow for a photo, but adding $5 in order to upgrade to an “Enhanced”  listing is well worth it in order to include up to 20 photographs.

How to Use Photos to Rent Your Apartment Quickly

September 13, 2010 by in Apartment Marketing, Landlord Tips
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Industrie Lofts

Industrie Lofts at High Falls Rochester

You have heard it a million times for a reason, photos really are worth a thousand words. When it comes to advertising property, a photo is probably worth about five thousand. In this era of digital cameras, video capable cell phones and $100 video recorders there is no excuse for a property owner to create a listing with no photos.  Poor listings with no photos are the number one reason that apartment vacancies extend beyond one month for the less savvy landlord.

For those of you familiar with Craigslist, one of the many limitations of the site is that it only allows four images on a listing. Newdigs’ users can upload an unlimited number of photos because we realize that renters demand as much information as can be provided. The more a renter can discover about your property online, the more qualified that lead is for you as a landlord. The last thing you want is for your email and cell phone to blow up with useless leads inquiring about every aspect of your listing.

So what pictures should you include? We recommend a minimum of:

  1. Front of property showing the property’s ‘curb appeal’
  2. Back of property highlighting the yard or possible off-street parking
  3. Main bedroom
  4. Secondary bedrooms
  5. Family room
  6. Dining room or other living area
  7. Bathroom
  8. Kitchen
  9. Special features – Fireplace, water-view, balcony or the like

Keep in Mind:

  1. Clear away clutter from view – close the toilet seat, clean up messy areas
  2. The subject of the photo (house) should take up at least 80% of the screen
  3. Don’t include pets or people in photos
  4. Use an SLR camera with a wide angle lens if possible – a photo of the corner of your bathroom doesn’t help anyone.
  5. Try not to catch yourself in the mirror
  6. Pay attention to lighting – take interior photos mid-day and exteriors are best nearer to sunset or sunrise, and avoid those really cloudy days
  7. You can HIRE NEWDIGS to take professional photos for you. We’ll even put up a lawn sign, create the listing, and post the listing for you.  Call us at 585-678-6900.

Virtual Tours, Slide-shows and Video Tours:
You have likely heard it said that you should include a virtual tour of your listing. In our humble opinion, they are pretty cumbersome and rarely give a user a much better impression of the property than a dozen good photos. If you feel that it genuinely adds value to the advertisement and gives a perspective on the property that the photos can’t, go for it. Many ‘virtual tours’ are nothing more than photos edited together and played in a movie mode. These slide shows are ok, but don’t hold a candle to a professional video tour. We are most impressed with these professional video tours. Last week we had Patrick Bayer from HouseFinderTV.com stop by our office to show us their work. We were so impressed that we will soon be offering their services on Newdigs!

In Closing:
Never be afraid to use more photos than you think you need. An interested renter will want to know and see everything they can about their potential new digs before scheduling a walk-through or signing the lease. As a landlord you only want to be dealing with highly qualified renters so you aren’t wasting time with window shoppers.