You can list your rental property with a letting agent that has the finest website in the world, a site that is slick, simple, fast to use, and which features a wonderful selection of properties for sale and to let, including yours. But what is the point if it receives minimal online traffic because it is not visible to the main search engines?
With most renters now starting their home search online, clearly it is important that whatever platform you use to advertise your property with, whether through an agent or not, it must have a notable internet presence - ideally a website that ranks highly with the major search engines to ensure that your buy-to-let property investment receives the highest level of interest.
Bing, Yahoo, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, AOL, are all among the market's main players, but when it comes to search engines, there is one universal truth: if you are not on Google, you don't exist. No question. Google remains the most used search engine in the world, far outdistancing its competitors, with around an 80% share of unique searchers.
With the start of the new academic year getting underway this week, many students have stepped up their efforts to find rental accommodation, with new research revealing that more students (59%) now use Google to find accommodation over and above traditional routes, such as letting agents (25%).
The annual 'What Students Seek' report, by Accommodation for Students, also revealed that 58% use dedicated accommodation websites during their property search, while 44% will go to the university accommodation office to find their ideal place to live; 92% of students rate proximity to university as the most important factor when finding accommodation.
Glide Utilities, the specialist student utilities and service provider, can reveal that private student rentals are on the rise for the 2016/17 intake. This has risen by £10 a week year-on-year since 2013, or £43 a month, with the majority of students now paying more than £100 a week in private rental costs.
But while today's student pays more, the 'What Students Seek' report found that they are also expecting a lot more in return from their accommodation.
Two thirds (67%) now have bills included as standard in their rent which is the highest ever recorded, helping to make household disputes over electricity and gas a thing of the past. Some 64% of today's students deem the provision of double beds an important factor when choosing a room to rent, while 40% will only look at a room with ensuite facilities. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of students will not consider a property unless it has a solid broadband connection: 85% of students view this as a necessity.
Despite increasing costs and growing concerns around debt, almost half of students (47%), believe that the price they pay represents good value for money, and an overwhelming majority, (76%) are generally satisfied with their accommodation, which is a credit to many of the landlords operating within the sector.
James Villarreal, CEO at Glide Utilities said of the 2016 What Students Seek report: "In line with national rent increases, the cost for private student accommodation is also on the rise, which must be a consideration for students budgeting their time at university. Avoiding additional costs created by bills is one way students can help to manage their expenditure, which is why we're seeing a greater demand for bills-inclusive rates from students, and more landlords offering this as standard. Our report highlights what students are looking for in their accommodation and how they go about finding the right place to meet their needs."
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