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Much has drastically changed in rental markets nationwide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Moving trends and rental prices have been significantly impacted by job losses, remote working, and more, leaving the marketplace a confusing place to navigate. There are existing tools, however, that many agents and brokers have not yet leveraged that would give renters and landlords a clearer picture of their local markets: Multiple Listing Services (MLSs).

Although it’s standard to upload for-sale listings to the MLS, they are highly underutilized in the rental space. In fact, approximately only 370 of 571 MLSs across the U.S. feature rental listings. These are missed opportunities for increased lead generation, branding and visibility. And, overall, the inclusion of rentals within MLSs provides an elevated experience for everyone involved in the rental transaction.

Here are three reasons why you should put your rentals on the MLS:

1. You gain competitive advantage in the rental space.
The biggest benefit? Exposure. By putting your rentals on the MLS, you provide more tenants with the opportunity to find your listed properties. This helps to not only close your rental transactions faster, but also gives you added opportunities for lead generation. Every time you put a rental listing on the MLS, you’re getting your name and branding out there, allowing more consumers to reach out and providing more opportunities for lead capture.

Additionally, adding rental listings to the MLS should be part of every agent’s long-term lead conversion strategy. Think of it as an investment in your business—you are building your pipeline of future business because those rental leads will likely convert into residential for-sale clients down the line. Also, keep in mind that adding rental listings to your MLS is another opportunity to bolster your contact database during for-sale market downturns.

2. The quality of data provides a more holistic view of the rapidly changing market.
Rental availability in urban communities has increased considerably, resulting in more vacant units. There’s growing interest in both urban and suburban markets, with search impressions for these segments up 56 percent and 63 percent year-over-year, respectively, according to Apartments.com. Additionally, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, many renters are looking for properties outside their local markets—38 percent, according to search impressions research.

In order to succeed in this competitive rental environment, agents must be able to rely on solid data that provides clear visibility into these shifting market trends. Without this critical information, agents can’t provide consumers with a full-picture view of what’s available to them, especially across varying housing configurations, including multifamily properties, condos, townhomes, single-family rentals and duplexes. By putting rental properties on the MLS, agents and brokers have access to advantageous, high-quality data that allows them to better serve their landlords and renters. This data is especially important for those for-choice renters, typically members of the millennial generation, who have been making the proactive decision to rent for longer periods of time.

3. You maximize exposure by ensuring your rental listings are connected to data feeds.
You can further maximize the exposure garnered from listing your rental properties on the MLS by ensuring they are connected to data feeds. What does this mean? If your MLS has an automatic data feed with third-party rental listing sites, all of the MLS’s rental listings will be syndicated automatically to those sites. Some data feeds are set up where listings are shared by default, but in other cases you would be required to opt-in first to the sites you designate before your listing data automatically gets sent to those rental search sites.

Why do this? Emerging technology can help you maximize exposure for your rental listings. While putting your rental listing on the MLS is the first step toward increased visibility, by allowing your property to populate on more sites, your properties can be seen by an entirely new audience, allowing you to reach potential renters who may not be looking on the MLS.

Keep in mind, however, that not all sites are created equal. You want to ensure you retain the power of your listings. On Apartments.com, any leads received from your listing are yours to keep. While other sites may make you pay in order to maintain the exclusivity of your leads, Apartments.com does not charge you, or sell or share your leads with any of your competitors.

Additionally, if your MLS is a partner of Apartments.com, you don’t have to double your work. By inputting the information into the MLS once, your listing data automatically feeds out across the Apartments.com Network, so any changes you make to your listing on the MLS get updated across the entire network, including ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder, Apartment Home Living, Westside Rentals, Apartamentos.com and ForRentUniversity.com, as well.

Getting started is simple. You already have the tools; you just need to leverage them. First, speak with your broker and local MLS. Let them know why opting into a data feed agreement with Apartments.com will not only benefit your business, but the brokerage’s as a whole. Apartments.com provides a myriad of opportunities for increased lead generation; the rental portal boasts 70 million-plus monthly visits by in-market renters, 1 million-plus leads every month sent to brokers and agents, and 40 million-plus leases signed and counting. Apartments.com has a partnership with roughly 250 MLS across the United States.

Check if your MLS is a data-feed partner. If not, speak with your MLS about setting up a data-feed with Apartments.com so you don’t miss out on leads. Visit Apartments.com to learn more today. Learn more at www.apartments.com/mls-listings.

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