A new frontier for listing apartments

by Jennifer Paterson19 May 2015
Forget old cardboard signs, newspaper ads or even house-hunting websites – landlords are taking to Facebook and Twitter to fill their rental units.

“I’ve shifted a lot of my marketing to social media,” said Jon Simcoe, an investor and founder of Lion Properties, based in Fort McMurray, Alta.

“I’ve been able to rent my places very quickly. Even now, I’ve got more renters who want places in Fort McMurray than places to put them.”

Simcoe mostly uses Facebook, where there are a large number of rental groups, including one called Fort McMurray Place for Rent. He also posts on other community pages that have an even wider audience. It’s a new and increasingly effective strategy for a growing number of landlords.

“There’s one group here in Fort McMurray that has more than 30,000 members,” Simcoe added. “That’s a third of the town, maybe a quarter of the town if you were to count a wider area; if you want to broadcast something to Fort McMurray, you should join that group.”

It also helps that Simcoe rents clean, affordable units, and has a good reputation, something that self-proclaimed Internet Doctor, Jay Izso, says is very important in the social media space.

“There is a key to all of this social media,” he said at RealtorQuest in Toronto earlier this month.

“We do not give our money and time to people we don't trust, we don't trust people we don't like, and we don't like people we don't know.”

Social media gives landlords the opportunity to let their prospective renters get to know the “real” them. “If you're not developing knowing, likeability and trust via social media,” added Izso, “you're doing it wrong."

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