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Internet transforms the way residential landlords do business.

While the landlord profession has been around for thousands of years, the widespread use of the Internet is now helping landlords do things faster, more efficiently and more securely. Just in the past five years, increased accessibility of information, and the ability to easily interact with people from all over the world has transformed the way that landlords market their apartments, communicate with tenants and manage their properties.

Nowhere is this change seen more drastically than in the New York Metro area, where the traditional method of using a broker has been in use for decades. From the landlord's perspective, the Internet's advantage of immediate and mass communication is a huge advantage over the limited reach of yesteryear. Now, on sites such as Rent-Direct.com, apartment seekers from all over the world can access information on available apartments including photographs, neighborhood maps, floorplans and street panoramas. Most of the 900 landlords that we deal with say they receive qualified inquiries within hours of giving us the listing. For them, the use of the Internet has become a real asset when they are looking to lease an available apartment.

Landlords in outer boroughs are now also being exposed to a larger array of Manhattan renters looking for a good value.

Without any additional effort, all apartment seekers who use Rent-Direct.com also have access to listings in Queens, Brooklyn and New Jersey -- giving landlords a greater pool of qualified candidates from which to draw.

Once a landlord has a prospective tenant, application and credit checks need to be completed before a lease is signed. Once a lengthy process of telephone calls, landlords can now check credit references using a variety of online credit reporting services. This technology decreases the amount of time the landlord spends on each application -- reducing administrative costs. It also expedites the lease-signing process, securing a qualified tenant with as little wait as possible.

Tenant relations are also a key area in which the Internet is changing the business. Many landlords especially the large management companies -- are communicating with their residents regarding community policy, special events, scheduled maintenance etc. via a residents-only Web site. Sites like EdificeRex.com, used by several Manhattan property managers, have secure tenant log-on to access a specific building's Intranet. Smaller landlords can also get in on the action by gathering tenant e-mails and putting together a low-cost e-mail newsletter. These e-mails are a great way to convey important information to tenants and get instant feedback.

Industry sites including Rentals.com and Inman.com offer landlords a community of knowledge to help them stay abreast of current issues, property management methods and legislation. In particular, Rentals.com sets up a property-site for the landlords to help them manage and track leads, expedite lease applications and schedule appointments with prospective residents. Industry news sites are essential for the dedicated property owners to stay current about trends and breaking real estate news.

Although I am not a landlord myself, I look forward to continuing the Internet marketing revolution through Rent-Direct.com.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:BAROCAS, RALPH
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 21, 2001
Words:505
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