Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Looking for a Rental? Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

According to the most recent numbers, 81 percent of U.S. Americans have a social media profile.

Between exes, frenemies and coworkers as social media contacts you probably already vet your posts to a degree —and make sure your selfies are on-point. And you probably know that you have to be careful what you post because it can affect your offline life. Whether it is a potential employer checking your Linkedin or Twitter profile, or even government officials asking for social media profile access, your online presence matters.

More-and-more these pervasive platforms have become part of your “resume” and now, there’s a new area of life being affected by your online activity —your ability to rent that perfect apartment.

Why Renters Using Social Media Should Be Cautious:

If you are one of the 100+ million renters in the United States, it is important to take note that property management companies are now using social media as another filter in narrowing down rental property applicants.

In a tight rental market, property managers will use a number of benchmarks to screen potential renters in order to come up with a smaller list to consider for the property. The savviest renters know to prepare a rental resume and are aware of traditional criteria like credit score and rental history. A good understanding of all of these criteria can help you put your best foot forward as an applicant. Now social media has been added to the mix.

“We know that property managers need ways to narrow down lists of applicants to get the very best renters in their property,” said Nathan Miller, founder of property management software company, Rentec Direct. “Our system automatically pulls social media profiles based on applicant email addresses to help give managers one more point to consider when screening prospective renters.”

So what are property managers looking for exactly?

While it’s true that a manager cannot use social media to pass judgement on applicants in ways that violate Federal Fair Housing Laws, they can evaluate all potential renters equally to see if an applicant’s social reputation reveals violent or dangerous behavior, or reveals information that shows inconsistencies with the rental application, like lack of employment or a status about trashing a rental or getting evicted.

Most things fall into the common sense category and are similar to the screen one might employ while looking for a job. After all, a renter is entering into a professional contract with his or her property manager.

Here are just a few things that might send up the red flag:

Overly opinionated or offensive content
Violent content
Anything related to criminal activity, such as drug use
Inappropriate images
Complaints about past property managers
Photos of you and your pet (if the manager restricts pets or pet breeds in the unit)

Miller continued, “As a property manager myself, social media just helps me get a better sense of who I am renting my property to. Any real estate investor knows that a bad resident can cost you not only financially but also emotionally. Avoiding this from the outset is important and social media screening is just one more layer to ensure a good resident-manager relationship.”

It’s Not All Bad; Make Your Profile Work for You!

Thankfully, social media can also be used to find out the good stuff, so don’t fret, thinking that you have to ditch your online profile. Linkedin can show a steady employment history and help confirm employment status; Facebook can help give a sense of lifestyle; Twitter can show unique interests and conversations, just to name a few. Since your potential property manager is likely checking your accounts, use that knowledge to highlight why you’d be a perfect renter! You never know what will tip the scales in your favor so you can land that awesome new place.

After the application process is complete, your rent is likely the largest payment you have each month, meaning it’s important to have a good relationship between renter and property manager, and social platforms can be a powerful way to build positive connections.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, that much is clear. New platforms are always being developed and existing ones are continually innovating with new ways to share short, “snackable” content–and those adorable cat pictures. People are going to continue to participate and businesses and property managers are going to be looking at their profiles. It’s okay to use these tools for fun and work, but as technology platforms become more advanced, just remember to ask yourself what your post will say about you as a future resident.

Check ForRent.com’s Apartment Hunting section for more information on best practices for finding a place to call home!

About :

Brentnie is a writer and infographic master for Rentec Direct’s educational blog in the rental and property management industry. She loves to share tips and tricks to assist new and experienced renters alike. To learn more about Brentnie and to discover more great tips for renters visit www.rentecdirect.com.

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