What qualities do people look for in a roommate, landlord or tenant? Honesty, for sure; you want to know that you can trust the person with whom you share your home. Reliability goes without saying, too. A roommate who can’t keep up with their share of the rent or a landlord that doesn’t make repairs when promised can make renting a place a nightmare. How about good grammar and spelling? Sure, I guess if you’re a member of the Grammar Police, you’d prefer to deal with someone who wrote up the shopping list or the lease without any mistake. The rest of us, however, couldn’t possibly care about something as surely don’t care about something like that superficial. Or do we?
If you’re posting an ad for a roommate or tenant on Craigslist, one of the most important things to do, according to the latest research, is proofread your work. As it turns out, your high school English teacher may have been right all along: people who use proper grammar get the most responses from online ads. Though research into the specifics of the connection between proper grammar and the rental market is preliminary, it would seem that those ads with better writing do, in fact, get more responses than their competitors.
Though social scientists aren’t completely clear as to why people respond more positively towards ads that are written correctly, there are a number of theories that help shed light on this phenomenon. The old adage that states that, “A man is only as good as his word,” is pretty close to the truth. On the whole, consumers tend to respond more favorably to things that are well written, something that online advertisers have just begun to realize.
How important can proper grammar really be?
As it turns out, very. Research has shown that people are more likely to buy a product that has well-written reviews, whether those reviews are positive or negative. The writing, it seems, may be more influential than the content of the piece. Of course, content is important too, so a product that has positive and well written reviews will, naturally, sell better than a product with negative reviews. While these studies on grammar in advertisements do not apply directly to apartment rental ads, it is a fair assumption that a person’s behavior when considering a smaller purchase can be applied to the larger “purchases” done on the rental market.
What should you do to make the best use of this research?
If you’re posting an ad on Craigslist, or any other apartment rental site, it’s extremely important to read over your work before hitting send. Make sure your sentences are complete, your punctuation in the right places and your words properly spelled. Overly informal writing and writing that follows the grammar or spelling seen in text messages doesn’t belong in an ad and can discourage people from contacting you about the rental. Like anything, you want to put your best foot forward, and since ads are still a largely textual medium, you can and often are judged by the words you use. Often just writing your post in a MS Word document and running spellcheck could be the difference between an empty and a rented apartment! Or if you are using the MyNewPlace RentEngine posting tool, it has a spellcheck feature built right in! RealPage’s PropertyLinkOnline apartment marketing software is another great tool that lets you easily optimize your apartment listings on multiple sites from one easy location.
Thoughts? Experience with sloppy listings? Questions about RentEngine? We’d love to hear about them here or on our Facebook page!