Successful real estate professionals understand the importance of keeping up on market demands and pressures. Knowing what factors contribute to the current state of the real estate market helps them adapt and update their practices to maximize potential sales. Many of the same influences on the buy and sell markets also affect the rental side, but some events impact it more than others.


Why the Apartment Search Is Changing

In 2020-2021, a mix of negative and positive influences exerted pressure on the residential rental market, some pre-dating the pandemic and others arising from it. 

Negative Influences

COVID-19: The pandemic itself ranks as the top negative factor influencing the rental market as it caused demand for apartments to fall dramatically in 2020. However, some outcomes in response to COVID-19, such as huge concessions, benefited renters. But, as Covid-era concessions declined in 2021, other changes (discussed below) gained greater staying power.

Distrust of Listing Websites: Even before the pandemic, a general distrust for listing websites became common because of how inaccurate they can be. Listing websites sometimes leave unavailable apartments up long after landlords rent them out to make it appear like renters have tons of options. Information on these listings can also prove incorrect, providing the wrong prices, amenities, or other features. Nobody wants to pick an apartment because it offers a gas stove only to arrive and find an electric one.

Lack of Transparency: Whether struggling to get hold of landlords and leasing offices, or attempting to navigate the application and lease signing process, clients often come to us frustrated by the convoluted apartment search process. A dearth of clear information and advice transforms an already stressful process into an unmanageable one. Clients want answers, they want a set of steps to follow, and they want reliable sources of information that they can trust. 

Positive Influences

A Newer, Better Way to Search: AptAmigo corrects all of those market pitfalls with its innovative search process tailored precisely to the needs of apartment renters. In keeping with our mission and values, we take the hassle out of apartment hunting by performing all the hard tasks, leaving the exciting parts of the decision process to the clients. The best part: it’s completely free for clients to use our services!

Better Technology Becoming Available: The real estate industry struggled for a long time to adopt newer technologies with the potential to advance the profession. Luckily, thanks to certain companies, such as AptAmigo, and, more recently, spurred on by the pandemic’s impetus, the industry is inching forward. As more technologies become available, real estate companies adopt them quicker, and some startups even build new tools. AptAmigo, for instance, built its own custom CRM to match our innovative workflow.

What’s Changing

Here are just a handful of ways that the apartment rental landscape is changing: 

Heavier Reliance on Online Reviews

People trust Google reviews more than just about any other source. They want to hear from others with firsthand experience before choosing a building, or even signing up to use AptAmigo’s free service. 

Increase in Demand for Virtual Tours

Virtual tours existed before the pandemic, but the rate at which people choose them increased dramatically when COVID-19 took hold. Now, our sales team and touring agents give virtual tours on a regular basis.

Shifts in Where People Live

The pandemic allowed more people to work from home. In response, many workers moved out of the city to more affordable suburbs. Now, as more employees move back into the city again, the urban population continues to shift as the pandemic unfolds. It will likely take some time for these changes to stabilize. How many people will return to the city vs. staying remote remains a mystery.

Overall, renters want greater flexibility in their living situations, including the ability to move when they choose. With so much instability and uncertainty plaguing the world right now, more and more renters desire short-term leases. Some buildings will offer concessions to renters willing to sign long-term leases and make that greater commitment, but even the prospect of lower rent can’t seem to curb the demand for shorter leases.

Larger Units in Greater Demand

Most Americans spent more time at home when COVID-19 hit than ever before. After months of lockdowns and quarantines, residents desire more living space. Some people solved this problem by moving out to the suburbs, others just want larger apartment units. The pandemic made space an even hotter commodity than we could have predicted, and the trend shows no signs of stopping.

Amenity Spaces Matter More

Amenities, such as gyms and fancy pools, already mattered before the pandemic hit. However, with more time spent at home thanks to COVID-19, these amenities became extra important to urban renters crammed into small apartments. Amenities can make up for, or even extend, a renter’s smallish living space. Moreover, with the rise of work-from-home situations, the demand for coworking spaces in apartment buildings skyrocketed.

AptAmigo Thrives During Pandemic

Pre-COVID shifts in the rental market continued, and sometimes accelerated, when the world shut down in March of 2020. Additionally, new, unpredictable changes spurred on by COVID quickly transformed the industry’s landscape, requiring quick thinking and adaptability on the part of real estate professionals.

Luckily, AptAmigo already set the standard for emerging trends, such as virtual tours and creating new technologies. As a result, AptAmigo not only adapted, but also thrived. The tight-knit community and collaboration at AptAmigo transformed it into one of the fastest growing companies in America, ranking at no. 327 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list. What’s more, we also made it into the top 100 finalists for Chicago Innovation Awards!

If you want to work with the fantastic colleagues who enabled this growth, check out our open positions and apply today!

AptAmigo is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and does not discriminate based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law, in connection with any aspect of employment at AptAmigo.