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Property rental trends: online house hunting

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Nowadays, just about everyone is connected to the digital world of the internet. We use the internet to find products, get new ideas, keep in touch with friends or even to find a life-partner. Small wonder that property rental clients also rely on the internet to do their house-hunting!

ZMOT and Google

Search-engine giants, Google have a special term for this new trend: ‘ZMOT’ or ‘Zero Moment of Truth’. Shopping for a home, a service or a product, they say, doesn’t involve talking to property agents or visiting a shop until consumers already know what they want. The connected consumer does his or her homework, surfing the web, reading reviews, looking at images, and bookmarking websites for later reference before they decide what they are likely to choose. Only once they are relatively confident that they will like a home, product or service, will they make contact with a provider.

To what extent does this affect the Mauritius rental property market?

It would be difficult to give any exact figures, but we do know that Google reported a 120% increase in searchers from mobile devices between 2012 and 2013 and that 90% of home buyers search online for a house, so we can expect similar figures for the rental sector.

The internet has certainly helped those that are looking to move to a new country. For them, an online search is the logical first step towards finding a house to rent or even buy in Mauritius. Not surprizingly, as Google’s figures show, they won’t necessarily use their computers, either. House-hunting used to require a dedicated effort, but nowadays, you can relax in front of the TV or keep yourself busy by searching for a house while you wait for an appointment by browzing on your phone.

Catering to a convenience-seeking market

Rental property websites cater to the convenience of their site visitors while ensuring visibility for home-owners who would like to rent out properties by making certain that their websites get good rankings for local search terms. And how better to catch the eye of the consumer than with a few high-quality images of the treats in store for the prospective renter?

Nowadays, people don’t only find rental properties online, they also evaluate them and may even make a decision based on what they can see – provided that the information offered is comprehensive enough! If not, they move to viewing another property online, until they find something that appeals to them.

Tips for the online house-hunter

Look for sites that give you good information. Pictures of the interior and exterior can be helpful, if a site has great pictures then it make it a lot easier! Why not ask for a video walk-through or virtual tour? You can also find out more about the street address and proximity to places like schools using Google Earth.

If you’re moving to Mauritius from another country, you may want to close the whole deal remotely so that you know you’ve got a pleasant place to live from the moment you arrive and wont have to waste money on hotels… Before closing any deal, the usual rules apply: make sure to gather as much information on the property as possible, and read your lease agreement carefully!

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