You're looking for a luxury apartment in Austin and you're feeling overwhelmed. Instead of yelping out loud, head over to Yelp and use these tips for a more fruitful search.
1. Consider the Source
Thumbnails for each reviewer include home city along with number of friends and reviews on Yelp, which give some indication as to how active they are on the site. Clicking on their name brings up all of their reviews so you can get a sense of whether or not they sound authentic.
A profile may also include an "Elite" designation. This is given to Yelpers who have a track record of well-written reviews and good photographs combined with frequent voting and "compliments" from other users. Elite status can be considered a good sign of trustworthiness.
2. Check the "Freshness Date"
Yelp offers a sorting feature that will arrange reviews by date. Apartment communities can go through a number of changes over the years, so if you find negative reviews, look for later ones to see if the problems may have been resolved. Management may also address concerns directly on the site.
3. Look at Alternatives
The right side of the page includes a "People also viewed" section listing communities that can direct you to other possibilities.
4. Not All Complaints Are Equal
If a negative review contains vague generalizations, take it with a grain of salt. The user may just have an ax to grind for reasons unrelated to the actual quality of the community. Honest criticism is more likely to describe specific issues.
5. There Are No Perfect "10s"
Well, the maximum rating on Yelp is actually five, but the point is that a perfect score is almost as rare as a unicorn. It's impossible to please everyone, so don't waste time holding out for a community with a 100 percent spotless record of reviews.
6. "Hidden" Doesn't Mean "Censored"
Many listings have a section at the bottom of the page hiding reviews that are "not currently recommended." These reviews didn't pass the logarithms of Yelp's recommendation software, but it could be for innocent reasons such as limited activity by the reviewer. You may actually find some valuable information by reading them.