Yelp and other review sites are handy tools that can help you learn more about the apartment communities in your area before you head out to see them yourself. While there’s a wealth of information available across sources like these, it’s important to use them carefully so you can get the most out of all they have to offer.
1. Read the Reviews Mindfully
While you can gain a lot of useful information from apartment reviews, it’s also important to understand that residents are more likely to post about negative issues than positive ones. If a post sounds more like a “rant” than a helpful review, take it with a grain of salt.
2. Check the Dates
A review that’s several years old doesn’t carry much weight, as old problems have likely been resolved. The only time old reviews are useful is when they show an ongoing trend. If you see the same complaint shared regularly over the course of several years, this should be a red flag that management hasn’t handled the issue appropriately.
3. Look Past the First Pictures
The first few pictures you see on Yelp are typically posted by the management company, and often portray an idealistic view of the apartment community. Scroll further and you may find photos posted by residents. Though these are often lower in quality, they can be a great resource for finding out the actual condition of the apartment community and help you determine whether the community “walks the walk.”
4. Evaluate Responses to Reviews
Read the responses to apartment reviews, particularly those that are negative. If the community managers are empathetic and seek solutions, you know your complaints will be heard should you run into any problems with your new apartment home.
5. Ask Questions in Person
Your online apartment search should help you narrow down prospective apartment homes to a handful of top contenders. Schedule a tour of these communities and don’t hesitate to ask the leasing teams about any concerns residents have brought up on Yelp. You might learn that the apartment community has since implemented a new pest control system, renovated the units, or made other major efforts to resolve previous problems.
What are your tops tips for evaluating apartment communities? Do you have a favorite review site? Let us know in the comments below!