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A Renter’s Guide to Online Reviews

Fairfax Renter Looking at Online Reviews on Their PhoneIf you’re looking for a new Fairfax rental home, there are probably a bunch of online reviews of apartments and single-family rental property management companies. Though these reviews can help give you an idea of what to expect from a property, it’s vital to understand how to evaluate them properly. Not all reviews are created equal; occasionally, they can be misleading or completely false. Here are some tips on properly reading and appraising online apartment reviews.

Not all online reviews are accurate

The initial consideration to make about online reviews is that they may not all be accurate. Some may even be fake, posted by trolls or the landlord or property management company to boost their image. Some reviews may also be exaggerated in either direction, positively or negatively, due to issues irrelevant to the property or even the landlord. When reading reviews, look for those that seem to be from verified sources, such as from current or past tenants with verifiable profiles. Disregard the rest.

How to read and assess a review

As soon as you know how to find verified reviews, it’s essential to read and assess them effectively. You can evaluate a review by employing the following suggestions:

  • Look at the language and tone used by the reviewer. Are they using specific, detailed examples, or are their complaints vague and general? Is the reviewer emotion-driven or providing a more objective analysis of their experience? Look for reviews that provide both positives and negatives about the property. A review with only glowing praise or harsh criticism may not be as reliable.
  • Don’t just focus on the star rating. Look more closely at the specific comments and criticisms made in the review. Are they valid concerns or easily fixable issues?
  • Look for patterns in multiple reviews. Do specific issues come up repeatedly? Are they mostly positive or negative? Did the landlord answer the review, try to make things right, or thank the reviewer for their review? This can give you a clearer understanding of the overall experience at the property.
  • Keep in mind your priorities and preferences when reading reviews. A negative review about noise levels may not be as important to you if you work from home and don’t plan on having frequent visitors. Something that may be a dealbreaker for one person may not matter as much to you.

Examples of good and bad online reviews

A good review may refer to specific characteristics of the property, and personal experiences, such as “The management team is very responsive and accommodating. They fixed a plumbing issue in my unit within 24 hours.”

 

A bad review may be overly dramatic or vague, for example, “This place is a nightmare. Do not move here.” The latter lacks specific examples or evidence to back up their claims. Always consider the language and tone used in a review and the source of the review when evaluating its reliability.

The importance of evaluating reviews correctly

It’s important to properly evaluate online reviews when searching for a new rental property. Misleading or fake reviews can give you a false impression of the property and lead to potential issues and disappointments in the future. Before you make any decision about a property, consider visiting it in person to get a first-hand look at the rental and speak with the landlord or Fairfax property management company.

Overall, remember to take online reviews with a grain of salt and use them as one tool in your rental decision-making process. By properly assessing reviews, you can make a more informed decision and potentially have a better rental experience.

 

Are you in the market for a new rental home? Contact Real Property Management SonoMarin to view great listings in your area! You can also browse our rentals online.

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