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New York-based brokerage The Corcoran Group is known as a leader in the boutique residential for-sale market.
But the company also has a robust offering of tools to support agents who work the rental market including its proprietary technology to track rentals of new developments, suite of agent rental tools and a marketing strategy completely focused on the rental market.
The brokerage’s Chief Operating Officer Gary Malin told Inman that its robust support for the rental market is part of the firm’s overall strategy to recruit and support real estate agents across the board, which may ultimately seep into and benefit the sales side of the business when renters become buyers and those rental agents decide to graduate into sales.
“We’ve always felt that we have a very big program to ensure that we capture rental business, that we promote rental business, and most importantly, we make it easy for those that work here to sort of jump into that arena and do it,” Malin said. “Because if you think about it, you hire a lot of newer agents to the industry and those people typically will start out in the rental world because that’s where their sphere of influence is.
“So if you don’t have systems internally to help them capture that business, secure that business and then grow and turn into people that not only represent renters, but they represent landlords and they’re selling apartments and so forth. Then all of a sudden, you’re putting impediments in your agents’ way, or your clients’. And we’ve always felt like, ‘No, let’s just have a very strong foundation in rentals, which will enable us to grow.’”
Over the last few years, Corcoran has created a robust set of tools to help agents and consumers navigate the rental market. Here are some of the key features.
Proprietary rental technology for new developments
Just completed in the second quarter of 2022, Corcoran has created its own proprietary technology to help track both rentals and sales of new development projects, which allows agents to provide insights to developers into what units are selling to what kinds of clients.
“The teams that represent [the developers] put their properties into these systems — they’re called ‘stacking plans’ — and they’re allowed to see what’s been rented in the building, what’s available in the building, what the price points are, what sort of clientele has come in this week, how the traffic’s looking … ” Malin explained. “Because once again, if you’re renting a new building, in particular, it’s always critical to understand, How many apartments are we absorbing? At what price point on what units? … When we change our marketing plans is it increasing or decreasing our traffic?”
When such a large investment has been made on a new building like those in Manhattan, Malin said the individuals and banks backing those projects want information on how the building is performing. Corcoran’s system easily allows agents to keep developers up to date on that information.
Curated suite of agent rental tools
Corcoran’s rental tool suite just launched at the end of April 2022 includes an internal rental listing system that manages sales and features a listing database. To keep the system up to date, the brokerage has a team dedicated to combing through thousands of rental listings from a variety of sources to be sure that all listing information is accurate for agents and their clients.
“It’s constantly updated and constantly being curated to make sure it’s accurate,” Malin said. “So now the agents have a database of live, good, active information that they can constantly source for potential clientele.”
The system is also set up such that agents can go visit a potential new listing, gather all the information and photos they need and almost instantaneously create a new, active rental listing through Corcoran’s website that can go live within a matter of days. Agents can also opt in to get rental leads based on whatever geographical location they want to focus on.
Since the suite’s rental database went live about three months ago, Corcoran said it’s gained nearly 600 new clients and in the month of July, over 8,000 new leads.
“This system enables people to really capture leads very quickly and make sure that they’re working in the neighborhoods that they’re most apt to be successful at,” Malin said. “Because not only is it important for the agent, but it’s more important for the consumer that his or her agent really is an expert in the neighborhood that they want to work in.”
Dedicated new agent rental support
When a new agent joins Corcoran, they’re immediately set up on the Corcoran website to advertise rental listings with Corcoran’s partner landlords.
Agents are also set up with a lead generation tool specific to rentals that allows them to pull rental leads from Corcoran’s website. The lead generation program, thus far, has helped generate about 5,000 qualified rental leads a month for new agents, Corcoran said.
There’s also a rental agent training team for each Corcoran office to help coach, train and mentor new agents.
“[New agents] feel confident because they’re being supported and they have someone to go to to ask questions,” Malin said. “So just making sure that foundation, from a training perspective, exists when they first arrive, and then throughout their tenure, that helps them.”
Rentals marketing and market intelligence
Corcoran’s Market Research Team produces monthly rental market reports for Manhattan and Brooklyn that include historical trends, vacancy rates, average neighborhood rent and more. The data helps arm agents with valuable information to share with developers, landlords and consumers.
“We have all the people that we represent, like all these developers and owners who want to know what’s going on in the marketplace,” Malin said. “So, just another thing for agents is, now they have access to data and research and analytics that they can share with their clientele. So their clients are always understanding what’s going on in the marketplace, because not only is it beneficial for the agents and others, sometimes it’s really more helpful for the owner.”
The brokerage’s marketing team is also creating rental-specific marketing campaigns with major ad buys in national and regional publications.
In addition, Corcoran also launched an Instagram channel specifically focused on its rental business and listings, following its merger with leading New York City rental company Citi Habitats in January 2020. The channel has around 14,000 followers.
“We really wanted to come up with creative, smart ways to enhance the marketing for rentals because Corcoran is such a big player in the rental market,” Malin said. “We have a very big marketplace, so we felt like having a dedicated rental [Instagram] channel really would be exceptional.”