Property managers and landlords should understand how today’s on-demand economy applies to rental properties and investment property management. The prevalence of mobile technology and artificial intelligence (AI) has left no industry immune to disruption, and that includes real estate. Today’s consumers shop and pay for pretty much everything online, changing the way property managers meet the high demands of current and potential renters.
This on-demand economy means that renters are looking for personalization, convenience, and speed in everything from their housing search to how they pay their rent, submit maintenance requests, and access lease information. Property managers have an excellent opportunity to put on-demand conveniences in place to maximize the tenant experience that distinguishes their property from competitors’.
Below are five must-have on-demand strategies to enhance every phase of the tenant experience. These strategies are guaranteed to make investment property management a lot simpler for you.
Accommodate potential renters by making applications, tenant screening actions available online. Digital technology now enables property managers to obtain a signed lease sooner—even during the applicant’s first visit to the property. Online applications allow potential renters to apply and pay any application fees before they arrive for a first viewing or even during the viewing. Instant tenant screening technology provides credit checks, eviction histories, and criminal background reports. Prospective renters whose screening criteria comes back with positive results can be approved for tenancy on-the-spot.
Streamlining the application process makes it possible to sign more good tenants since prospective renters will be less likely to wait for other properties to approve them. An approved applicant can sign the lease immediately or, if they need time to consider, they can submit a signed lease later conveniently, without the need to scan, fax, or returning a signed paper lease.
Today’s rental seekers prefer to search properties online and on their own schedule. There is a multitude of listing sites that renters use for their housing searches including Zillow, HotPads, Rentler, Zumper, RentLingo, and many others. Online platforms like these allow property managers to maintain accurate, up-to-date information as well as on the property’s website to fill vacancies quickly.
Manually posting rental vacancy information to a property management website and third-party listing sites can be time-consuming and vulnerable to human error, which can diminish the experience for potential tenants if staff posts incorrect information or fails to remove leased units immediately. Programs like one-click vacancy posting easily manage vacancy information and create better experiences for prospective tenants from the moment they engage with your brand.
A recent Zillow Group Report on consumer housing trends found that 71 percent of renters expect a response to their initial rental inquiry within 24 hours. Thirty-one percent said they expect a response within a few hours. This is a tight time-frame for leasing agents to manage.
New innovations in AI technology can greatly improve your lead-to-lease conversion by automatically engaging each lead, answering their questions, conducting the screening process and allowing qualified leads to book viewings at their convenience. Potential tenants can even book self-guided viewing using lockbox technology, which provides leads with a unique code to gain access to the unit shortly before their scheduled viewing. By providing the availability of on-demand viewing, you can make a good impression on prospective residents by accommodating their preferences, offering instant service, and approving qualified applicants more quickly and efficiently.
Renters in today’s on-demand economy expect the convenience of making online rent payments. Tenant rely on the ability to pay from anywhere using their computer or a smartphone.
Online rent payments also save property managers and landlords time and the costs associated with paper checks, money orders, or even cash payments. Many businesses have cut the time spent on rent week activities in half by using online payment technology to significantly simplify reconciliation and reporting. Online payment options also reduce or eliminate the chance of human error in data entry, ensuring 100 percent accuracy.
On-demand principles can also be applied to things like maintenance requests to improve the tenant experience and simplify the process for property management staff.
According to recent research by Microsoft, 70 percent of consumers worldwide have a more favorable view of brands that keep in contact with proactive customer service notifications, and 52 percent of consumers in the U.S. have a more favorable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer service support portal.
This strategy can be easily applied to rental property maintenance requests. Residents no longer need to call to report or follow up on a maintenance issue. Instead, new property management software allows them to submit requests online using a computer or smartphone. Tenants receive regular updates on the status of their request through their preferred communication method, whether SMS or email, alleviating much of the hassle residents ordinarily content with when a problem arises.
Today, signing and retaining good renters and keeping vacancies low means ensuring a positive tenant experience. By making on-demand technology available to them not only enhances the tenant experience, it also goes a long way toward setting your rental properties apart from the rest. With superior investment property management, your rental business is sure to achieve success.