Technology utilization in the apartment rental industry is increasing each year, but it is still lagging behind other industries. Fortunately, we are seeing more and more companies begin to adopt tech solutions that streamline the process for renters, real estate developers, and property managers alike. Here are 10 recent tech concepts that are making waves and setting properties apart in the multifamily housing market.
1. Centralize renter communication
Renters and leasing agents often communicate over multiple channels, such as text and email. This can make it hard for leasing agents to follow conversations and remember important information. To make communications between agents and renters easier, some companies have created software that centralizes emails and texts, according to an article by Multifamily Executive about streamlining property management. It arranges them in chronological order and consolidates them onto one single, easy-to-use feed to help streamline the leasing process.
2. Automate credit checks with tenant screening software
Automated credit checks can make it faster and easier to qualify applicants. Many property management programs have built-in tenant screening tools that allow landlords to run full credit and background checks instantly. Some tenant screening tools also have AI-powered scoring algorithms that give landlords recommendations on whether or not to accept an application, according to The Wall Street Journal. These features not only help landlords save time, but also make more informed leasing decisions.
3. Simplify the application process
New technology is allowing renters to complete the application process online or on-site after touring the property, according to the previously mentioned article by Multifamily Executive. Software and apps make it possible for renters to select the unit they’d like to apply for and provide personal information in a secure portal. They can also pay any fees associated with the application and view promotional materials like layouts and floor plans all in one place. This type of software makes the application process much more convenient and streamlined for potential tenants.
4. Offer virtual tours to attract renters
Virtual tours are widely used to market home listings and are great promotional tools for rentals as well. They give potential tenants a real feel for the property—beyond what photos or videos can do alone. Matterport, for example, lets you show a property from various angles and walk through it virtually as if you were actually there. You can show the property in floorplan view, inside view, or dollhouse view. This gives renters a comprehensive understanding of all the rental has to offer in just a minute or two.
5. Self-guided tours make showing properties a breeze
Showing properties is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the leasing process. Finding a common time to meet often involves lots of back-and-forth between leasing agents and renters. Allowing renters to tour apartments by themselves eliminates logistical hassles and frees up time for leasing agents. Self-guided showings also enable potential tenants to view apartments after hours and tour them at their own pace.
Because of new technologies like smart locks, self-guided tours are safer than ever, according to an article by Buildium on the trend of self-showings. Smart locks often connect to self-showing software that enables landlords to screen potential tenants and give out unique access codes when they arrive. This prevents access codes from falling into the wrong hands and allows landlords to track who visits their property in case any damage occurs.
6. Collect rent easily with online payment systems
Online payment systems have a number of useful features that make it easier for tenants to pay rent and for landlords to collect it, according to an article by TransUnion. Depending on the system, tenants are able to pay by credit card, debit card, text, or PayPal. They can also set up recurring payments so that they don’t forget to pay their rent. Some payment systems will even send tenants reminders of when their rent is due to help them avoid late fees.
Payment systems are also more convenient and secure for landlords. They allow landlords to have rent payments deposited directly into their bank account instead of relying on paper checks or cash, which can get lost or stolen. They also enable landlords to schedule due dates and late fees for each tenant, and import financial records directly into their accounting software to save time on paperwork.
7. Use apps to record maintenance issues
Tenants increasingly expect maintenance issues to be resolved quickly. Landlords and property managers can meet their needs by using apps to fulfill maintenance requests. Tenants can report a problem, share a picture of the issue, and connect with vendors who can fix it right away. This type of on-demand service can really improve the tenant experience.
8. An alternative to deposits
Deposits can be a point of contention between property managers and renters. A new approach is to replace the old deposit structure with an insurance solution, according to Multifamily Executive. Some solutions integrate with property management software to automatically offer approved renters instant coverage. Then, renters pay a monthly rate for coverage versus the lump sum of a deposit upfront. This reduces the friction around the deposit for both property managers and renters and makes it easier to close more leases.
9. Full end-to-end automation of the leasing process
New cloud-based platforms can automate the whole leasing process for both renters and property managers. There are a number of advance software options that can attract and manage leads, engage with potential renters, provide virtual tours, track user behaviors, and report everything to property managers in real-time.
So what does that look like? The technology places a property owner’s or manager’s listings on popular listing sites and channels and ensures pricing is consistent and competitive. It uses AI to automatically respond to inquiries instantly and provides real-time tour scheduling and virtual tours. And it can complete the application and approval process virtually. As a result, prospects can work out the details of a lease in under an hour.
Automating routine tasks allows leasing agents to focus more time on the higher value activities they perform that generate revenue, like obtaining new properties and providing high-quality support when needed.
10. Resident support
It’s not just about attracting prospective tenants. Renters should have their needs met throughout the entire leasing process and new technology can help property managers to better meet those needs. For example, self-service apps have been created to not only attract new renters but to provide existing renters with concierge assistance. For example, this technology can help current tenants to reserve amenities on their properties.
Additionally, other functionalities include the ability to file complaints, schedule meetings, utilize wayfinding, get deals at local restaurants, and receive notifications in emergencies. Property managers can receive the info in real-time to quickly address any issues and stay in tune with their renters’ concerns and needs.
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Although the rental industry is utilizing technology more and more, some property managers are still relying on outdated leasing practices like faxing documents and keeping paper records. Implementing the emerging technologies outlined above can help property managers and leasing offices stand out from the rest, making life easier for prospective and existing renters.
Draper and Kramer prides itself on providing comfort and convenience to residents and applicants alike by embracing new technology. Register for a fast, easy application to any of Draper and Kramer’s luxury properties by visiting draperandkramer.com.