Renters and owners demand technology of their property management company. We started this process a long time ago. Investment in tech is a must.
I can remember the days of newspaper ads and hot sheets. When calls for properties only came from the sign on the house or a flyer posted. How quickly that changed. Signs are almost pointless besides helping a applicant find it at the showing. Rental search online is almost the only way to find your next home. Technology is the only answer.
In 2019, 64% of renters used their phone to search for rentals. In 2022, it is up to 74%. Interestingly, in 2019, 70% used an actual computer, but in 2022 its down to 67%. More people want mobile friendly options. If you don’t have it, your property will be a challenge to lease.
Most renters rely on a select number of apps or websites. According to Zillow, 25% of renters only used 4 or less sites to find their next home. In 2022, it rose to almost 40%. So, it’s a quality over quantity mentality.
The pandemic made virtual tours the norm really quick. Most old school property managers would cringe at the idea of a virtual showing. How can you close the deal without the in-person interaction? All the archaic leasing skills flew out the window. In 2022, 23% of renters never even toured in person. Less than 6% took more than 5 tours in person. Meaning a lot of properties were toured virtually or rented sight unseen.
Just like newspaper ads, I can also remember paper applications. So much paper! We are glad to be done with that. The streamlined all incorporating software like AppFolio, keeps trees alive, our lives easier and residents happy. Especially important in 2022, when we saw over 55% of the renting population applying for 2 or more properties. It really was a rat race and being able to complete applications online made it so much easier for renters.
Digital Tools During the Lease
Technology throughout tenancy is a must. In 2019 72% of renters signed a paper lease. In 2022, it dropped to about half. At our company it’s 100% online leases. You have to offer this. Signing a paper lease is so 2010.
Paying Rent online has grown from 38% in 2019 to almost 60% in 2022. Again, at our company it is about 87% who pay rent online. The remaining few either really like talking to us in person or are required to pay with certified funds. I like to think it’s the first one.
Maintenance requests submitted online are also a huge perk to renters. They don’t want to call. Especially those millennials and Gen z’s. The horror of not just texting. Having a online resident portal where they can pay rent, sign leases and submit for maintenance is the only future we have. Get tech smart now or pay later.