In our 2023 Industry Report, half of our respondents told us that technology is going to play a big role in their revenue-generation strategy for the next two years. Listed in their top 10 technology must-haves was leasing tech.
2023 Property Management Industry Report
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Overall, new technology in property management has become a key component in helping property managers stay ahead of the competition and expand their businesses without expanding their staff or adding cost to overhead. Leasing tech, in particular, allows them more flexibility in their lead-to-lease process while helping them pull in more leads and reduce vacancy times.
They’re doing that by adding AI-driven tools that cut down on marketing and screening time, using virtual tours and self-showings to free up staff and allow prospective renters to view properties at their convenience, and using digital lease and cloud-based storage to speed up the approval and lease-signing process.
In this article, we’ll explore those tactics and dive into a few more ways leading technology is helping property managers do more with less.
AI-Driven Marketing Lead Generation
Forward-thinking property management companies are beginning to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to save time, improve customer experience, and improve lead conversions.
Rental search platform Zumper has found that 78 percent of leasing staff believe having more data on prospects could help them convert more leads. By using cutting edge machine learning to provide predictive insights and data, AI not only provides higher-quality leads, but it also enables a faster leasing process.
In March 2021, Zumper introduced PowerLeads AI™—a lead delivery tool that leverages the power of AI to analyze the behavior of renters and predict the likelihood of a renter signing an apartment lease.
The new technology identifies and flags renters statistically proven to be up to 2 times more likely to lease immediately. The system can also provide leasing agents more than 50 renter characteristics that will help them better meet renter needs.
This technology satisfies the growing demand for access to real-time information that allows leasing teams to see a prospect’s interests, which helps them better understand the needs of a prospective renter, including the most sought-after amenities in their area.
In some cases, interested renters will come to an apartment community website to learn more. But they may not be ready to pick up the phone and call, and don’t want to fill out lead forms. That’s where a bot widget comes in.
Bots can live on your website, Yelp, or Google My Business page, as well as on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Done right, they can provide information about your properties 24-7. So if that perfect resident is searching for information on your listings at 2am, they can find it and you can capture that lead.
A bot guides prospects’ path so that when they have the information they want and they’re ready, they will schedule a tour appointment. Prospective residents who engage through their smartphone just swipe and tap, swipe and tap. There’s no typing.
If there are still questions, a bot can guide a prospect to a live person. Leasing agents can review chat bot transcripts to see the whole conversation and determine how best to move forward.
For example, reading that a prospect’s primary concern during her bot engagement was covered parking spots, the leasing agent can address that first when reaching out to that potential resident.
Self-Showings and Virtual Tours
One rental real estate trend that has taken off since the pandemic is a preference for self-guided showings and virtual tours.
Self-guided and virtual tours allow prospective residents to view apartments at a time that’s most convenient for them, without having to coordinate with a leasing agent.
Most property management software solutions offer self-scheduling, where prospects can reserve tour times. For those companies with less budget, they can rely on Office 365 tools to accommodate scheduling.
For our Industry Report, we asked property managers to tell us what kinds of tech they plan on adding in the next year. Included in the top 10 was 3D and virtual tours. Virtual tours are yet another way for property managers to cut down on vacancy time and internal resources.
Virtual tours also garnered one of the biggest gains in interest from renters, according to our report.
Automated tenant screening can also give property managers a leg up in the leasing game, and improve tenant experience right from the beginning.
For example, Buildium offers a tenant screening solution powered by TransUnion. Property managers can request a background check from the platform, and even set credit score requirements.
When the screening is complete, a notification pops up in the account. Property managers can notify applicants when they’re screening is finished and if they’ve been accepted. Then, they can add accepted applicants to the Resident Center, Buildium’s tenant portal right away.
Digital Lease Signing and Cloud-Based Document Storage
Once that prospect transitions to an approved resident, it’s time to sign the lease. That used to be a time-consuming process, where residents had to meet with leasing agents to sign, then wait for the owner to sign and send a copy.
After leases were signed, filing or scanning to save electronically took time and coordination.
With the right software, however, property managers can now send out digital leases created from saved templates to renters and owners. They can set the signing order, and everyone can sign from any device.
Once a property manager has collected all the signatures, they can save the lease in a single, secure, cloud-based storage platform.
The lease is signed. Now it’s time pay first and last months’ rent.
Most property managers, including those who contributed to our Industry Report, will tell you that allowing residents to pay rent and fees electronically is a must.
ePay solutions offer a number of benefits for property managers, owners, and residents, including:
- Recurring payment options to avoid late fees
- Direct withdrawals from bank accounts to accelerate payments
- Payments made from credit cards to help build credit
- Direct deposit to property managers’ or owners’ bank accounts
Leasing technology has allowed property managers and owners to expand their reach, pull in more qualified leads, lower vacancy rates and save money. For prospective renters, a property management company that offers them the convenience of digital solutions encourages them to sign that lease and sets the stage for a positive resident experience.
Choosing software that can provide much of what we’ve discussed in this article is the first step in providing an excellent resident (and owner) experience and build your property management company’s reputation in your market.
It also provides an opportunity for you to accomplish more with fewer resources and grow your own profit margin.Read more on Marketing