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Frequently Asked Questions about Contactless Showings

Answers to frequently asked questions from landlords and property managers considering self-guided showings.

You're letting strangers from the internet into the property that you bought and cared for, and that probably represents an important part of your net worth. How could you not have questions? Earlier in this guide we covered the two pillars of safe, profitable self-guided viewings: the right smart locks and the right software tools to support them. If you still have questions after reading those, chances are they're answered below.

How common is vandalism?

Just as with any vacant property there’s always a risk that someone will jimmy a lock or break a window and steal whatever’s not tied down. This hasn't happened a lot in practice, mainly because anyone who scales contactless showings is careful about collecting a form of identification and payment method from viewers. According to one property management company called Mynd, after 10,000 self-guided showings the only theft they reported was a single stolen refrigerator attempt. At Caretaker we have hosted over 3,000 self tours with no reports of vandalism or theft.

That doesn't mean, though, that you can be sloppy about safety and security. This is why we emphasize the importance of choosing the right smart lock and pairing it with a secure software layer. You should be able to guarantee you’ll know the actual identity of everyone who gained access and when they accessed each unit.

What if a viewer moves in and won't leave?

The legal eviction process is expensive and time-consuming, but only necessary if you’re trying to evict someone who is a tenant under your state’s law. If someone isn’t paying rent and has been in a unit for less than a month (this number varies state by state, but is never less than a day) they aren’t a tenant. This means that you would be able to call the police and report them as a trespasser just as anyone could do if you walked into their house and refused to leave.

Of course, this is harder to do if you don’t have the viewer’s identity information. Not to sound like a broken record, but it really is very important to collect and verify photo IDs!

Are prospects less likely to sign a lease if they aren’t getting “the grand tour”?

There is no evidence to suggest that a salesperson increases the chances of a lead turning into a tenant, and there's some survey evidence that suggests the opposite. Based on surveys conducted by RentCafe and data from large operators like Invitation Homes, higher conversion rates are directly related to the fact that viewers are alone. They can tour at their own pace, see what interests them and make their own decision.

At the same time, it's easy to make sure that viewers see all of your unit's features when they take a tour. You can create a guide and send it to anyone who books a viewing, along with information on how to apply.

What if my outgoing tenant hasn’t moved out yet?

It’s harder to offer contactless showings for units that are still occupied but not impossible. We take extra care to give the outgoing tenant full control over the viewings calendar so viewings can only be scheduled for when they’re already out. In some cases, tenants have said that they prefer this to the traditional way because they aren’t constantly fielding access requests from brokers. One way to sweeten the deal, and that tenants also have responded to in our experience, is to compensate them with a discount on the rent for their trouble. Anything less than the month of rent you’ll likely lose to turnover vacancy otherwise would be worth it.

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

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