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How Would Contactless Rental Showings Impact My Cash Flow?

Property managers have reported a roughly two-fold increase in their lead to lease ratio when renters can tour privately, without an agent.

If you’ve looked into offering self-guided viewings for your properties then you’ve probably seen claims that they can lower both your vacancy and your marketing costs, but is there any proof?

Quick answer: not tons of it yet, but there is definitely some and it all tells a very similar story. Across managers and markets, contactless showings appear to double the lead to lease ratio for property managers. In other words, every inquiry made into an advertisement is twice as likely to turn into a signed lease if self tours are available.

Where are self-guided tours filling vacancies faster — and why?

1. Invitation Homes: With 80,000 homes, Invitation Homes is the biggest owner and operator of single family rentals in the US. They offer self guided tours for 100% of their units.

What they report:

  • Self tours increased their lease conversion rates by 86%. Since the industry lead to lease ratio averages to a 10% rate of conversion, this means that with self tours two out of every ten viewers signed a lease rather than one.
  • 20% of viewers took four or more tours of a rental before signing a lease. This may explain why self-guided tours are helping them to convert more prospects: by making it easier to view the space, they made it easier for leads get to a purchase decision.

Source: Panel event at the 2019 NMHC Optech conference

2 . Progress Residential: At 40,000 units, Progress is the third largest manager of single family rentals in the country. They have lockboxes on 99% of their homes.

What they report:

  • The implementation of self-guided showings increased the conversion of leads to showings by approximately two fold, or a 100% increase.
  • They give prospects a combination of mobile and "voice activated" content during the tour to make it easy to get answers and get connected to someone on their leasing staff.
  • Progress shifted its leasing energy into follow-up with leads after their self showing operation was going smoothly

Source: 2018 interview with the National Apartment Association

3. Urbane Apartments: Managers of 700 Class B rental units in Detroit - both single and multifamily.

What they report:

  • Self tours brought their lead to lease ratio to 12%, which was a doubling for them according to their CEO
  • They were able to increase the amount of tours taken by prospective tenants from three to four per day to as many as twenty per day.

Source: 2018 interview with the National Apartment Association

4. The Management Group: Operators of roughly ten multifamily communities in Georgia.

What they report:

  • In the first seventeen days they had scheduled twenty six self-guided tours and signed 13 leases from those showings. In other words, their lead to lease ratio was 50%.

Source: 2020 interview with Multi-Housing News

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