Self showings can be like having your own leasing office working 24-7 to keep your units occupied. You can automate most of what a team of leasing agents would do and focus your time on things that only you can do.
Instead of posting advertisements on many different sites one after another, create one advertisement that goes everywhere.
Instead of responding to each inquiry made about those advertisements, answering questions to try and see if the prospect is qualified and convince them to take a tour if they are, send an immediate response to each lead directing them to a link where they can prequalify and schedule a viewing.
Instead of using email or phone to coordinate your calendar with a prospect’s calendar, let them choose from any time in the day.
Instead of traveling to different units and giving tours in person, stay in your office.
All of these productivity boosts are only as good as the features of your software and hardware combination. Whether you want to start off by doing it yourself, using tools like Google Calendar, Typeform, Calendly, Airtable, Twilio, SendSonar or regular old SMS, or try out a platform like Caretaker that does it for you, here are the features that we've found to be necessary.
1. Automated appointment scheduling
If you need to do something in order for the prospect to book, confirm and take a tour then you’ve negated the core value of the contactless showing. Renters want everything to be as self-service as possible, so make sure that they can choose from a list of available showing times, reserve one and then cancel or reschedule as needed.
If you want to do this yourself, you can add available showing times to a tool like Calendly or Typeform. Send the link to leads when they inquire so that they can choose a time. If you’re worried about losing leads this way then you can easily review incoming messages to see how many of them booked a viewing. The industry lead to lease benchmark is roughly 25% and in our experience this can jump to 50% when everything is self service - if your conversion rate is below 25% then try making your email clearer.
2. Require identity verification
It is simply not safe to let just anyone get access to your property and show themselves around. That is likely obvious to you. If you know exactly who each viewer was, then you can track them down afterwards. When they know this, it's a bad behavior deterrent.
The old-fashioned way of facilitating lockbox viewings was to hold a credit card and license at the leasing office. You can spin up a 21st century version of this by asking for document uploads as well as an upload of a selfie (the prospect holding their ID next to their face). This way, it's not easy for someone to upload someone else's identity and say it's them. If you decide to go the manual route, just make sure to be speedy. You want to avoid a scenario where someone books a tour and uploads the necessary authentication documents but doesn’t get confirmation and loses interest after a few hours.
Software integrations can make this much easier and improve the experience for the viewer. Programs like Persona, OnFido and Sift instantly verify identity documents instantly analyze uploaded documents and can check to make sure the document itself isn't in any public databases of stolen or forged documents.
3. Require a payment method
Forcing viewers to let you charge their card if anything goes wrong is another simple way to keep bad actors out. Renters shouldn't have a problem with storing a card on file, as long as it's clear that they won't be charged unless damage was reported during their showing.
4. Prequalify viewers with your tenant requirements
We’ve found that we get the highest conversion from tours to leases when leads are able to start the application process even before they view. The other side of the coin is that you don't want showing windows to get filled up by prospects who you wouldn't be able to accept as your tenant because they don't meet your requirements. Make sure that you have a simple way to show all prospective viewers what your credit, background and income requirements are for tenants and to let them upload and verify that they meet these requirements.
5. A way for viewers to see content about the unit and building during the showing
This could be as simple as a guide that goes to every prospect in tandem with their access code, or that's texted to them during their viewing. This way you can make sure that prospects see all of the features that you want them to see, and they can quickly get answers to commonly asked questions about things like parking and pet fees.
We've gathered some more resources that we suggest you take a look at. Many of these are customized for your local jurisdiction, so make sure to choose your state from the dropdown menu on this page.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
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