I was recently called by Rently to inquire if I wanted to integrate their self-showing technology platform into my business. Simple answer, no until further notice.
Don’t get me wrong. What Rently is doing is very cool! It is integrating new technology into the real estate and management industry. Self-showing vacant homes? How cool! But how many of your homes are vacant? Or how about, how many of your homes are vacant without a lease signed? Hopefully none.
We require a 60 day notice as to whether or not the current tenant intends on renewing their lease. Those 60 days allow our leasing agents the ability to show the property (with a 24 hour notice of course) to potential tenants. There are pros and cons of doing leasing this way. Mainly, if the current tenant is dirty, the unit will show dirty and you won’t be getting those applications pouring in. The positive side of this, is that you can lease out a property while still collecting rent. If you have a unit that is well maintained, you’ve had a respectful relationship with the current tenant and they are willing to have the home “show ready” all sides are happy when your property manager is showing the home.
Rently is offering a system to where tenants can easily input their information, agree to terms and then are given a show code to a vacant home to self-show. No need to set up showings, to coordinate schedules or possibly miss showings anymore. WHEN considering vacant homes.
I asked the sales rep if they had the ability to do this for occupied properties. I was taken aback by such a horrible answer. “That’s not possible.” Wait, are we living in the same universe? Not possible? Really? We are living in an age where your average joe can be a taxi driver with minimal background checks. Where you can rent out a room in your house to someone who hasn’t gone through an application process. Where literally all of our personal information is on Facebook or Google, but it is “impossible” to have a tenant show themselves a home because it is occupied.
The personal property is an issue, yes. But why not have a waiver, or a NEST camera in the home to ensure nothing is getting stolen. Rently sales rep, you called me pitching a great service and product, but no imagination. It is not your company and you can’t call the shots, but really? Impossible?
It is a matter of time before someone is able to text a number, get an authorization request, agree to terms and show themselves an occupied property. Not if, but when.
At that point, I will sign up immediately and pay a pretty penny I’m sure. Wouldn’t you? No more coordinating schedules for viewings. No more leasing agents. Or at a dramatic decrease in their need. A 2 bedroom 1 bath home in Fort Collins? They don’t need me to tell them it hass a stainless steel fridge. They can see that. When we are talking about median priced rentals, where a top motivating factor is affordability, a tenant can most likely decide whether or not they like a place. They do not need someone to sell them on it. If they have questions, have a mobile chat capability with someone available to answer questions.
I digress. Ultimately, that is not where we are right now. Where we are, is having a discussion as to whether or not you should have a vacant property that needs to use Rently’s capabilities. A manager and I discussed moving our notice period to 120 days. Six months even has been tossed around in discussions with other companies. I don’t know how some of these renters know that far in advance what they are doing. But hopefully given 120 days, they may know their intentions. So, until Rently or someone else provides a service where potential tenants can show themselves occupied units, keep strong notice periods and actively and aggressively market notice to vacate properties before they are vacant.