May 17th, 2020
How virtual reality is transforming the real estate industry
Online resources such as cloud property software solutions, digital application platforms and inspection tools have been around for a number of years. Over this time, property managers have begun slowly adapting to new technologies.
However as a result of COVID-19 social distancing rules the rental industry has quickly pivoted to complete online services, making technology an essential tool in completing your job as a property manager.
The age of the average renter in Australia according to surveys conducted by realestate.com.au and Pedestrian TV and rent.com.au are said to be between 25-29 and 34 years old. This age bracket, considered ‘Millennials’, have lived with technology for the majority of their lives and are more likely to draw to a digital option in most scenarios.
As the world adapts to evolving technology, things which used to take up time in your day as a property manager such as open homes, lease signings, key handovers and inspections can be done more efficiently and with little to no in-person contact. Let’s dive into the question — is contactless rental the future of property management?
Gone are the days of backing up data to your server and being chained to your desk. Cloud software programs such as PropertyMe, bring together the key functions of property management into one powerful cloud solution. This allows property managers to unchain from their desks, reduce add-ons and automate repetitive tasks.
Cloud software programs allow you to work remotely on most devices from any location. This gives you the ability to do tasks such as reconcile, complete end of month and send rent arrears notices from anywhere that you have internet access.
A virtual tour allows a potential tenant to experience a 360-degree walkthrough of a property from the comfort of their own home. It shows a digital view of a whole space and in some cases, viewers are even able to take measurements of the space.
Apps such as Unattended Showings enable potential tenants to schedule a tour whenever it is convenient for them, using a temporary digital smart key that keeps all access secure. Viewers are then given a temporary access code, allowing them entry to the premises at a specific date and time, without having to physically provide keys.
Viewers are then free to get a feel for a property at their leisure, which gives them the view that they can take their time to go over every detail without feeling watched by the property manager. This is not only a time saver for you but it can also act as a selling point, especially with younger residents.
About 52% of Millennials prefer smart access methods for entering their homes, and showing off these technologies from the start can potentially sway prospects in wanting to apply for your property over others.
Verifying a person’s identity is a vital step in the tenant application process. Previously verification was as simple as meetings with viewers at the open inspection and then viewing ID on the application afterwards.
With recent social distancing rules in place, if a potential tenant were to complete a virtual tour and you have not met them, initial meetings may then need to take place over Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. This would be done, just to ensure that you have met with the potential tenant and feel confident in offering them a property.
During the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were some misconceptions about rent payment. Some tenants were under the assumption that they were not required to make rent payments due to the pandemic, leaving landlords and agents frustrated.
REINSW President Leanne Pilkington said when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced there would be no evictions for six months for eligible tenants under the COVID-19 rental restrictions, some assumed ‘you don’t need to pay rent for six months’ and stopped paying rent or believed they were entitled not to.
Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that you are vigilant with previous landlord or agency references to make sure that your potential tenants have the correct understanding and have been honest and upfront with their rental history.
If the tenant has had any hardship, it will be confirmed when reference checking with previous landlords or agencies. This will help you be equipped to make your decision about renting the property to the potential tenant or not.
Virtual inspection software offers a virtual and remote way to showcase and market listings and conduct inspections. Not only is this an excellent way to minimise face-to-face contact, it also allows potential tenants to explore your property listing day or night, regardless of their location.
Applications such as Virtual Tours Creator offer a user friendly and efficient virtual reality (VR) walkthrough solution that caters to real estate agents and property managers. Smart view media say virtual tours increase enquiries for properties by 80% and users are likely to spend 52% longer on listings which feature 3D Tours.
One of the biggest benefits of a virtual auction is convenience for remote buyers. Buyers can bid from anywhere that they have internet access. Everyday challenges such as weather or traffic jams, aren’t going to come into play to affect the amount of people present and ready to bid.
According to a recent article published by canstar.com.au, Ray White Ascot Sales Director and Auctioneer, Philip Parker used to sell around 20% of properties by auction, but those numbers have probably drifted to more like 40% in recent times.
“I’m finding buyers are comfortable dealing with an agent over the phone or online, possibly more than in person, so losing the face-to-face aspect hasn’t caused many major issues in that regard.”
Even under the strictest of social distancing measures, removalists and cleaners are still considered to be an essential service by the Australian Government. As a result, many removalists and cleaning services have adapted to offer a completely contactless experience. This has been implemented to protect the health and safety of their staff as well as their customers.
Companies such as well-known removalists, Man With a Van, and Chess Moving have adopted new guidelines for customers to follow to facilitate a contactless removal process. Encouraging customers to put tape on the floor or provide a map to indicate where people would like their items to be placed once their items have been delivered to their new property.
Guidelines state that small steps such as putting tape on the floor or providing removalists a map to indicate where you would like things to go, helps to minimise contact.
For tenants who have signed a new lease, or are ending their lease, keys will need to be exchanged between property manager and tenant.
This can now be done without contact either through lockboxes, post, or leaving the key in a safe place for the receiving individual to collect.
Keyless entry facilitates in more ways than just the beginning of a tenancy. You can also schedule work orders easily when tenants aren’t able to be at home. When approved, a maintenance or trades person can enter the property and perform work without requiring physical contact with residents or having to painfully rearrange schedules.
It also minimises the risk of multiple keys getting copied by tenants. When multiple people live in a property together, it is possible that tenants will make multiple copies of their keys — not only for other residents in the house but possibly their close relatives, partners or friends. In fact, recent studies have determined that 58% of millenial tenants have given out 1-2 keys or access codes to family or friends. Keyless entry minimises the security risk of potentially having multiple sets of keys that are not returned at the end of the lease.
Contactless rentals have quickly become the standard for managing a property and making sure it’s adaptable in any environment. As technology continues to evolve, people are likely to continue to seek easy, time-saving tech solutions as the demand increases. Keeping your finger on the pulse and being aware of how the market is changing puts you in the best position to continue to grow your business.
Contactless rentals are the future of property management and you can get a head start by making the transition to tech based systems now.
Looking to be backed by the best? PropertyMe is Australia’s most popular cloud property management software and we encourage you to request a demo here.
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