Technology has transformed virtually every aspect of our lives, including how we approach the property market, with many tenants now favouring digital interaction. Research by Rentalraters.com found that one-in-seven tenants rent “without viewing”. This trend is set to continue, with online reservations and virtual viewings becoming the new normal during the last few years.
With 91% of all tenants likely to use a mobile device the next time they are looking for somewhere to live according to research by Revel, it’s imperative that landlords ensure prospective tenants can easily find and browse their property portfolio online. Although many landlords list their properties on third-party sites like Zoopla or Rightmove, having their own website that lists out their properties for rent can also be beneficial. This may seem counterintuitive at first, however this allows the landlord to take greater control of the content shown, as well as managing what next steps perspective tenants should take. For instance, by capturing their immediate interest and allowing the prospective tenant to go straight into the onboarding process, this limits the likelihood that they will continue to browse and search for alternative properties elsewhere.
What’s more, end-to-end tenancy management software solutions such as Spike Lettings, can be white-labelled and completely customised to tie into your existing marketing website, creating a seamless experience which can also help to build brand awareness. If they still want to advertise on third-party platforms, then they have the ability to manage, control and publish all listings from a central place.
Why digitalise the onboarding process?
By digitalising the applicant journey, prospective tenants can view the progression of their tenancy in real-time, communicate with the lettings team, sign contracts, and even make payments, all online. Being able to see where they are in the process can also help to manage expectations of how far along the journey they are. With every tenant following the same automated onboarding process, end-to-end tenancy management software like Spike Lettings can also provide examples of accepted documentation and a clear indication of which documents still need to be produced by the applicant, saving hundreds of admin hours having to chase for the right documents and speeding up the onboarding process. As well as having the potential to handle all reservations inhouse rather than relying on outsourced lettings agents.
Tenancy management software can also make tenant screening, arguably the most important part of the rental process, easier. Early detection of tenants who could cause damage to the property, break their tenancy, or pay rent late will also help landlords begin the tenancy with the best possible option. As online applicants increase, it’s vital that landlords are equipped to prevent fraud. From identity theft to fake bank statements, an unprepared landlord runs the risk of accepting bad applicants, which may lead to issues down the road.
Companies like Flatfair play a role in making the tenant onboarding process much slicker by eliminating the need for upfront deposits. Tenants can simply pay a one-off membership fee equal to one week’s rent (+VAT) at the start of their tenancy, authorise their debit card and settle bills at the end – similar to hotel’s check-in and out.
Managing tenants once they’ve moved in
Once a tenant has moved in, resident portals can make the lives of landlords and tenants easier. According to research by NMHC and Kingsley, 58% of renters would rather pay rent using a resident portal rather than a property website via laptop/desktop. When rent is easy to pay, tenants are more likely to pay it. If they have to jump through hoops to pay their rent, the chances of it being late increases. With a complete end-to-end tenancy management solution like Spike Lettings, landlords can also send out reminders to tenants a day or two before their rent is due and can even automate confirmations to let them know that their rent has been paid. Instead of waiting around for payments to come in or having to chase down tenants across multiple properties, they can easily view the status of each property, what rent has been paid, and what has yet to come in, all via a single dashboard.
The face-to-face business style of the property industry is changing forever, as online reservations become the new normal. Digital solutions such as Spike Lettings, can manage a tenant’s journey in its entirety, from initial enquiry, through the reservation stage, all the way to moving in, building a life there and connecting with the community.