Over the last two months, coronavirus has left a major impact on the multi-family real estate market and now with everyone social distancing the big question is how are owners supposed to show vacant units in their rentals while staying 6 feet away from their prospective tenants?
If owners are to follow social distancing rules, this means that they have to stand six feet away from someone when showing a vacant unit.
Although many people follow social distancing rules, the reality is that some people aren’t “social distancing”, and there are people who want to avoid human contact altogether.
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of solutions that any owner can use to continue renting vacant units in their multifamily properties during coronavirus while following social distancing rules at the same time.
Solution #1 – Online Marketing Helps With Social Distancing
In the past, many owners would rent vacant units in their multi-family properties by following a typical process of placing a few advertisements on the internet, in the local area, and then wait until phone calls started coming in, then schedule an appointment with a potential renter to view the available unit in person.
Since coronavirus, this process has changed because of the obvious fact that social distancing rules means that everyone is encouraged to stay a minimum of six feet away from each other in social situations so it would be next to impossible for an owner to show a rental property to a prospective tenant as they may have in the past
The good news is that with online marketing, an owner can utilize tools like high-resolution pictures and video walkthroughs so that a tenant can essentially “tour” a property over the internet before visiting it in person.
If an owner didn’t want to invest in the latest technology so that their potential tenants can tour their rental properties over the internet, at the very least an owner could set up a time to meet with a potential tenant over FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, or Skype. On such a call, they could effectively walk a prospective tenant through one of the available units in their rental property so that the individual could decide if they want to fill out an application or not.
Solution #2 – Self Tour Technology
Let’s say that the prospective tenant decides that they want to visit the rental property in person, what then? The answer to this question is simple, the owner of the property should invest in self-tour technology.
Over the last 20 years, a wide variety of companies have come to the market with “self-tour” technology which enables renters to tour rental properties without the owner of that property, or their property manager, having to be there in person.
With a company like Rently.com, a prospective renter will go through an extensive verification process over the Internet so that the owner of the property can have complete confidence that the prospective tenant is qualified to rent one of the units in their property before they step foot in the available rental unit.
Once a potential tenant comes to the rental property for their self-tour, the owner will be notified when the individual arrives at the property and when they exit the rental unit so that there’s no question if they did take the time to tour the property.
Coronavirus or not, services like Rently.com are the future of the rental market because, they save owners, and their property managers, the time and hassle of having to show prospective renters available units in a multi-family property since there’s nothing easier than a renter being able to tour an available unit on their own.
Solution #3 – Online Application And Lease Signing
After a prospective tenant has toured a rental property, if that individual is interested in potentially renting the available unit, the next step it’s for them to fill out an application.
The good news is that in 2020, all of the tools that an owner of a multi-family property needs can be accessed over the internet including the application process and background checks. If a prospective tenant is found to be qualified to rent the property, the lease signing can also occur over the internet as well using services like DocuSign so that there’s no need for the owner, or their staff, to communicate with the tenant face-to-face.
You may be thinking “well, I still want to meet my tenants face-to-face before renting to them”. This is to be expected because, in reality, no landlord, or owner of a multifamily property, likes to rent to somebody without having at least some physical interaction with them before they hand over the keys to the unit.
After taking a potential renter through filling out an application online, and signing the lease over the internet, if the owner still wanted to have a face-to-face meeting with their future tenant. They could schedule a quick video chat with that individual using one of the video chat services that I mentioned above so that the owner can have peace of mind knowing the quality of the individual that they are going to be renting to.
Solution #4 – Use An Online Payment Service
Last of all, but most important, another solution that will help owners rent available units in their multifamily properties without having to meet potential tenants in person is to collect rent from their tenants via an online payment service.
If you’re a “technology-savvy” owner, you may have already been utilizing online payment service like Buildium, AppFolio or even PayPal, for years, but the truth is that there’s always going to be some owners who are what I would classify as being “old school” and still prefer to have their tenants pay in person, by check or money order.
Utilizing online payment platforms will save every owner a tremendous amount of time and it will also help them to process payments more efficiently than they may have in the past.
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