It’s always fun to hear about trends that cutting-edge company or people are using in real estate. While most of it seems like crazy ideas you may not have to deal with it, everything piece of technology we’ve adapted to started out as someone being trendsetting in this industry. Online rent payment, online listings, video footage, etc. All of these started as trends, but have now become the norm. By looking at trends, we can get a heads up on what might become the next norm in our industry. The first 3 are ones you may currently know about or utilize but chances are the last two are completely new to you.
Online Appointment Scheduling
In today’s world where Millenials and the Generation Z prefer completing tasks without human interaction, the ability to schedule apartment viewings without having to call or send a series of emails is a necessity. The internet is filled with online scheduling software that can be utilized. (Calendly, 10to8, etc.) Most are not tailored to any specific industry and are general appointment schedulers for anyone from hair stylists to personal trainers to business coaches. They can even be used for real estate. The features that come with free programs vary. I.e. email or text confirmation, multiple appointments at one time, etc. If you chose to use a scheduler simply copy and paste the public URL for your calendar into your ad, directing people there to book a showing.
Remote Keyless Entry/Locbox Entry
Taking the above discussion of less human contact a little but further, imagine not having to leave to do a showing. What if your prospects could give themselves a tour without having you drop your project to meet them? Systems like remote lockboxes with expiring codes are making this a realty. To schedule the showing a person must validate their identity (the form this takes varies across providers). When it is one hour before the scheduled appointment, they are texted a unique lockbox code that works for 30-45 minutes from the start time of the showing. If someone has a 2pm showing they are texted the code at 1pm, but the code doesn’t work until 2pm and is valid until about 3 (depending on the provider). Most of these services can be streamlined into an automated showing calendar.
In case you are wondering, there are triggers in place where if a key isn’t returned within a time frame a person on the account is contacted by the lockbox provider letting them know. That way you can go investigate what’s going on.
Online Lease Signing
Online lease signing has gained popularity in recent months because of the COVID lockdown we all went through, but also because it frees up a lot of time for self-managing investors. Dochub is one of the services you can utilize to do online lease signing. Simply upload your PDF lease and highlight the sections that require initials or signature then download it to your computer and send it off to the tenant in an email with instructions on how to use Dochub themselves.
The cherry on the sundae is tenants love doing it this way too! Pair it with a Zoom chat to go over the terms and they will be extremely grateful because it makes it easy for them. They can do the Zoom call at home or maybe even during lunch from work. Families love it because they can pop a video on in the other room and be on the Zoom call doing their lease.
To make it the most convenient, investors with more than 5 properties should consider purchasing a paid plan for DocHub. A paid plan will not only allow you to send the signature directly from Dochub to the tenant but it also would allow you to sign unlimited documents (you are limited to 5 in the free plan).
You are probably wondering…what the heck is augmented reality. Augmented reality is a concept where someone can take reality and adjust it in a computer program and allow for customization. It’s main purpose is to give customers/clients an idea of if their furniture will fit, how it will look against the flooring, etc.
Augmented reality photos of an apartment that is uploaded to the program with corresponding room measurements. It creates a to scale model of the property where users can then click and drop furniture in. Basic items like couches, beds, dresser, dining room tables are all preloaded options that can be added to the rooms. A user can put in their own furniture dimensions for the items rather than using the preloaded “average” dimensions. The user can also select color options of the furniture.
Your augmented reality is assigned a web address which can be provided to prospects who want to verify their furniture will fit in a room, or their couch won’t clash with the wall color. As the product purchaser you have control over how much customization a user (in this case a prospect) can have. Furniture measurements, color customization, change window dressings, etc. Whatever you will allow them to change and what you think may help sell the unit.
They could also layout their entire unit before moving day and be able to download a 2D view of the rooms and where they want items. Making it easier for them to instruct professional movers…or their friends who may have already had a complimentary beer or two when loading up the truck at the old place.
VR has been used in real estate for a few years now, mostly among high end brokerages serving out of state or out of country clients. With the changes in smartphone technology that have made most cell phones capable of VR some trendsetting realty companies have started doing VR tours of units. The VR companies turn 360° photos of the unit into a VR experience. You are then provided a link or app code that can be placed in your ad allowing the viewer to do the Virtual Reality tour on their own. Pretty cool!
Now some of these may be pie in the sky ideas regarding your portfolio. But it’s always fun to hear about the jaw dropping technology that is out there and revolutionizing some of the basic ways we do things.