From binge-watching on Netflix to hailing a ride with a few clicks of a button, the world we live in is driven by technology. And the coronavirus pandemic has only sped up the process when it comes to tech-friendly initiatives.
Coronavirus, technology and renters are three aspects that are currently interwoven. Renters were already tech-friendly pre-Covid, but their desire to use advanced methods for renting and living in a home has only grown over the last few months.
As a letting agent, you are probably familiar with the role tech plays in lettings. With some 95% of agents having someone responsible for digital transformation, we’re willing to hedge our bets that you’re embracing tech.
It’s one thing embracing tech, but is your agency adopting the new digital-led features that renters crave? And if it’s not, what can you do to make sure that it does?
What is a tech-savvy renter?
The picture above: those are tech-savvy renters. Well, except for the child, unless he's some sort of young mogel. In which case, you better you show him a penthouse on Mayfair.
The 21st century brings with it new innovations that veer into the future, and renters are digging them. That’s because, first and foremost, renters are people (mostly aged in their twenties and thirties) who love the new tech that’s available at their fingertips and makes life a little bit easier.
We’re now in the digital age, and it’s an expectation – rather than hope – for companies to provide services centred around technology. Banking, entertainment, travel, short-term rentals – they all adapted to tech-first approaches in order to keep their customers and evolve. The lettings industry should be no different.
Why it’s time to implement technology
Renting is very much a modern-day phenomenon, and goes hand in hand with elements like ordering an Uber or having a five-star meal delivered to your door. If people expect digital services from their holiday brokers, their restaurants, and their banks, they’ll expect the same for finding a new home.
Letting agencies need to keep pace to appeal to renters who are looking to move into a home as quickly as they can order a taxi. With the rental market set to account for 60% of properties in London by 2025, now is the best time to establish tech-led processes that appeal to the renters you want to attract.
What is the new technology in the rentals market?
Ok, so it’s all well and good us telling you to make your agency tech ready. But which new methods in the rental market are changing the landscape of how renters find and move into their new home?
Fluid property search options
Finding a home is integral to the whole process of renting an apartment; therefore, it should be as fluid and intuitive to renter’s needs as possible. From our own research, we found that 36% of renters crave in-app filters.
We’re not merely talking about the number of bedrooms someone looks for, either. Search engines should allow renters to look for homes that suit their lifestyle, using filters like whether a property offers deposit-free renting. Or being able to search in more than one postcode at the same time.
The major barrier that stops most renters from renting a home in a few clicks is the need to view a property physically. If the lockdown has accelerated anything, it’s the need for video viewings. In April, 80% of renters and homebuyers requested some form of video viewing. And the trend is here to stay.
Consumers book Airbnb rooms and hotels without a physical viewing. They buy cars without taking a test drive too, meetings are taking place without actual meet-ups. Why should renting be any different
Video viewings are the missing piece to the puzzle, allowing renters to get a genuine feel of what it’s like to live in somewhere without needing to visit physically. It means they can find, view and rent without even leaving their sofa.
A centralised system
More often than not, renters see multiple properties that are listed with various agents. It means they need to communicate with a ton of people to get the necessary info, and it all feels very 1995. In its place should be a centralised system where renters can talk to multiple agents without leaving an app.
These enquiries should also be available 24/7, though that doesn't mean you need to respond at unearthly hours in the morning. What does help, however, is some flexibility. Fifty-two percent of renter enquiries happen outside of office hours, and a centralised system that is always on lets you respond anytime, anywhere.
It’s all well and good finding somewhere to live, but what about the aftercare? Most letting agents have property management operations in place. But are these services set up to provide renters with a smooth living experience?
Build-to-Rent communities, for example, have facilitated a way for renters to report issues and maintenance requests via an app. This means they can provide a quick and efficient service, thanks to the use of technology. But too many property management companies still rely on older methods for supporting the in-life tenancy. It’s time things changed.
Moving with Movebubble
There are lots of innovative ways that help letting agents make the renting experience a better one, which improves the chance to secure more modern-day renters. And one of those is Movebubble. Our renter-friendly app is designed to help renters and agents via features like video walkthroughs, in-app chats and the ability to secure a home with just a few clicks.
Options like these make the renting experience better from everyone involved and allow you to make yourself the de facto agent for a raft of new, tech-savvy renters.