During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ikos continues to offer renters 3 options for viewing the homes listed through our platform:
- Pre-recorded video tours
- Live video showings via Google Hangouts
- In-person showings (socially distant with masks required)
Ikos recommends to renters that they see the property in person before a lease signing. However, since the coronavirus outbreak, tenants coming through our network have been renting sight unseen in increasing numbers.
What we’ve learned so far is that applying pre-showing is a trend here to stay. Renters now have more up front information from Ikos than ever before. From the comfort of one’s living room, our customers can now:
- Watch a video walkthrough
- Examine the floorplan
- Ask questions via chat
- Book a personalized live video showing
- Submit an application
We introduced these capabilities for safety measures at first. These features further enabled renters to make decisions earlier on in their home search. As a result, prospective tenants now have the confidence to submit their applications prior to visiting the space in person. This has been observed in both those relocating from out of state and local tenants perhaps just a couple of neighborhoods away from the rental.
So, in recognizing this emerging trend, here are a few tips that can put you in a better position to rent your property sight unseen.
Cleaning and property checkups prevent early-stage problems.
“Will there be a cleaning prior to move-in?” is one of the more frequently asked questions the Ikos Team gets after the tenants know their application has been approved. When renters walk into a clean space for the first time, it can truly go a long way for the rest of your working relationship (especially in the midst of a global pandemic).
It's also helpful prior to move-in, to walk through the property and double confirm that no additional repairs need to be made. Are all closet doors opening properly? Does the front yard need landscaping? Could the kitchen use another swiffering after the in-person tours have concluded? Simple touch-ups like this always help in establishing trust from your renters when they enter their new home after signing sight unseen.
With this, our Operations Team will always notify you if anything stands out to them while they're accessing your unit. You can also always leverage the “Showings feedback” feature on the activity page of your listing in Homebase. This will help you keep a pulse on these opportunities if any in person tours have taken place prior to your lease signing.
Make sure they love the neighborhood as much as they love your property.
Your investment decisions to this point have led tenants to love your space. The amenities you’ve pursued and the condition of the home prompted renters to apply sight unseen. Your choice to invest in a particular area also carries with it additional selling points. However, making sure those benefits are aligned with renters’ needs will also be key for a smooth lease signing.
Most renters research communities and neighborhoods before applying. Yet, it's always helpful to double confirm they’ve done so on the back end. Resources the Ikos Team recommends to our customers researching neighborhoods include Niche.com and Trulia Neighborhoods. Google Street View can also be a useful tool for renters to take a digital walk down the block and help them in getting a feel for their new community.
Would you also know of any neighborhood associations that would benefit them? Are there local Facebook Groups that could also be a resource for your new tenants? The more info up front that can be provided when renting sight unseen, the better.
Use electronic payments to collect your security deposit and rent.
When prompting your tenants to put money down, there are plenty of digital tools available. These will help you cut back on closing logistics. Valuable time can be gained in this final stage when renters are able to instantly send payments from an app on their smartphone. Some great resources for this include:
- Venmo: Owned by parent company PayPal, Inc. Venmo is a social payment application that allows users to connect their bank accounts in order to send and receive money to one another. With 60 million people on the Venmo platform, chances are your tenants are already using it to help split their rent and utilities.
- Cash App: Of parent company Square, Inc. Cash App is similar to Venmo in how users can send and receive payments electronically. An added benefit is that it also allows people to invest that money on their platform into stocks (and even Bitcoin too).
- Zelle: Integrating to the mobile applications of hundreds of banks and credit unions, Zelle is more than likely available within financial platforms you already use. With their wide range of connections, you can send and receive money straight into your bank account in minutes.
- ACH Direct Payment: Governed by the National Automated Clearinghouse Association (Nacha), ACH direct payments allow most banks to electronically transfer funds and make payments to checking or savings accounts.
E-signature services make virtual lease signings easy.
Remote lease signings are a safe method for signature exchanges amidst COVID-19. By signing early, opportunities for applications to fall through the cracks decrease. To configure an existing lease template of yours for a virtual signing you can use the Docusign and PDFescape websites.
Have questions or want a consultation about renting sight unseen? Feel free to call your Client Advisor. Not sure who your Client Advisor is? Want to get started with Ikos? Feel free to contact us below: