There’s been a growing trend in the real estate and rental property industry: self-showings. They allow prospective buyers and tenants to tour available properties on their own. However, I think self-showings have a ways to go before they officially replace showing properties in person.
What are self-showings?
Self-showings allow prospective tenants or buyers to enter a property and explore it by themselves. Property owners or managers put a Bluetooth lock box outside the house that can be monitored, locked, and unlocked remotely.
Prospective tenants are given a code so they can let themselves into the unit. In addition, property managers
can see when the property was opened, and when the visitors left. Once they’ve left the property, the code to the lock box can be remotely changed so the visitors can’t get back in without the property manager’s permission.
Some real estate agents and property managers may have a follow up meeting to get a better sense of who the prospective tenant is before signing them, but even these can happen virtually with the growing popularity of Zoom and other video chat apps.
Why are self-showings popular?
Nationally, a lot of property managers have started using self-showings, especially in light of COVID-19. Self-showings mean that real estate agents, property managers, property owners, and prospective tenants and buyers aren’t in close contact with each other. With less contact comes less risk of exposure to COVID-19.
However, even once COVID-19 is no longer a concern, we’re most likely going to see more self-showings in the future. In the past, property managers and real estate brokers were running all over town to do showings. It’s hard to keep up with the demand when you have a large number of units that all turnover in the summer
. Self-showings allow you to be in more places at once, leading to fewer vacant units.
Additionally, convenience and tech-savviness from property managers is now expected by tenants and owners. Therefore, self-showings are growing in popularity simply to increase client satisfaction.
Why we haven’t 100% bought-in to self-showings yet
While we at Niche Realty Associates pride ourselves on being a tech-forward property management company, our clients’ security is always our first priority. At this time, self-showing technology isn’t secure enough for us to transition away from in-person or virtual tours. There’s no way for us to monitor the property or ensure that the key is placed back in the lock box after the prospective tenant leaves the site. These issues have made us wary of transitioning to self-showings until there are more secure technological solutions.
What needs to happen for us to transition to self-showings
As a tech-forward property management company, we’re open to any and all improvements to do our job that make us more efficient, effective, and reliable property managers. I believe within the next year, there will be more solid, secure self-touring technology that will enable us to move in that direction. We will always continue to meet prospective tenants in person before presenting them with a lease, but we can’t deny the convenience of self-showings in the fast paced world of real estate. Even so, I suspect that there will still be some demand for in-person showings so we can answer any questions prospective tenants may have on-site.