At On-Site, we get a variety of questions from property managers–everything from how to implement software to marketing best practices. What we’ve learned is that there are a lot of misconceptions about online leasing.
This isn’t too surprising, given the apartment industry’s reputation as slow to adopt technology, and the rapid growth of online leasing as a business tool over the past two years. The shift (from paper to online) is in large part due to the staggering growth of mobile, with than 133 million U.S. consumers now using smartphones to shop, bank, and socialize with friends.
Have you added online leasing to your marketing toolbox? If not, what’s holding you back?
Here are three misconceptions we often hear:
- I’ll lose human interaction – Building relationships with your renters, especially at the stage before they sign the lease, is a key element of being a property manager. Enabling prospective renters to search and sign a lease online takes out that personal element, which is disconcerting. However, why not allow that as an option? Some renters don’t need an entirely face-to-face relationship to rent a property, so be flexible for them. You’re able to accommodate tech-savvy renters alongside the traditional renters that you already have access to. There are options in online leasing that provides prospective renters with the choice of leasing online, at the property, or a combination of the two.
- I’ll lose control – Your properties are your biggest asset and it can be scary to give up some of the control. For instance, you might think that by using online real-time unit availability you won’t be able to control what inventory is shown to prospects. In reality, you just need a provider that gives you the flexibility to easily manage what properties are shown, how long units can be held, etc.
- I’ll lose in a court dispute – Every property manager’s nightmare is a tenant bringing them to court over a dispute, but you always have to be prepared for that worst case scenario. We get numerous questions about the legality of electronic signatures. The reality is that it has existed since June of 2000 and is recognized within the US and internationally. In addition, electronic signatures are generally accepted for tax returns, credit card agreements and even software downloads. Leasing is just next on the list. (See frequently asked questions about electronically executed lease documents here).
Don’t get caught up in these common myths of online leasing. Think of it as a necessary tool to expand your reach and help your business grow.