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Self-Guided Tours Bring in Renters — but Are the Risks Too High?

Blog Post03/31/2020
Self-Guided Tours Bring in Renters — but Are the Risks Too High?

It’s old news that property management companies are increasingly using high-tech amenities, such as high-speed internet, pre-installed private and community wi-fi, and smart gadgets, to entice quality residents.

Example: Self-guided tours — smart or dangerous?

Or consider that some property management companies are allowing potential renters to tour rental propertiesAnd how can you minimize without a leasing agent present. But what are the risks? And how can you minimize those risks while keeping the convenience they offer prospective tenants?

Essentially, potential renters sign up through an application on the property management company’s website and put down a date and time that works for them. They then receive a code that enables them to open the smart lock on an apartment, of which they view entirely on their own.

On one hand, this type of service can be great for customers and business. After all, property tour times are often limited due to staff availability, and renters may have to wait days before they can view properties. It is a way to offload some of the work of leasing agents, while better meeting the needs of customers.

Consider these statistics from a recent presentation by LeaseHawk at the 2019 TransUnion Property Management Summit:

  • 56% of prospects choose to tour within 24 hours of their initial inquiry (when offered)
  • Over 50% of all web leads are simply trying to book a tour; however, the average response time to a web lead is 48 hours
  • 42% of all communication between leasing agents and prospects is about taking a tour

Self-guided tours enable more renters to tour properties, during times that suit them — and that can lead to a big uptick in conversions. According to data form NMHC’s OpTech Conference & Exposition, lease conversions increase by 86% with self-guided tours versus when leasing agents are escorting potential tenants.

That said, handing over the keys to the castle — to the wrong people — could endanger renters and put the property at risk. Thorough real-time screening beforehand can help ensure that doesn’t happen.

Trust that renters are who they say they are

It is all too easy for criminals or fraudsters to use technology against you. We reported in January that property management companies are concerned about how they will continue to meet customers’ demand for more online services like those mentioned above, while combatting increasingly frequent and sophisticated forms of online fraud and criminal behavior.

Preventing fraud, protecting tenants and feeding potential renters’ need for instant gratification starts with extensive screening and cutting-edge identity verification that can happen in real-time. TransUnion can help with both.

To learn more, visit our Resident Quality Management page.

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