No one could have predicted the rapid adoption of technology in legacy industries like real estate that we’ve seen since COVID-19.
As restrictions relax both at home and abroad, will the residential rental industry continue to embrace digital solutions, or will landlords and renters return to business as usual once the masks are off?
Slow to adapt
The real estate industry has been historically dragging its feet. As a result, there are few industries today where you can find people still operating as if it were still the 1980s.
When an industry is stuck in time, pain points get exacerbated. Communication breaks down. And for modern property managers, the cracks are starting to show.
Today, those in the industry who are tech-savvy can see how they can no longer afford to lose out. They have seen how streamlining their processes with innovative technology can not only save them time and money, but also help scale their businesses and portfolios.
Improving the hybrid model
A hybrid model uses part technological and part analog processes. So, while a landlord may post their listing online — they’re taking phone calls for inquiries, requiring paper applications, or even collecting post-dated cheques.
Of course, the hybrid model is necessary in today’s day and age. But as the world advances and the communication apps on our phones multiply, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. Especially for those managing more than a few listings, remembering which platform a specific message was sent on, or which sub-folder your contract lives in can be extremely frustrating, not to mention time-consuming.
While the hybrid model is a step in the right direction, most landlords are not using the right technologies and tools to their fullest potential. Not only does digitalization help with the organizational aspect of renting and managing everything from communication to documents, it also acts as a way to create efficient flows to expedite the entire rental process as a whole.
COVID-19’s rapid push to digital
Property managers and landlords who were on the fence about adopting digital business solutions seemed to have few options once the COVID-19 pandemic began.
When face-to-face interactions were discouraged or even not permitted, we saw landlords use video, 3D, and VR technology to showcase their units to potential renters. Onerous PDF and paper leases became smart digital contracts instead, which provided more accuracy and peace of mind when renters and landlords weren’t able to see each other.
A 100% digital rental journey
At liv.rent, our mission since our launch in 2018 has been to provide digital solutions for every step of the rental process. As renters and landlords ourselves, we wanted to bring the benefits of digitalization like streamlined processes and communication, to our community. With greater efficiency, we can allow property managers to take on more units, go after bigger projects, and scale their business.
And while the COVID-19 pandemic pushed adoption rapidly, we’ve known for some time that the in-person component of renting can be optional while not compromising safety and security.
Our platform uses engineered solutions leveraging AI-guided automation to ensure the smoothest journey possible while addressing the challenges and stressors of traditional renting processes.
The return to “normal”
Now that entire generations of property managers and landlords have seen how digital and contactless processes can improve renting for them and tenants, I don’t see a return to the old “normal” on the horizon.
Those processes we saw being used during the pandemic are likely to continue — for example, the tenant screening process. Now, landlords who send their leads a video tour as a pre-screening tool and gather applications before in-person viewings have drastically cut down the amount of time it takes to find the ideal tenant. There’s no more hanging out in the lobby waiting to show the unit to a potential tenant who never arrives because everyone who has watched the video and sent an application is already a serious applicant.
Growing in the digital space
There’s still room for growth online and in-app for the residential rental market industry. For example, online rent payments with new methods (think: cryptocurrencies) are becoming normal. And digital strategies that provide additional security for renters who are sharing private information with landlords will likely grow in demand as Canada’s privacy laws change and adapt.
We saw schools, board meetings, fitness classes, award ceremonies, and so much more transpire in a wholly digital space in the last year. So there’s no reason to doubt that everything about renting can also go digital.
As the world switches now to a hybrid model somewhere between online and in-person engagement, it’s clear that technological adoption in the rental industry is more valuable now than ever.