Long gone are the days when the easy way to find a flat to rent was to look in the window of the corner shop.
Property professionals have turned their backs on filing cabinets, index cards and manual spreadsheets.
And house-hunters no longer have to visit their local high street to browse suitable properties and head home clutching printouts of likely candidates.
Technology has changed the game. And while some letting agents need to play catch-up, others are embracing all the digital world has to offer to boost efficiency, save time and lower costs.
They’re embracing a wide range of software to improve systems and workflows. ‘Proptech’ that’s powering productivity, personalising customer service and ultimately generating more business.
Read on to explore how digital transformation is revolutionising the letting process.
The Appeal of Apps
Smartphones and tablets have streamlined day-to-day business operations for many industries. And the lettings sector is no different.
Agents who spend much of their working day on the road have easy access to essential info on the move. Landlords can manage their portfolio from anywhere in the world thanks to mobile-friendly dashboards that display upcoming viewings, offers and documentation checks. And tenants can search for suitable property to rent from the comfort of home.
There’s an app for everyone involved in the letting process:
Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location: these property listing sites are often the first port of call for tenants, showcasing what’s available complete with images and floorplans. They’re also the perfect marketing tool for agents.
Google Maps: essential for agents, not just for getting directions but to familiarise themselves with an area and offer knowledgeable service.
AroundMe: another app that puts local knowledge in the hands of letting agents. During viewings, a quick check allows them to inform prospective tenants about the nearest petrol station, GP surgery and supermarket.
Dropbox: especially good for photos, this cloud storage platform lets agents carry all their essential documents with them, safe in their smartphone.
CamScanner: the ability to scan documents such as contracts while away from the office can speed up the letting process, boosting customer service and saving valuable time.
And the list goes on: rental yield calculators, Wi-Fi and mobile signal strength checkers and even apps to help landlords choose paint colours are available.
Online Document Sharing
The digital world demands a slick document sharing system. Those filing cabinets crammed with property and client details just won’t cut it.
Step forward online saviours such as Google Drive, Zoho and Microsoft OneDrive, all designed to organise, streamline and secure.
Storing and managing documents online delivers numerous benefits:
Ensures confidential information related to the business and its clients is protected.
Simplifies employee collaboration as feedback can be viewed and acted upon by everyone thanks to real-time communication.
Enhances productivity as editing takes place on one master document and can be done away from the office.
Allows flexible access from any device, anywhere, unlike a shared drive which may only be accessible from an office-based computer.
In the letting process, an efficient online document management system will make life easier for employees, landlords and tenants. There’ll be less room for costly errors – either financial or reputational – and more room for a streamlined service which saves money, time and hassle.
Introducing the right tech can help a letting agent achieve business nirvana: the paperless office.
A crucial component of this is a way to sign documents digitally. Gathering hand-written signatures can significantly slow down the letting process, risking changes of heart by tenants and inconvenient delays to completed contracts.
eSign apps are the answer: a way to create secure electronic signatures and add them to any type of paperwork.
Apps like DocuSign are used by thousands of property professionals to sign and send millions of documents. They allow all parties to track the progress of a tenancy agreement via an online dashboard, sealing the deal quickly and efficiently.
Master Data Management
In the fast-paced and competitive world of lettings, keeping ahead of industry rivals is crucial.
One helpful tool is master data management (MDM), a comprehensive method of keeping control over high levels of complex and every-changing information.
MDM provides a single, trusted overview of data across a business. It offers agile self-service access, analytical graph-based insights and a user-friendly dashboard.
By creating a 360-degree master file, employees have a common point for both reference and analytical data. With inaccurate or duplicate records eliminated, internal process can be streamlined and data quality guaranteed. This can then be used to drive business intelligence, inform best practice decisions and facilitate compliance.
For a letting agent, this valuable store of data can then be analysed and used to predict how landlords and tenants will act. Predictive behaviour analysis spots past and current patterns and trends using methods such as data mining, data visualisation and algorithm clustering.
It then forecasts future behaviour and can be used to answer questions such as:
Who are our most profitable clients?
Which landlords are most likely to sell?
Which tenants are most likely to default on their rent?
Which tenants are most likely to move at the end of a tenancy agreement?
This level of AI-fuelled tech is taking the guesswork out of vital business decisions. It’s especially helpful when devising marketing strategies, allowing precisely targeted campaigns to be delivered to the most appropriate set of clients. A tactic that will lead to customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and a higher chance of becoming a trusted advocate.
There’s no denying that tech is changing the letting process. It streamlines and automates to free up time for agents to focus on offering a personalised and professional service.
A win-win situation for everyone.
Learn how people-focused technology from MakeUrMove can improve your property letting experience.