COVID-19 has radically and visibly changed the behaviour of Letting Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Beyond accelerating digitisation, COVID-19 will re-shape technology and Open Banking adoption rate. Forward looking Letting Agents will offer tenants “multi-channel (Android, iOS, Webapp, desktop) based Referencing to (AST) Contract experiences”.
Virtual viewings: showing a property doesn’t have to mean accompanying tenants in person, as virtual viewings have confirmed. Taking the format of 360˚ tours, recorded footage and live video calls, agents can use virtual viewings as a time-saving qualification tool, sparing them the hassle of showing lets to unsuitable tenants. Virtual viewings can also help agents increase their reach to overseas students and international investors.
Online repair reporting: online reporting systems are a great way of identify faults without an agent having to go to a let property. Fixlo, for example, asks tenants to click on a series of pictures via an app, with the facility to upload images and videos to help isolate the problem. This early online diagnosis means 18% of tenants are able to self-fix using the guidance automatically given, without the agent having to visit or spend time sourcing a free tradesperson.
Electronic signatures: signing tenancy agreements on the dotted line with a pen may be a thing of the past, as lettings is quickly adopting digital signatures. Electronic communication allows references, prescribed information and inventories, as well as tenancy agreements, to be signed remotely with a tap of the screen - reducing a process that usually takes days to mere minutes.
Electronic administration: tenancy administration and property management used to be blighted by stacks of paperwork to print and send out but there’s now fast on-boarding of electronic delivery. Almost every lettings-related document and guide can be sent via email, with inventory, mid-term inspection, check in and check out processes now digitalized. There are even ‘self service’ options that allow tenants and landlords to fill in their own reports, without a physical property visit from an agent.
Video negotiations: agents and property managers should embrace more video calling post pandemic, as it offers a more personal way of communicating than an email or voice call. It’s a great tool to reach out to those who’d prefer to limit physical contact, as well as landlords who have invested far away from their own home and for tenants who are too time poor to keep nipping into an office.
Marketplaces like Canopy are ideally and uniquely positioned to offer all stakeholders (Letting Agents, Landlords, Tenants, Insurers, Banks) technology based products which deliver real tangible value – reducing cost for Letting Agents and Landlords and becoming the one-stop shop for all the financial products which a Tenant might need.