How You Can Approve the Best Residents Without Meeting Them

Sometimes, the best way to get something done is to do it from home. Agoraphobics will get everything delivered, game developers perfect their office to exactly their liking so they can spend hours creating, and the best reading nook is one built in a private corner of the living room. More and more people are working from home these days where all they need is a good internet connection and the ability to plug in their ideal cup of coffee. As a property owner and manager, can you follow in their footsteps and work entirely from a virtual office?

With the right tools, that answer is yes.

Sometimes, the best way to get something done is to do it from home. Agoraphobics will get everything delivered, game developers perfect their office to exactly their liking so they can spend hours creating, and the best reading nook is one built in a private corner of the living room. More and more people are working from home these days where all they need is a good internet connection and the ability to plug in their ideal cup of coffee. As a property owner and manager, can you follow in their footsteps and work entirely from a virtual office?

With the right tools, that answer is yes.

Step One: Online Marketing

There are plenty of ways to market a vacancy for your rental property. Word of mouth is a fantastic, wildfire tool that can really spread information, but that is what it is: wild fire. You cannot always control your digital reputation. There are other ways to market your property. Plenty of people will talk about Craigslist, magazine ads and more, but what else is there?

While you should never underestimate the power of free vacancy listing websites, you want to make sure your advertisements are consistent across all websites. That’s where a great property management software like CICTotal Manager comes in. Many property management software services have marketing tools that allow you to syndicate listings and automatically post them to all of the listing websites. This could be Apartments.com, Zillow, or Hotpads. Your rental property’s website is also a great, direct way to market your vacancies.

Step One: Online Marketing

There are plenty of ways to market a vacancy for your rental property. Word of mouth is a fantastic, wildfire tool that can really spread information, but that is what it is: wild fire. You cannot always control your digital reputation. There are other ways to market your property. Plenty of people will talk about Craigslist, magazine ads and more, but what else is there?

While you should never underestimate the power of free vacancy listing websites, you want to make sure your advertisements are consistent across all websites. That’s where a great property management software like CICTotal Manager comes in. Many property management software services have marketing tools that allow you to syndicate listings and automatically post them to all of the listing websites. This could be Apartments.com, Zillow, or Hotpads. Your rental property’s website is also a great, direct way to market your vacancies.

Step Two: Virtual Tour

There are two types of virtual rental property tours. One is a 3D (ish) tour you can upload in lieu of, or with, standard photographs that you use to pull a potential applicant in. This requires the ability to take panoramic photographs that then become a tour that people can pinch and zoom and look around as they please. To accomplish this a newer smartphone or professional camera with panorama will be required. You will have to initially go to the property (or hire someone) to create this, but after that, you’re good.

The other is live, meaning while the potential applicant may leave, you may go to the vacant property and video chat with the potential applicant. You can talk about what they see, the beautiful small details you won’t see in pictures, such as soft closing kitchen drawers, wainscoting on the walls, an updated light fixture, or how new the water heater is. This is particularly useful for people who are looking to move states, have children they need to wrangle, want to save gas, and a whole slew of other reasons to stay home. Offering a virtual walk through or the 3D Panoramic opens you up to new applicants you may not have gotten otherwise.

Step Two: Virtual Tour

There are two types of virtual rental property tours. One is a 3D (ish) tour you can upload in lieu of, or with, standard photographs that you use to pull a potential applicant in. This requires the ability to take panoramic photographs that then become a tour that people can pinch and zoom and look around as they please. To accomplish this a newer smartphone or professional camera with panorama will be required. You will have to initially go to the property (or hire someone) to create this, but after that, you’re good.

The other is live, meaning while the potential applicant may leave, you may go to the vacant property and video chat with the potential applicant. You can talk about what they see, the beautiful small details you won’t see in pictures, such as soft closing kitchen drawers, wainscoting on the walls, an updated light fixture, or how new the water heater is. This is particularly useful for people who are looking to move states, have children they need to wrangle, want to save gas, and a whole slew of other reasons to stay home. Offering a virtual walk through or the 3D Panoramic opens you up to new applicants you may not have gotten otherwise.

Step Three: Online Applications

Applying online makes everyone’s lives easier. No one has to get up, no paper is wasted, no gas is spent, no one has to ask everyone around if they have a pen. If they can apply with something as simple as a link, there’s no worry, no stress. It’s as easy as your applicants simply typing in their information, and once it’s done, you can review all your online applications from the comfort of your pajamas.

Step Three: Online Applications

Applying online makes everyone’s lives easier. No one has to get up, no paper is wasted, no gas is spent, no one has to ask everyone around if they have a pen. If they can apply with something as simple as a link, there’s no worry, no stress. It’s as easy as your applicants simply typing in their information, and once it’s done, you can review all your online applications from the comfort of your pajamas.

Step 4: Background Check online

Once the application is in and you’re in the process of picking the best candidate, you’ll need a background check. This helps you verify if applicants fit your property’s written rental standards – from if they meet your income requirements to if they have any alarming criminal records. You can complete all of it online without ever interacting face-to-face with your applicants. While many resident screening services have online capabilities in which you can request a report be processed – we recommend looking into property management software integrations. By integrating your resident screening, such as CIC, you get all the benefits of your credit and background check service but completely online and within your current property management software.

Step 4: Background Check online

Once the application is in and you’re in the process of picking the best candidate, you’ll need a background check. This helps you verify if applicants fit your property’s written rental standards – from if they meet your income requirements to if they have any alarming criminal records. You can complete all of it online without ever interacting face-to-face with your applicants. While many resident screening services have online capabilities in which you can request a report be processed – we recommend looking into property management software integrations. By integrating your resident screening, such as CIC, you get all the benefits of your credit and background check service but completely online and within your current property management software.

Step 5: Online Lease Agreement

So, you found the perfect resident. That’s amazing! It makes sense you will want to have the lease agreement online. There are plenty of ways to get that e-signature on the dotted lines, from docusign, eforms, or more advanced products that will cover you from application to the lease such as Ready2Apply.

Then it’s all done! You’re ready for everyone to move on and move in. Hopefully you managed to find your resident without ever being required to break social distancing or leave your office for several hours. While it’s nice to meet in person, it’s even better to have all options available.

Step 5: Online Lease Agreement

So, you found the perfect resident. That’s amazing! It makes sense you will want to have the lease agreement online. There are plenty of ways to get that e-signature on the dotted lines, from docusign, eforms, or more advanced products that will cover you from application to the lease such as Ready2Apply.

Then it’s all done! You’re ready for everyone to move on and move in. Hopefully you managed to find your resident without ever being required to break social distancing or leave your office for several hours. While it’s nice to meet in person, it’s even better to have all options available.

Step 6: Rent Collection

Physical money is notoriously dirty. Unless you live in Canada where you can wash your dollar bills, paper money is notorious for how filthy it is. And really, a check isn’t much better these days. You don’t know who handled it, if the banker printing it washed their hands or what was in the purse the check book rattled around in. These concerns don’t even take into account bounced checks, or playing the waiting game if a check was sent the day rent is due and won’t arrive until several days later.

Online rent payment is the healthiest, fastest option when virtualizing your leasing process. Consider using online resources, such as Payrent (for only rent payments) or your property management software (such as a full suite like CICTotal), to keep everyone clean, safe, and paid on-time.

Step 6: Rent Collection

Physical money is notoriously dirty. Unless you live in Canada where you can wash your dollar bills, paper money is notorious for how filthy it is. And really, a check isn’t much better these days. You don’t know who handled it, if the banker printing it washed their hands or what was in the purse the check book rattled around in. These concerns don’t even take into account bounced checks, or playing the waiting game if a check was sent the day rent is due and won’t arrive until several days later.

Online rent payment is the healthiest, fastest option when virtualizing your leasing process. Consider using online resources, such as Payrent (for only rent payments) or your property management software (such as a full suite like CICTotal), to keep everyone clean, safe, and paid on-time.

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Nicole Seidner

Cole Seidner is a copywriter here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen.

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