One of the most challenging aspects of renting a property is coordinating a showing. Many schedules must align, and of course, all parties must show up to the appointment! Both landlords and tenants typically will need to juggle their work/personal schedules around each other to make viewing possible.
Some landlords may hire a Real Estate Agent to take care of the scheduling process for them. Agents will usually make themselves available to show properties at all hours of the day and on weekends. Keep in mind however that Agents can only sustain this schedule for so long on any given rental listing. When it comes to time spent versus the amount earned, there is often very little room for profit for Agents handling rental listings. In reality, the Agents profit margin can (directly or indirectly) drive the entire process which is not necessarily fair to either the tenant nor the landlord (the Agent’s client)
Here is an example of how this might work in the real world:
Sally owns a single family rental property in the City of Warwick. Sally knows that single-family rental properties typically generate a lot of showing requests within the first few weeks of being on the market. She also has a tricky job schedule as well as busy family activities. Realizing that she probably won’t have the time to show her rental property correctly, she decides to hire a Carol, her local real estate agent, and friend to do the job for her.
Carol is an Agent who primarily dedicates her attention on selling versus leasing property. She knows that if she takes on too many rental listings, she may not have the time to focus on her sellers and buyers, which typically bring in far more in commissions. She also knows that to show a rental property correctly, she needs to make herself available to appeal to many different schedules. Finally, Carol has experience renting single-family properties. She knows there is likely to be a lot of interest and activity right from the beginning. To be a profitable contract for her, she needs to rent the property quickly.
Carol did a good job listing the property. She took some great photos and was very descriptive. In the first week alone, she receives 35 phone calls and emails and 15 showing requests. Out of the 15 showing requests, she was able to accommodate 7 of them (don’t forget, she still has other clients/properties to service, and she also has a personal schedule to maintain).
At the start of week two on the market, Carol receives five applications to rent Sally’s single-family home in Warwick. She gets an additional 20 phone calls and emails and needs to accommodate ten other showing requests. On top of this, she still must offer a showing to the eight interested parties from the week before (even though they have already likely moved onto another property). She must also process all five application sets (an application set includes a certain number of minors and adults to be occupying at the same time). Based on the number of interested parties and applications submitted, Carol is feeling confident that the property will rent very quickly and that a qualified applicant is in the mix. She needs to shift her focus from conducting showings to processing the applications on hand. She is forced to cut back on showings and turn her attention to processing the applications.
Carol does an excellent job for Sally and finds her a group of tenants with stable employment, decent credit, and positive rental history. The tenants pay their deposit and first month’s rent and move in a week later. Everyone is happy!
So what’s the problem? The landlord fills a vacancy, the tenant gets the house they applied for, and Carol got paid without having to operate at a loss.
The problem is that Carol’s schedule and workload may have limited her ability to show Sally’s property. Surely she couldn’t have made herself available for every showing request that came through? How many more applications may have been submitted had Carol been able to fulfill all showing requests? Was the landlord presented with all viable applicants that might have been interested in their property? Did Carol fulfill her fiduciary responsibilities to her client to find the best tenant for their property?
If we hesitate to answer yes to any of these questions, then it is hard to state that the transaction was fair and equitable to all parties. The problem is not with Carol as an Agent. Realistically speaking, Carol can only accommodate so many showings in a day. She can only handle so many phone calls and emails. She can only process so many applications. Even if she had help from an assistant or a team member, Carol merely is limited in what she can do with the time she has. Don’t forget; it is likely that Carol is also working multiple other transactions and servicing other clients at the same time.
Here at Zen Real Estate Group, we do not limit the success of our listings based on an Agents availability. Instead, we employ smart scheduling features that allow prospective tenants to view properties on their own, safely and securely, seven days a week from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Appointments are scheduled when it is convenient for the tenant. Most importantly, through our systems, tenants can obtain access in as little as 60 seconds! When a tenant is ready to apply, they complete their rental application online!
Does this mean we should replace our real estate agents with systems? No! There will and should always be an Agent behind every transaction. Skilled Agents have the experience to help all parties successfully navigate throughout the transaction. Rently is merely a tool to assist Agents in the showing process and operate more efficiently.
By utilizing the Rently smart show feature, we can ensure that all interested parties are afforded the opportunity to view and apply for a property quickly and efficiently, without limitations to another person’s schedule. This maximizes the chance of matching the most qualified party with the best property possible.
User feedback on this process has been super positive and very well received! Although the process may be fairly new to the Rhode Island housing market, we often find that tenants actually prefer going through the property on their own.