Self-Guided Tours: A SFR Operator’s Secret Weapon

By: Michelle Ramos

Self-guided tours automate the leasing process for single-family rental operators.Self-guided tours automate the leasing process for single-family rental operators.
Back to News

Single-family home sales have skyrocketed in the last two years but have slowed down a bit since summer’s start in what seems to be a correlation with the rising mortgage rates. Although single-family home sales have begun to fall, single-family rentals (SFR) are projected to continue to grow. A recent study by RentCafe of 3,300 renters uncovered that 78% expressed interest in renting a single-family home. If this indicates the market's direction, the SFR should see a surge of renters flock to the market.

Non-Negotiable: Self-Guided Tours

One of SFR operators' most prevalent challenges is touring their for-rent homes. With scattered-site portfolios, operators don't have on-site teams to facilitate tours and answer prospect questions. So for them, self-guided tours (SGT) aren't just a nice to have - they're an integral piece in their sales and marketing toolkit that saves them valuable time and decreases costs.

As the rental landscape continues to evolve, it's vital for owners and operators to not only equip themselves with the right technology that works with them but also to understand what prospects are looking for. Let’s dive into the world of self-guided touring technology and how it benefits operators and renters alike.

What Are Renters Looking For?

Social distancing and the pandemic era changed how we do business, and SGTs became increasingly popular in real estate. These digital innovations seemed to have a sticky effect on renters, who have noted that they prefer doing virtual business transactions and the flexibility that comes with them.

Digitally savvy, today's renters are looking for a tech-first experience when touring their potential new home, and SGTs offer them just that. By allowing the prospect to tour on their own time, SGTs work to extend a home's leasing hours while also allowing more tours to happen simultaneously. So not only do SGTs help operators, but they're giving today's renters exactly what they're looking for: A digital, seamless experience that sets the tone for a modern smart home.

Self-Guided Touring with SmartRent

While self-guided touring technology may seem like a standard product, not all are created equal.

SmartRent's SGTs enable SFR operators to increase occupancy and efficiency, enabling them to spend their time focused on higher-value work. They work alongside the team to generate more leads, extend reach, and can even be customized with each portfolio's branding as desired. Additionally, SGTs provide operators with flexibility and ease of use by automating the leasing process. This automation leads to decreased sales and marketing costs, increased efficiency, and a strong first impression for prospects.

Increasing Efficiency and Saving Time

Touring vacant homes can be tedious, but for SFR operators, prospect tours especially are a very time-consuming experience. Having to physically travel to each house, spend time on the tour, and answer all of the prospect's questions chews up a good portion of the operator's day. SmartRent's SGTs give operators valuable time back in their day by taking physical touring off their hands.

Team members can avoid travel time, shift their focus to more valuable tasks, and let SGT technology do the touring for them. Although not physically present, SGTs allows operators to remain in the loop with alerts throughout different points of the tour. For instance, teams are alerted when a tour is booked at one of their vacant homes. Another alert is sent once the prospect arrives at the home, and a final alert is sent at completion. At the end of each tour, prospects are met with a survey that gathers valuable insights that, following the survey’s completion, are shared with the leasing team. These SGTs also integrate with property management software (PMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to collect real-time data. With these integrations, teams will have this data for follow-up and can focus on building relationships with prospects.

Also, SmartRent's SGTs reduce the need to hire leasing agents, which has been increasingly difficult due to a significant staffing shortage in the industry. SGTs empower prospects to tour at their convenience without the aid of a leasing agent. This lets remaining team members monitor each tour and focus on follow-up, while also helping with retention as team members have less time-consuming tasks on their plates all at once.

The Newest Member of Your Marketing Team

SmartRent's SGTs are a strong tool to have in your marketing toolbox. Working alongside team members, this technology frees up their time and extends your portfolio's reach, leading to more tours and increased occupancy at higher rates.

To streamline efficiency even more, SmartRent provides operators with the tools they need to implement a seamless touring experience from start to finish. As a partner committed to your success, our support includes:

  • 24/7 customer support

  • Custom onboarding surveys

  • Onboarding guide

  • CRM integration guide

  • Lockbox guide

Tailored to Your Needs

At SmartRent, we understand that no two portfolios are the same. While we have a standard hardware package for our SGT solution, the touring experience can be completely tailored to your branding and needs. You can also:

  • Set dates and times when prospects can tour

  • List out features

  • Add photos

  • Enable nearby portfolio homes to make multiple tours easier

  • Personalize start, end, and “Apply Now” link messaging

Each of these elements can be set up in a way that works best for your portfolio. And, as mentioned earlier, the solution easily integrates with PMS and CRM tools to collect and store valuable data.

Saving You Time and Money

More and more renters are flocking to the SFR market every day. Prepare your team with the right tools to meet this demand with SmartRent as a partner. Let them focus on building relationships with residents and prospects while taking one load off their plate with our Self-Guided Tours.

A quick call with one of our experts can open the path for a sustainable, flexible experience for you and your team.