Self-guided rental housing tours in person, without the agent, are growing in popularity – not virtual tours which are everywhere – but actual in-person tours of the property just without the agent tagging along, according to a new survey.
RentCafe’s survey of 3,500 Americans shows 83% would use self-guided rental housing tours, despite having an array of options to tour virtually.
“As social distancing becomes the new norm, the pandemic is fundamentally changing apartment hunting,” RentCafe says in a release. “While “virtual tours” are still on everyone’s lips, there’s another feature becoming increasingly popular: agentless self-guided tours.”
“Unlike virtual tours, self-guided tours allow for an in-person experience, meaning you can tour the actual apartment all by yourself (without an agent), and see how spacious it truly is, how it feels,” said Adrian Rosenberg of RentCafe.
“You pick a date and time from a calendar, go through ID verification, and receive an address and access code for the smart lock. All units supporting self-guided tours have smart locks and thermostats, which are controlled remotely,” he said.
Why self-guided rental housing tours are popular
- Zero face-to-face interaction: 63 percent of the renters who responded to the survey would take a self-guided tour because they can view apartments at their own pace, while 59 percent picked “social distancing” as a reason for using this technology.
- What do renters expect from an agentless tour? Flexible tour durations (62 percent), online scheduling (61 percent), and digital access system (29 percent) are among the top features.
- Coupled with digital resident services such as rent payments with Alexa and in-app maintenance requests, self-guided tours fully digitalize the renting experience.
How does it work?
Self-guided tours mean visiting apartments with zero face-to-face interaction. The prospective renters can open and close the apartment door by themselves through a smart lock.
The potential resident picks a date and time from an online calendar, selects a guided or self-guided tour and confirms the appointment.
Then they go through an ID verification process and receive an address and access code to tour an apartment.
“Living in the time of a pandemic has pushed us into the digital realm faster than ever before, leading to an unprecedented boost in new tech solutions that allow us to continue to work and live while respecting social distancing norms and minimizing health risks,” RentCafe said in the release about the survey. “The need for social distancing is turning self-guided tours into mainstream apartment leasing technology overnight.”