Keeping Rental Messaging Streamlined during COVID-19

May 22nd, 2020
Keeping Rental Messaging Streamlined during COVID-19

Communication is vital in the real estate industry, especially when marketing, showing and closing a rental property. Leasing agents and renters reach out to each other to clarify income history, employment details, and reference checks. Communication becomes essential during the tenant screening process, as landlords review potential renters’ backgrounds to make the best leasing decision. We will discuss how critical effective communication is during the rental process and which steps agents can take to optimize it, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Use Communication to Maintain the Relationship

Since state regulations are fluidly changing, exercise prudence when communicating with potential tenants. In your rental listing, clearly state the terms of the rental and the period for which it is available. If you need to contact your applicants, refrain from doing so after business hours. Flexibility is critical; for example, instead of conducting in-person showings or open houses, offer to do video calls or virtual tours instead. Do not hesitate over fear of “over-communicating”, instead embrace every detail as much as possible.

Be in the Know

As states reopen for business, agents must monitor the evolving regulations that have been put in place due to the pandemic. While real estate is considered an essential business, agents must consider their state’s regulations on essential business. For example, this past March, California issued a stay-at-home order (different from a stay-at-home guidance) in which residents are required to remain in their residences unless for essential tasks such as grocery shopping or exercising. Keeping abreast of these changes reassures your potential renters that you are taking the necessary steps to protect all parties in the rental process.

Leverage Social Media Tools

Social media provides a convenient way to stay informed of the changing local and statewide regulations. As millions of Americans stay at home, these channels become an increasingly used medium to connect leasing agents with renters. By posting ads on social media profiles, agents deploy a tool already used by millions of potential renters. Using the search feature also allows agents to search for keywords such as “rental laws” and “COVID-19 regulations” to keep track of the constantly evolving situation.

What are Common Questions Asked during the Rental Process?

To give every applicant an equal opportunity, leasing agents can ask questions and seek clarification to better understand their backgrounds. Some of these questions include “can you explain your low credit score?” or “can you explain why you only resided at this property for six months?”. Getting clarity on these questions not only gives the leasing agent peace of mind but also reassures the applicant that they are given every chance to secure a lease agreement. Visit our Tenant Screening page for more examples of tenant screening questions.

Consider a Centralized Messaging System

As showing rental properties virtually becomes a necessity during a lockdown, all aspects of the rental transaction must be taken online. To reach out to potential tenants, agents call, send text messages or email, often over a span of a few business days, before the applicants are fully vetted. RentSpree’s online tenant screening service reduces this timeline from days to minutes and consolidates major components of a renter’s profile in one place. Agents can leverage RentSpree’s new messaging feature to communicate with applicants from the dashboard directly, which prevents use of multiple communication channels.

How to Use RentSpree’s Messaging Feature

Agents can now send secured messages to potential tenants, landlords and other agents directly from their RentSpree dashboard. All you need is the recipient’s email address. Once the message is sent, each recipient will receive a message in their email account and all chat history will be saved in the left hand tab. The Messaging feature eliminates clutter and allows for a secure channel between all parties, limiting liability especially in times of uncertainty. For more information on direct messages, click here.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed how agents and tenants conduct rental transactions. As the business becomes virtual, proper communication between both parties becomes essential in successfully closing rentals. By exercising caution and leveraging key virtual tools, agents and tenants can continue their relationship safely and effectively. RentSpree is committed to facilitating communication between agents and tenants by streamlining the rental application process.