Real estate industry leaders share their insights on how the rental market has evolved in the face of COVID-19 and rapidly advancing technology.
Founder and CEO, Naborly
Co-Founder and CEO, Zeus Living
What is the biggest trend you’ve seen in the rental industry during the pandemic?
Dylan Lenz: The overwhelming trend has been the need to very quickly adapt to virtual — virtual showings, virtual rental applications, virtual signatures, and virtual screenings. The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of these processes for many landlords and property owners.
Kulveer Taggar: The biggest trend that we’ve experienced at Zeus Living is demand for flexibility from renters. We’ve seen a sixfold increase year over year in residents booking month-to-month leases with no predetermined end date. This gives them flexibility to stay as long as they want and make a decision on where they’ll go next when they’re ready. With over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce fully remote, people have a great deal of geographic flexibility and want to take advantage of that.
How has technology helped empower the modern property manager?
Barbara Corcoran: Real estate technology is booming, and for good reason. It’s an industry ripe for innovation. New tools are helping brokerages and realtors move faster, more effectively, and with more efficiency. It’s a wave that’s taking off and if you’re not riding it, you’re being left behind. In this competitive field, it’s crucial to not just keep up with trends but to be a trendsetter yourself. Remember that the old boys get cocky and fall asleep at the wheel. It’s the new kid on the block that owns tomorrow.
What is the most common risk property owners face from tenants when renting out their property, and how can this be avoided?
DL: While digital services have provided an easy way to advertise rental vacancies, it’s also opened your property (and your information) up to unscrupulous actors. Many landlords still don’t bother to vet or screen their tenants; they go on a “gut feeling,” and this can have disastrous consequences. Screening is proven to lower the risk of defaults by over 85 percent and is key to protecting your property and your investment.
What do you think is the key to increasing tenant retention and satisfaction?
KT: The key to improving retention and satisfaction is anticipating their needs and acting on them. What we see with the younger generations is that they want to invest in experiences over possessions. They want to be more mobile. And they want to do that without a ton of headache and hassle. If we can give them an easy booking process, flexible lease terms that allow for shorter stays, and furnished homes with household essentials already stocked, we’re giving them a style of renting that works for them.