A quick response to rental inquiries is the first step in ensuring that your vacant units are filled with qualified renters. A failure to do so in this step, could risk property managers losing out on high-quality leads and accumulate lost rent.
But when property managers and their leasing agents are already bogged down with an influx of renters’ emails every day, and they just can't seem to win against the constant struggle of dealing with missed rental inquiries on weekends and after hours, adding a time limit to respond on top of the existing chaotic mix can be nothing short of disastrous.
So, what should property managers do to quickly respond to rental inquiries in order to capture leads and convert them into paying renters? Well, this blog will answer that vexing question soon enough but first, let’s take a closer look at what problems property managers face when responding to rental inquiries.
Despite 71% of renters saying that they expect to hear back from property managers within 24 hours of a listing inquiry, unfortunately, only a shocking 51% have managed to receive timely responses.
This is a pressing concern. What is it exactly that's preventing property managers from responding to these rental inquiries in a prompt manner?
The answer is quite simple: even with the most capable and competent team at the ready, the leasing process is not something that can be managed by only a handful of leasing agents. This rings especially true when property units are being advertised on more listing sites than ever before, resulting in a plethora of more than 200 rental inquiry emails incoming daily to leasing agents’ inboxes and taking up more than 75% of their work hours to answer.
That is a tremendous number of hours being needlessly wasted answering repetitive emails. By wasting their energy on such low rewarding tasks, property managers are unable to focus on their portfolio’s growth which impacts the bottom line negatively.
Even prospective tenants cannot evade the negative consequences of ineffective communication. Not receiving an instant answer to a query can be very frustrating for someone looking for accommodation. Some renters simply stop contacting unresponsive advertisers if left ignored long enough. This can result in serious problems for property managers trying to juggle hundreds of units in their portfolio simultaneously.
Once property managers upload advertisements on multiple listing sites, within a couple of hours of hitting "upload", their inboxes are bombarded with renters asking a variety of questions which can range from simply clarifying the rent, deposits, and cost of utilities to how soon they are looking to fill the unit.
The general impatient nature of modern renters requires property managers to stay on their toes and ensure that these rental inquiries do not stay in their inboxes for longer than 24 hours, lest they risk upsetting renters with a delayed reply.
With a constant pressure to fill a vacant unit as soon as possible, it is very likely that property managers might end up with unqualified leads. But falling into panic and filling up units with any poor-quality lead can only result in eviction headaches and lawsuits in the longer run. That is why it is of utmost importance to properly pre-screen leads so that property managers can choose the best and most qualified tenant for their units.
Millennials constituted 31% of U.S. renters across age segments and housing types, while adult Gen Z renters made up 6%, according to the 2018 American Community Survey data, and this percentage has increased significantly post COVID-19.
Studies have found that for 24% of the Gen Z and Millennials, an instant response to their inquiries is the most important attribute of a good customer experience. They require a swift resolution to their problems or concerns, with authentic and detailed information. To capture the Millennials and Gen Z renter leads, property managers need to adopt tech-savviness not only in terms of the amenities they provide, but, also throughout the move-in process. Ensuring a quick response to prospects through AI-driven automation results in gratifying the needs of upcoming generations.
But what happens when property managers take too long to respond and don’t meet their potential tenants’ expectations? They risk a chance of losing high-quality leads to their competitors. That’s right. If renters do not receive a response within the first 24 hours, they will move on to your competitors, resulting in valuable leads getting lost and wasting your marketing expenditure.
With the rising cut-throat competition in the industry, attracting high-quality leads has become one of the most difficult tasks for property managers, especially with the presence of numerous capable competitors in the market who can provide a variety of options to renters. Responding faster definitely helps property managers gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the game.
Renters value quick and informative communication that adds value to their existing knowledge base at all times, and a property manager's response rate and response time to their rental inquiries can enable them to make decisions faster.
Property managers are known to provide high-quality website experiences when renters receive faster and more precise responses to their rental inquiries along with the relevant information they’re seeking for. Quicker response times certainly leave a favorable impression on prospective tenants. It keeps them engaged throughout the move-in journey and enables them to deliver customized experiences.
Additionally, being responsive also helps property managers’ websites rank higher in the search results. When prospective tenants spend more time on the website and interact with AI-powered chatbots to get relevant information, this improves the website’s SEO ranking in search engines.
Lead to lease conversion is an essential KPI to measure the efficiency of leasing processes in place. For the lead to lease conversions to be fast, accurate, and healthy, it is pivotal to enable real-time conversations between renters and leasing agents on autopilot.
The quicker prospective tenants get their queries answered, the faster they book a showing, consequently, making it easier for property managers to fill vacancies. That’s why we suggest automating leasing communications. It reduces the time taken for leads to convert into long-term tenants, stabilizes rental vacancy rates, and ensures absolutely no leads are missed at any time of the week.
Given the above-mentioned information, it is in a property manager’s best interest to automate communication processes for the following benefits: to save time, reduce workload, fasten lead to lease cycle, and grow their portfolio at a faster rate.
So, what should property managers do to help their leasing teams free up time from completing their mundane and repetitive tasks so that they can focus on the more rewarding aspects of the leasing process and their jobs?
Usually, property managers would resort to outsourcing these repetitive tasks of the leasing process to expensive third-party virtual leasing agents. The best solution is to invest in an intelligent AI leasing assistant that will answer all FAQs, general rental inquiries, tour scheduling, and pre-screen them automatically within 30 seconds. Switching to AI chatbots has proven to be four times easier on the wallet and doesn’t incur any training costs, unlike its virtual counterpart.
Property managers deal with a lot on their plate at any given point in time. They are usually managing hundreds of units at a time and accommodate each renter who is interested in the unit, respond to their rental inquiries quickly, cross-sell and provide the best solutions to their problems - all the while trying to keep their costs low and grow their portfolio.
The only way to make their workload a whole lot easier to deal with is by empowering them with the latest property management tools that are automation-driven. AI-powered tools such as leasing automation software can aid property managers with their day-to-day activities. It ensures faster lead to lease conversions and less time taken to fill vacant units with the highest-quality tenants, all the while improving your bottom line.
In the first episode of LetHub’s podcast, we discuss the challenges of starting and growing a property management company amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We also discuss the impact of eviction moratoriums on both property managers and tenants. Our guest is Brad Holtzman, CEO of Green Oak Property Management, situated in LA.