Join the 3,000 people getting fresh weekly insights about proptech and the real estate industry.

    The lengthy process of scheduling a traditional house tour and renting a property can be a nightmare for renters, homeowners, and property managers. The good news is that technology has given rise to a solution to this real estate problem: Self-tours.

    Self-tour tech is becoming a norm for showing houses. Poplar Homes’ data shows that 25 percent of its owners have shifted from traditional guided tours to Self-tours—and the number continues to rise. 

    Property management and real estate companies have opted for this new rental property software. That said, what makes Self-Tours the best choice for real estate investors? 


    What are Self-tours?

    Self-tours enable prospect renters to see properties without the help of an agent. All a prospect has to do is book a Self-tour online and go see the home as scheduled. The property’s key is kept in an electronic lockbox, which is accessed by keying in the serial code on a web page or app.

    With more and more prospects looking for faster ways to lease homes, Self-tours help makes leasing more efficient and convenient for everyone. In fact, a survey by Entrata in 2018 said that apartment hunters prefer more efficient ways to view properties than guided tours. Poplar Homes data also reveals 56% of renters prefer a digital experience when renting, making Self-tours an opportunity for real estate investors.

    Property managers, leasing agents, and owners have also shifted to Self-tours for their properties to get higher ROI. Self-tour homes are more convenient and easier to book than other types of house tours. The more viewings a property has the more opportunities to fill the vacancy fast.  

    But despite the promise of convenience and better returns, there is still some skepticism around this new tech. 



    Are Self-tours safe?

    Some homeowners worry about the safety of Self-tours. Without someone to look after their property, they fear it could get vandalized during a Self-tour or the prospect could unlawfully occupy it as a squatter. 

    While these concerns may be real, there’s no need to fret. Lockbox providers and property managers take safety measures to protect the property, the owner, and the renter. 

    Poplar Homes, for instance, asks prospects to submit their names and contact details before they can book a tour. By requesting the prospect’s information, we ensure that only verified prospects are given access codes. 

    Prospects are also provided limited access to the property. The one-time access code sent to prospects expires after an hour. If they miss their window, they need to ask for another access code. 

    Lockbox providers track and record each visit in their system. Some track their visits through the electronic lockbox (using a credit card feature), while some record prospect information when a tour is booked.

    To give owners peace of mind when their properties are being viewed alone by renters, Poplar Homes requires properties for Self-tours to be unfurnished.  This helps eliminate any risk of damage to furniture, appliances, or other fixtures during a Self-tour.

    The electronic lockbox is equipped with high-security locks to keep the keys and the house itself safe at all times. The lockbox is designed to be sturdy, so it can withstand harsh weather and break-in attempts.


    Speeding up the leasing process


    How Self-tours help owners

     If you’re an owner thinking about switching to Self-Tours, take a closer look at these benefits. 

    Self-tour tech gets rid of lengthy communication between agents and prospects. With Self-tours, booking is now faster and easier than ever. 

    Poplar Homes reveals that 48-percent of prospects are aged 18 to 34composed of Millennial and Gen Z renters. As these prospects are of working age, the only time they can view and tour homes are most likely when work is over.

    Rently’s data shows 70-percent of showings happen after work hours and on weekends. Poplar Homes Self-Tours have extended hours and zero blackout dates, eliminating the need to skip work to view a home. The flexibility this offers makes Self-tour homes more attractive to renters. 

    In addition, Self-tours can lease your property faster. While most real estate companies only allow one guided tour a day, Poplar Homes Self-Tours can get you as many as 15 visits a day. 

    More tours mean more prospects viewing your property, and more prospects can mean more applications!

    Renting your property?


    How Self-Tours help renters


    If you’re a renter, say goodbye to crowded open houses and limited guided tour schedules. Save time by reducing back-and-forth communication with agents and homeowners on the showing day. 

    Self-tours let you take control of your time, as you can book a tour at a time that works for you.

    It’s extra convenient, too. You don’t have to wait for landlords or leasing agents to show you the property. Simply access the home on your own and at your own pace. 

    What’s more, you get to view Self-tour rentals even on holidays! Since properties on Self-tours don’t need agents to walk you through, you can book a tour without needing to see the owner or agent’s availability. You can explore the home on your own at your preferred date and time.

    Renting your property?


    The Bottom Line


    As technology has become a pivotal part of life, it is also changing the real estate platform for the better. Renters, owners, and agents are now empowered by technology to refine the entire rental experience. 

    Self-tours are quickly becoming the standard for viewing a rental home, making the experience quick, convenient, and easy for all. With all its advantages and benefits, Self-tours might just have cracked the code to renting smarter.

    Want to be the first to get the latest news and updates on rental technology?