Signing a Lease Online for a Web Listing


November 14, 2018

When a rental applicant can’t see a property in person it is possible to show, sell, and sign the lease online. As 92% of tenants now search for a property online, why not manage the whole rental process online?

 

Do you have to view a property before renting?

Tenants should view a property before renting and can do so in person or online. Your prospective tenants may be from out-of-state or those who are relocating. Documenting your property online offers these applicants the option to view remotely. It allows for 24/7 showings and units to be presented before current tenants vacate. Additionally, it removes coordinating showings in person whilst the property is currently occupied.

woman with reddish blonde hair wearing glasses and holding a phone and sitting on a white chair in a relaxed way with her legs crossed while she looks at an apartment online

Online processes have streamlined rental applications for tenants and landlords. Video tours allow tenants to view your rental from any location. Likewise, landlords can capture rental application data online. They can also process tenants screenings and lease applications without a face-to-face meeting.

 

How to present a rental online

In some cases, the online presence of your property can sell tenants to a rental they haven’t seen in person. Online presentation requires video and photography with specific need-to-know details documented in writing.

To reflect the experience of viewing in person, an online profile of your property must include the following:

  • Video tour
  • High-quality photography
  • Floor plans
  • Documentation of indoor and outdoor space
  • A thorough description of the local area
  • Inventory of amenities included in the rental
  • Transparent details about the deposit and rental fees

 

Video

A walk-through video of your rental will offer the viewer an immediate sense of what the property is like. Before filming, your property must be staged, clean and clutter-free. To maximize the visual sense of space, switch on lights and open curtains and blinds for natural light. Have a walk-through to familiarise yourself with features to capture as selling points. Do highlight deal breakers, such as storage space, air-conditioning or a well-equipped kitchen. Also, capture the front of the property and the surrounding area. Don’t leave anything out! A prospective tenant taking a rental tour in person would see everything. You don’t want tenants to discover something unseen in person after online viewing.

Tips for filming:

  • Apartment tours should be no more than 4-6 minutes in duration
  • Film footage between the eye and hip level
  • Hug the wall when shooting with your recording device
  • Film clockwise looping the property
  • Avoiding filming back and forth through different rooms
  • Make rooms look as big as possible with wide-angle lenses or shots
  • Consider how to open and close your video creating a script of dialogue to read from

 

Photography

a man sits cross legged on the floor in front of a white couch while he holds a camera

The photography of your property should be high-quality and informative. For example, a photo can inform a tenant if your property has parking, washing/dryer facilities or is fully furnished. Displaying these details visually can explain the property in place of text, which can be a headache for tenants to read through. At Blueground, we opt to have properties photographed by a team of professional photographers who shoot and edit our images for rental viewing online. We are also bringing virtual tours to our furnished apartment units worldwide so that our business executive tenants can view the property before arriving.

Tips for photography:

  • Frame shots horizontally with natural lighting where possible
  • Stay out of shot and avoid capturing yourself reflected in mirrors
  • Photograph every room, including entryways, laundry rooms, and outdoor spaces
  • Watermark photos with your contact details to avoid images being used by fake listings

 

Copy

In addition to photography, the written part of a rental advertisement should clearly describe the property and its amenities. For readability, post this information in bullet points, with details on rental fees and terms of the lease. Is your rental pet-friendly? Don’t leave out these extra details that can be key selling points. Also, let tenants know upfront what qualifying checks will be required for tenant screenings. However, don’t publish the actual address of your property. Instead, add cross streets to advertise your location.

Location is an important factor for renters. Make use maps to highlight local amenities and transportation. Also, consider making a local area guide to inform interested prospects of the lifestyle on offer in the area. At Blueground, we have all this information at hand for our tenants through our guest services app. Providing information on these points will answer common questions tenants often respond with. In turn, this can speed up the rental process leading to signing a lease online.

 

Listing

Now you have completed the steps required for online viewing, you can make sure it has maximum exposure by listing it. To advertise online you can add your property to the main free rental listing sites. Posting on social media forums such as local Facebook groups seeking rentals in your area is also effective. Or, you can hire an online agent to manage the listing on your behalf.

 

Building and managing relationships online

To sell your rental to a tenant without viewing in person and get that lease signed, you need to establish a personal connection online. It’s important to be at ease making video calls and potential property walk-throughs via Skype/Facetime. Make sure your communication across channels has a professional and polite tone. This includes how you compose text and email communications, which are only effective if you reply in a timely manner. Written communications should be composed with full sentences and spell checked with proper grammar. When fuller explanations are required, schedule a phone call. You never know when waiting over a weekend to reply could mean losing out on that dream tenant to another apartment.

a couple sits on the couch with their arms around each other while they have a video call with a woman with a yellow shirt and long dark hair

Social media can also be used to build a community of interested renters. If they don’t sign up to the rental, they may do in the future or recommend to another prospect. Providing testimonials from previous renters is another way to build assurance with your applicants when viewing and renting online.

 

Conclusion

Fully documenting your rental upfront for online viewing allows it to be toured by a global audience, many times over. A master file of sorts, you won’t need to update this documentation unless you update the property. Interested prospects can decide if they are interested before contacting you, eliminating tenants that are unsure. You are also opening up your property to the rental market that is relocating to your city from out-of-state or from overseas. Your property can be filmed on your cell phone or tablet.

However, high-end rentals are often filmed and photographed by professionals. If you have a luxury listing consider hiring a videographer to keep up with competitors on the market. They will have access to high-quality camera gear and drones to capture aerial footage, with expertise on how to edit. A good video tour is like a friend going through the property on behalf of the tenant. If you provide this online viewing experience you can convert the tenant applicant process from viewing online to signing a lease online.

Blueground modernizes the rental process offering viewings, tenant screening and signing a lease online. If this interests you, drop us a line to find out more about how we can draw up the best apartment listing and have it rented year-round.


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