Every Monday, we meet and discuss, among other things, the previous week’s rental marketing activity.
We discuss our showing levels.
Number of applications we processed.
Leases we signed.
And a host of other stuff.
All these Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) give us a good sense of the health of the rental market in Central Indiana.
Admittedly, this past Monday, I wasn’t excited about reviewing the previous week’s numbers. Given all the turmoil in the world right now, I was convinced we would see a sharp downturn in our numbers.
And… I was totally wrong.
Applications? Very strong.
Leases Signed? Right in line.
Now, clearly, we took a big turn last week here in Indianapolis, as our Governor announced a “stay at home” scenario that will last until April 6th.
So, we’ll see if showing levels continue to stay strong.
But, how do we explain why showing numbers and general rental activity continue to show strength?
Indianapolis is a Seasonal Rental Market
Indianapolis is a seasonal rental market and we’re in the height of our leasing season, Coronavirus be damned.
Likely the major driver is simply the time of year.
A certain segment of the population either needs to, or wants to, move.
We’d be naive to think that the COVID-19 outbreak won’t cause some people to just stay put and wait until we’re out of this mess before finding their new home.
However, as evidenced by our showing levels, people are still on the hunt.
Indianapolis Real Estate is an Essential Business Activity
Although the Governor issued a “stay at home” requirement, this provision does exclude essential businesses.
Fortunately for us in Indiana, real estate is considered an essential business activity. So, Tenants in search of a rental home do have the right to view homes.
Other states aren’t so lucky.
I’ve seen cases where other property management companies in the country have to suspend all showings until shelter requirements are lifted, which presents obvious problems.
So, Tenants in search of their new home are perfectly able to view homes whenever they wish.
Self-Showing Services are Key
We all know all about social distancing. Most of us feel apprehension about being near people and for good reason.
Self-showing services, like Rently, for example, have proven to be god-sends in an environment like this.
We use Rently and I’m certain systems like these are a huge reason showings have continued to be strong.
If you aren’t familiar with this technology, here’s a quick rundown:
Prospects can schedule showings right from an application. Once the prospect is verified, they are provided a code to enter the home. No human intervention is required.
Other Non-Contact Systems
In addition to Rently, we utilize to other key systems that are so important in today’s environment.
First, our application process is totally digital. The application is filled out online, paid with a credit card and all verifications are conducted electronically.
Second, all lease signings are conducted with e-signature software, so we avoid the need to meet Tenants at our Office to sign a lease.
Third, our move-ins are now done remotely. Once the Tenant satisfies their move-in requirements, we email a lockbox code to the Tenant the day of move-in.
Where will all this go?
Obviously, we're in uncharted waters here. We have no good roadmap for pandemics and how real estate is impacted.
Again, there's no question that COVID-19 has impacted our World in dramatic ways. But, at least to this point, it's not had a significant impact on our Leasing?