Self-Showings: How to Self-Show Rentals with a Smart Lockbox

The property management industry has seen waves of new technology hitting the market. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of new real estate technologies have made certain processes easier and more efficient for everyone, from prospective renters to tech-savvy property managers and landlords.

One of the big technology-backed services we've seen take hold is "self-showings" - the ability for a prospective renter to see a property on a self-service basis. If you're not familiar with how this works (or if you're wondering if self-showings are safe), keep reading!

Let's dive into what self-showings mean for you, your business, and your prospective renters.

What are self-showings?

Before we get into self-showings, what's the typical way for a prospective renter to see a property?

Usually, the prospect will come across a listing they're interested in and then reach out to the property manager to ask about touring the unit. After several back and forth emails or phone calls to schedule a tour, the property manager or a showing agent will meet the prospect at the scheduled time to open the doors and show them around the vacant unit.

This high-touch service is great when you can make it happen! But it's not the most time-effective way to lease a property. When there's a lot of interest in a particular property, there could be dozens of property tours for you, your team, or a showing agent to manage.

So how are self-showings different from traditional showings? 

A leasing agent or property manager will put the keys in a lockbox and place the lockbox on the door (or nearby railing) of the unit they want to lease. They will then give the lockbox code to the prospective renter right before the tour time so the prospect can open the lockbox, get the keys, tour the unit, and put the keys back when they're done.

As you can imagine, this can leave room for bad things to happen - like damage to the unit, lights/heating/AC left on, or missing keys. So what safety measures are put in place when it comes to self-showings?

how to use a smart lock to self-show vacant properties

Are self-showings safe?

Thanks to new technology, there are many ways to make self-showings as safe as possible. This includes using scheduling software with prospect identification and smart lockboxes with one-time access codes. When a prospective renter wants to self-tour a unit, they must upload a photo ID and some scheduling software companies, like Showdigs, will also require a face scan to make sure the photo ID matches the person who requests a tour.

Once the self-showing is booked and the prospective renter has confirmed, they will receive a one-time lockbox code to use once they arrive at the property. This will allow only that prospect to open the lockbox and self-tour the property. Some scheduling software (like Showdigs) will even follow up with the prospect automatically after the tour to ask for feedback and if they have any questions.

Most scheduling software will also log the time of the tour so you can have an accurate history of who has accessed the property - including team members and vendors.

Use cases for self-showing rental properties

So when would you use self-showings for your rental properties? Self-showings aren't best for every property or every situation, so here are some use cases for self-showings:

  • When the available unit is still occupied
  • Properties that are far away
  • Lower-priced, vacant units with a lot of interest

When the available unit is still occupied

When the unit you need to rent is occupied, self-showings are not a great idea. Current tenants will not appreciate potential tenants letting themselves in to self-tour their current residence. While the unit is occupied, you can use a team member or showing agent to show the property during specific times that the current tenants have agreed to. Once the unit is vacant, switch over to self-showings to save time and money.

Properties that are far away

If you manage properties that aren't in town (or even in-state), self-showings are a great option if you don't have a showing agent to show the property. If all your properties are nearby, self-showings allow you the opportunity to branch out and take on more properties that are farther away.

Lower-priced, vacant units with a lot of interest

One more use case for self-showings is when you have lower-priced, vacant units that could garner a lot of interest. You could have a team member show the property 10+ times or pay a showing agent to do so. Or you could use self-showings to cost-effectively show and rent the vacant unit!

RentSavvy, a property management company in Seattle, was able to book 14 self-showings in one weekend and had three applications by Sunday evening. The unit was completely turned over in less than a week, without the property manager ever stepping foot inside the place. The leasing process "was almost magical," according to the property owner.

Enabling self-showings for a property management business

So how can you start allowing prospective tenants to self-tour your properties? First, make sure you have scheduling software in place that can seamlessly integrate with a smart lockbox. Next you'll need a smart lock - we recommend CodeBox since it works perfectly with Showdigs' scheduling software. Once you have the lockbox secured at the property, you just need to connect the scheduling software to the lockbox so that you'll be able to generate one-time codes for self-showings.

use showdigs and codebox to offer self-showing for rental properties

Showdigs plus CodeBox is a perfect match

End-to-end self-showings are a convenient, easy, and cost-effective way to rent your properties. Showdigs' automated scheduling software integrates seamlessly with CodeBox smart lock boxes to rent your units quickly and efficiently.

Get started with your free Showdigs account today!