How technology is reshaping the apartment renting experience

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When was the last time you poured over the newspaperโ€™s classified section looking for a place to rent or delivered a lease application form at the offices of your local real estate agency? Several years ago, right? Technology has significantly changed the process of securing a rental apartment over the last decade. From the way we search for property, and interact with real estate agents, to the experience living in an apartment. Hereโ€™s a closer look at the digital era of apartment renting and the gadgets, tools and technology the real estate industry is using to making our property hunt more convenient and accessible than ever before.

Where we are

Modern property listings are a significant step up from the chunks of text of yesteryear crammed into the classifieds section of newspaper. It is now possible to view hundreds of properties at once online and contact the agency via a contact form. In the past, one had to drive a significant distance to another suburb to view a property only to discover that the apartment is different to what was promised in the ad. High-definition galleries now give potential tenants a first glimpse at the property before they decide to view the place in person.

Real estate portals, such as Private Property, have brought together a wider selection of listings from different agencies under one roof. Thereโ€™s no need to hop from one website to the next as you can compare hundreds of rental prices side by side, giving you a better chance of finding a place that suits your needs.

You now even donโ€™t need to actively search for property to stay on top of the latest listings. Many real estate agencies have an app with a property feed that pushes daily notifications to your smartphone. Itโ€™s similar to signing up for a newsletter, however, with a property app you donโ€™t have to log into your email email account as youโ€™ll receive notifications related to your preferences, for example property to rent in Johannesburg, on your home screen. With administration services also moving online, the hassle of paperwork shifting from printing documents to sign, upload and send electronically to a paperless lease has become a reality. With platforms like Dropbox and Docusign, you can store files online and submit them even when youโ€™re away on holiday.

tenant in apartment

Where weโ€™re headed to

As the digital revolution took hold, two of the most exciting developments we saw were 3D virtual tours and suburb drone footage replacing or accompanying property images and neighbourhood guides. While it is expected that these trends will continue, we might also see real estate websites add upgraded features so that they are more responsive to changing tenant demands.

For example, real estate companies are currently experimenting with artificial intelligence to create ads tailored for individual users. Using past behaviour on the website, the technology can analyse searches and interests to compile a list of properties best suited for different users. Another emerging technology with massive potential in the real estate sector is virtual reality. With headsets becoming more widespread, users can experience immersive 3D walkthroughs of different properties without having to leave their homes. Finally, the next big thing in apartment renting is the integration of smart technology in newly built units. Landlords are appealing to tenants by automating basic functions. Smart doors and
gates, electronic devices that can be operated via an app, and AI-powered lighting are all set to simplify apartment access and control in the future.

In summary, real estate companies are taking advantage of technological innovation to enhance their customer service. In this digitally smart age, customers now want personalised interactions and connected experiences when searching for property. Technology is helping estate agents to meet that expectation.

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