The following blog article was contributed by Onerent Property Management.

As the country gradually reopens the economy, industries innovate fast to get back on their feet and survive in the new normal. For those in real estate rentals, deciding the next step for your property has never been this crucial.

Even as cities are slowly coming back to life, consumers continue to apply social distancing measures. They want not only what's convenient for them, but also what's safe for their health and well-being.

Industries respond to this clamor, by operating with no physical contact necessary, from personal services to food deliveries to car rentals. Every industry is becoming contactless — even real estate and rental property management. Now is the best time for property owners to consider going contactless through technology as consumers prepare for the future of real estate.

Businesses go digital to survive

It's no secret that Gen Z and millennials—which comprise 65% of renters—are digital natives. As they prefer online services, you need to make your rental properties easily accessible to them online.

75% of consumers expect companies to leverage technology to create better experiences for their customers. While most renters have always lived with technology, this expectation increases the demand for easy tech solutions that change the way we rent.

Finding a rental home has gone from driving around neighborhoods to browsing through online listing sites. Creating accessible ways for renters to discover and gain interest in your property is becoming increasingly important. You're in a better position if you can allow renters to do the whole end-to-end rental process online, as it is the gold standard.

From browsing listings, taking a virtual tour, applying to a property, and signing a lease, all can be done contactless. This saves you time and effort; it also gives you a competitive edge for making it possible to rent out a home without human contact.

Rental efficiency with AI-driven chatbots

Leveraging data and AI, rental services are taking a huge leap in providing a virtual rental assistant in the form of a chatbot. Chatbots are right on time for the contactless rental revolution, creating a faster and more streamlined rental experience.

Most property management work involves a lot of conversations between the property owner and the renter. For owners, especially those whose hands are full either with business or personal pursuits, don't want to contend with this back-and-forth.

As most renters prefer to stick to their timelines for finding a home, they want instant replies to their rental queries 24/7. One unanswered inquiry can mean thousands of dollars going down the drain.

You won't need to worry about that when you have a chatbot ready to answer questions from a prospective renter, from supplying details about your property, scheduling a tour, to helping renters apply online successfully.

The power of having a chatbot to help you manage your property lies in its ability to answer several inquiries at once. It's a win-win for both — renters get quick responses to their inquiries, allowing them to find the property they want quickly, and owners rely on a chatbot's efficiency to handle multiple inquiries, taking the load off their shoulders and leasing the home faster.

Tours don't have to be in-person

Have you ever tried playing videogames with a VR headset? It's surreal, right? You feel like you're in a different place, even though you didn't physically go anywhere. That's one of the many beauties of virtual tours.

Virtual tours allow prospects to have a 360-degree walkthrough of your property right at the comfort of wherever they are. Prospects can view a digital space of the bedroom, bath, furniture, appliances, amenities, and even take measurements of the space. You can throw away your worries about foot traffic soiling your property or, worse, potentially spreading germs or viruses.

No more driving to meet in-person and give prospects a physical tour of your property. Instead, renters take a virtual tour online using their phone or desktop and even apply immediately after the virtual tour.

In searching for a home, 32% of renters prefer to take a virtual tour due to physical distancing rules, and 11% prefer to take a virtual tour in general.

Equipping your property listing with a virtual tour goes beyond following physical distancing—its benefits are long-term. You can keep on using it for all your listings, and it can help you keep track of your property's condition.

Showing your property virtually keeps it contactless, allowing you to adjust to the pandemic. But more importantly, it allows you to grow your investment for the long-term.

Worry-free Applications and Tenant Screening

Having a qualified tenant is one of the most important elements of growing your real estate investment. To screen a tenant, you'd need to get important documents and information. While this is easily done online, following up on each missing document can prove to be tedious and stressful.

Going digital and contactless means you have the power of notifications at your fingertips. If renters need to be reminded about their missing documents, you won't need to do it manually.

As soon as renters apply, they're notified about their application status via chatbot and automated email or SMS.

Opening up more channels of communication keeps renters informed and streamlines the application process. Plus, no more documents cluttering around; everything can be securely stored in the cloud.

Transactions stay secure

Advancing technology isn't only transforming the way renters search for homes but also how they make payments. Online payments have always been a ready option, but renters new to this concept may have had their hesitations.

Tech-enabled real estate companies provide secure online payment features, often partnering with banks. Automated payment notifications also keep renters updated and lessen the risk of missing a due date.

Processing rent payments online makes the collecting rent less daunting, all the more if it's automated as a monthly recurring payment. It's no longer a task that renters have to remember to do each month, but more of something they easily tick off on their to-do list.

The Bottomline

Contactless rentals are becoming the standard for managing a property and making sure it's adaptable in any environment. So if you want to keep your rental investments viable regardless of the local or global situation, look to adopt new technology to improve your investing strategy.

If you're observing physical distancing or simply want to be hands-off for any reason, you can hand over property management to PropTech companies such as Onerent who has been developing contactless rentals for over five years, prior to the pandemic.

Consumers will continue to seek easy tech-solutions, and it's just a matter of time before most industries catch up. Knowing how the market is changing puts you in the best position to strategize your investment. Contactless rentals are the future of real estate, and you can get a head start by making the transition now.

Author Bio: Onerent Property Management

Onerent Property Management offers the first contactless rental experience to help homeowners manage and monetize residential rental properties in the cloud. Its full-stack service manages both the online and offline parts of rentals. Onerent is backed by the Chief of AI at Google and manages $1.4B in properties across 7 major metros in California, Washington, and Colorado.

If you liked this article, subscribe to Rentometer's email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in rental housing.