Record rental inquiries, digital inspections, and legislative changes…aside from the ongoing impacts of lockdowns there’s a lot going on in the rental and property management space.
REA Group Chief Consumer Product Officer Val Brown explains how the group is catering to the shift with an update on REA’s rent strategy.
- It’s been almost a year since we last spoke about REA’s rent strategy, has the focus shifted in the last 12 months?
REA’s strategic focus for rent remains relatively unchanged. We’re focused on seamlessly connecting property managers, tenants and property owners through innovative products that deliver an enhanced consumer experience.
In the last 12 months we’ve seen record consumer audiences with a 15 per cent increase in year-on-year rental audience visits to realestate.com.au and rental inquiry has experienced a 30 per cent increase year-on-year.
Interestingly, we also know 1 in 3 people who use realestate.com.au are currently renting.
It’s our strong rental audience and engagement, along with innovative products, services and experiences that help us provide more value to our rental agency customers.
2. What have you seen as the biggest challenges for property managers over the last year?
Property managers across the country have been impacted by the challenges over the last year slightly differently, depending on where they’re located.
Property Managers of inner-city units for example have needed to manage owner expectations with the need to reduce rent prices in order to attract new tenants or to maintain the ones they currently have.
There has also been the challenge of assisting tenants who may have been impacted by changes to their financial circumstances as a result of the pandemic, while in many other parts of the country, the challenge has been to maintain sufficient supply of rental properties to cater to the heightened level of demand.
We also saw rental legislative changes in some parts of the country which meant property managers needed to quickly upskill to understand how the changes would impact both their tenants and owners.
With all this in mind we’re delighted to recognise the efforts of Property Managers through National Property Managers Day.
We’ve seen incredible resilience within the rental property industry with PMs going above and beyond for tenants and owners throughout the pandemic. realestate.com.au is proud to support the initiative led by REINSW and backed by the state and territory real estate institutes. We commend the work of our property management customers.
3. We’ve seen rapid digitisation of many industries in the last 18 months including the rental market. How is REA supporting the digitisation of a PMs workflow?
There’s no doubt the rental market has undergone rapid digistisation, for example our data shows that every hour, over 900 digital rental inspections are now made on realestate.com.au.
Our goal is to make the rental application process faster and more user friendly, with increased security and privacy protection for consumers and more time efficient processes for property managers.
We’re always looking to add customer value and over the past year we’ve worked closely with customers to understand what matters most to them.
We’ve taken this feedback and understanding of customer needs onboard and we’ve moved towards a better way to manage rental applications with an all-new rental app process inside our self-service platform Ignite.
Our goal is to help property managers quickly and easily find great tenants, leaving them more time to focus on what they do best.
The improved digistation of the rental app process provides property managers with workflow efficiencies.
Automated references and applicant communication, and the storage of required data and tenant information documentation within the platform all help save time. In addition, our Ignite platform also offers access to insights on rental campaigns and agency performance.
We know the most value we can provide our customers is access to the millions of Australians visiting the rental section of realestate.com.au each month. Improving the consumer experience is also a priority and importantly, rental apps within Ignite also simplifies the application process for tenants with 1-click apply.
4. Are there any extra security measures required with this digital shift?
Absolutely. With rapid digitisation, it’s more important than ever to focus on data security. Rightly so, Australians have high expectations when it comes to businesses adequately protecting personal information and data.
All businesses, including real estate agencies, have an obligation to keep customer data private and secure. This not only ensures an agency operates ethically but it also helps to build trust among consumers and helps to uphold an agency’s reputation.
With this in mind, we have built extra security features into rental apps within Ignite to help bring the peace of mind of more secure protection for tenant data.
This includes two-factor authentication and the digital shredding of documents, reducing the risk for Property Managers of storing sensitive tenant data.
5. Can you share any insight into what we can expect to see from REA in the rent space as we move into FY22?
We will absolutely have a continued focus on enhancing the consumer experience and creating efficiencies for property managers.
Our goal is to continue to create market-leading tenant experiences, providing our customers with tools and insights for faster and smarter decision making and connecting agencies with more owners.