With COVID-19 temporarily preventing public open for inspections in many states of Australia, many agents have moved to technology to facilitate remote property inspections for tenants.

By David Berridge – Rent.com.au national agent services manager. 

In rent.com.au’s April COVID-19 Property Management Impact survey, 60% of agents surveyed said they had not previously used technology to provide online tools for property inspections.

The survey revealed the most popular tech of choice was walkthrough video (used by 50% of respondents), with FaceTime the next most popular at 29%, and 360 Virtual Tours (26%). 

A number of key factors will influence the type of technology adopted. This will include the volume of rentals managed by the agency, as well as the available technology in the office, for example, Ricoh 360 or Matterport cameras. An office’s preparedness to invest in training and systems or the use of third-party providers such as Asset Reports and Box Brownie will also play a part.

With advances in smartphone technology, the ability for property managers to create a walk-through video easily accounts for the popularity of this being used as a preferred option.

However, 360 virtual tours provide tenants with an experience that’s much closer to an in-person inspection. This tech has a greater ability to offer a true impression of a property, its size, layout and suitability for a tenant’s needs. Many virtual tour systems also include a doll-house floorplan as a feature of the tour.  

Did you know that Rent.com.au supports video and virtual tours? The links are displayed above the ‘Book Inspection’ button to ensure easy access to these important features. 

With some state governments starting to relax social distancing laws to allow for group open for inspections it will be interesting to see how many agencies continue to offer the remote option over the traditional open for inspection. 

How are you managing routine inspections?

Routine inspections conducted by the tenant are now accounting for 83% of all inspections, according to rent.com.au’s COVID-19 survey. As property managers have been forced to consider alternative ways to facilitate routine inspections, the survey indicated just 17% of those surveyed are still conducting in-person inspections.

The results showed that some 65% of agents were asking tenants to follow provided instructions and were using photos taken by the tenant on their own phone. This method, in most, cases, would include instructions for the tenant to take photos of any remedial work requested in the previous inspection.

18% of respondents said that their tenants were conducting routine inspections via an app, with a growing list of suppliers providing remote, self-guided inspection apps.

Source: Rent.com.au COVID-19 Property Management Impact Survey (April 2020).

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