Americans have been on the move lately. Many are fleeing urban cores in search of more space and better value, and remote-work arrangements have made proximity to work a moot point for a large swath of the population.
Combined, the two factors have spurred an uptick in out-of-town prospects for landlords — renters looking for new housing from other cities, other states, or even across the country.
To lock in these potential tenants, digital tools and processes are critical. That might mean offering virtual tours or showings via Facetime, or it could mean accepting Paypal or other forms of digital payment.
You might also think about some sort of e-signing technology to virtually finalize those leases. It does, of course, come with a few drawbacks, but for many landlords, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Are you thinking about offering e-signing to those out-of-town prospects? Here’s what you should consider.
The pros and cons of e-signing
The advantages of e-signing are obvious -- particularly in today’s environment. The tenant no longer has to be present (or even in the same state) to finalize the agreement, and they can sign their lease virtually from anywhere in the world, often using just their mobile phone.
E-signing technology can also speed up the leasing process and lead to more legible documents (no more chicken-scratch signatures!).
On the downside, you’ll need to pay for the service. The cost varies depending on how you go about it. You can opt for a full property-management suite that also includes digital leases and e-signing capabilities, or you could sign up for an e-signing platform like HelloSign, DocuSign, or something similar. These usually come with a monthly fee of anywhere from $10 to $100-plus per month.
The other drawback is the perceived security risk. I say perceived because if you choose the right tool, there’s very little risk of any data security issues. Still, that doesn’t mean some tenants won’t worry about it, especially those who are less tech-savvy than others.
- Can speed up the leasing process.
- Easy and convenient for both parties.
- More legible documents.
- Added cost.
- Some tenants may have security concerns.
The bottom line
At least offering the option to e-sign your lease agreements can be a smart move in this day and age. Not only is it convenient, easy, and fast, but it will allow you to better market your property to the growing number of out-of-town migrants we’re seeing.
Just make sure you choose your tool wisely, factoring in the cost, features, and, of course, reviews from other rental investors. You can use our list of property management tools to get started.