To help leases and rentals continue taking place online, New York-based management and listings platform Nestio is waiving fees for its digital leasing software for 90 days amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Last summer, Nestio launched Funnel, a property management platform that pulled information like W2 forms and paystubs from renters in a single digital space. In a partnership with cloud communications platform Twilio, both companies are offering an expanded product that also allows property managers to conduct virtual tours and communicate with their clients.
The decision, Nestio CEO Caren Maio told Inman, came after the pandemic moved much of the rental process online out of necessity. As the state with the highest number of COVID-19 infections, New York initially ordered real estate a non-essential service. While that later changed, home showings still need to be conducted virtually while a stay-at-home order mandates against any unnecessary trips or travel.
“We’ve noticed that a lot of customers were struggling and working to make the adjustment from offsite leasing to remote leasing,” Maio said, adding that while some large property management companies already used centralized software, many got by without it until the pandemic hit. “For some, it’s a really big transition.”
Powered by Twilio’s communications APIs and Funnel’s centralized platform, the contact center allows property managers and landlords to show properties, go through tenant applications, communicate with applicants and potentially arrange contactless key pick-ups in one centralized system.
For the next 90 days, both companies are waiving their fees, which for Funnel normally start at a couple of dollars per unit and vary depending on the size and type of property. While some telephone carrier fees could be charged, the system itself will be free. The idea, Maio said, is to give property managers a chance to try it when it’s most necessary and then have them choose whether to continue using it.
“If we can play a small part in helping business continue and have people leasing safely, we want to do that,” she said.
Real estate’s transition to online has, Maio said, already been happening long before the outbreak as large-scale property managers looked for ways to automate the application process. The pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions have just put a new urgency to it.
“I don’t really view the landscape changing considerably post-pandemic,” Maio said. “I think it’s going to accelerate a lot of these conversations. Efficiency and being able to automate is going to be of critical importance in this new world we’re living in.”