Rently is a showing automation company that uses smart lockboxes to grant prospect access to homes. But does the product live up to the hype? Read on to learn about features, plans, pricing, and what we think.
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- Why Consider Rently?
- What Is Rently?
- Best Features
- Plans and Pricing
- Customer Reviews
- Our Take
Why Consider Rently?
One of the biggest inconveniences in the home-buying and renting process is scheduling showings. Finding a time that is convenient for the property manager, owner, and the prospective tenant can be difficult.
If current renters or tenants are in the mix, the situation becomes even more complicated. That’s why electronic lockboxes and self-showing technology have become so popular in recent years.
Electronic lockboxes give agents, property managers, and sellers the ability to show a home or rental home to prospective buyers and renters without the need to be physically present for each showing.
That’s huge because making sure all the right people are available and present for a showing doesn’t always work out on the proper timeline for a buyer.
Statistics show that 50% of showings that are initially “refused” never get rescheduled. Why? Because there’s so much information online about nearby properties for sale and rent.
So it’s so easy for a motivated buyer or tenant to move on to another home if a proposed showing time doesn’t work out for one or more people involved.
Buyers prefer to tour homes without the seller and without the seller’s agent in proximity because their presence makes them uncomfortable. Buyers want to be free to express opinions with their agent that they would not otherwise bring up in the presence of the owner or listing agent.
-Elizabeth Weintrub, The Balance
On top of that, some buyers and renters say they feel stifled when viewing a home in the company of the seller’s real estate agent because they don’t feel free to express negative opinions about the home.
Rently exists to solve this problem for property managers, owners, and prospective tenants. Read on to learn how.
What Is Rently?
Rently is a company providing self-showing technology for property managers and prospective renters in the form of an electronic lockbox. The lockbox is secured with a unique passcode that can be attained by anyone who calls a specific phone number.
This is listed on the posted sign outside of a rental property using the technology. The renter pays $0.99 with a valid credit card to get the code and enter the home to look around.
This small $0.99 charge serves two purposes:
- It ensures a real person is entering the property and makes a record of who that person is
- The charge enables property managers to track who’s viewed the home. It also holds the prospect accountable for any damage they cause.
Once the unique code has been used, a new code will be given to the next person who comes to look at the home. This ensures no one can pass the code on to others and allow un-tracked access into the home.
Rently was founded in 2011 in Los Angeles by co-founders Clark Li and Merrick Lackner. Merrick acts as the CEO. Merrick originally had the idea for Rently when he moved to Northern California.
He experienced a lot of frustration and was often unable to schedule mutually convenient showing times for rental properties he was interested in.
He and partner Clark Li pooled their resources and backgrounds to start a company that would allow prospective renters to view homes without scheduling appointments.
They founded the company based on a few core principles:
As a real estate product reviewer, we see few companies that actually have core principles. While it may be a little cliche, it’s refreshing to see a company grounded with morals. This certainly makes Rently stand out from the pack.
Rently’s Best Features
Rently offers two different products that have a variety of features for property managers and real estate agents. The original Rently Lockbox and Rently Blue features are listed below.
The Rently Lockbox is the original product offered by Rently. Users will enter a code to open the lockbox, access the key, and gain entry to the property. There is a 2-box minimum.
Lease It Monthly
You will lease this lockbox instead of owning it. This makes it an excellent option for property managers who don’t expect to have homes for rent on the market for long, or if they are only representing a few properties at a time.
Because the device is leased monthly, Rently covers device protection and takes care of any damage that happens to the device while it’s in use.
Secure and Durable
The Rently lockbox is built to be secure, weatherproof, and durable. It was designed to withstand break-in attempts and securely guard access to the property it protects.
These lock boxes can be leased monthly and moved to different properties as you need. Property managers with lots of properties in their care might rent out a unit or home quickly and have several vacant units that need the lockbox.
Because these devices work anywhere, they can be moved to any vacant property as needed. Keep in mind you’re going to lease most of your properties after a month or so, allowing you to use a handful of boxes for many properties.
Rently Blue is an upgraded, Bluetooth enabled lockbox. Instead of providing a physical key for entry, the Bluetooth box operates on an electronic key code that opens the lock automatically upon payment.
Bluetooth allows this device to connect to any compatible smartphone. This makes it an effortless experience for prospective renters who want to view a property on their own time.
Track Every Entry and Exit
There’s no chance of a tenant coming and going without notice using this device. Rently software includes a special GPS tracker that keeps track of the tenant’s entry and exit from the rental property. This ensures no one stays for an all-nighter.
Guide Renters Through the Home
One of the downsides we hear about self-showing technology is that renters and prospective buyers don’t get a guided tour of the property. That’s not the case with Rently Blue, however.
Patented Rently self-showing software guides the renter through the home or unit, making sure they notice special features and view comments along the way. Best of all, no special tools are required to install the unit.
Rently Plans and Pricing
Each Rently device has a different pricing plan. View each one in detail below.
Rently Lockbox — $30.00/month per device
- Lease each lockbox instead of buying
- Device protection by Rently
- Unlimited leads
- Unlimited monthly user logins
- Use on unlimited properties
- Lead capture phone system
- Security protocol
- Unlimited scheduling
- Pay-As-You-Go self showing
- Property manager app
Rently Blue — $30.00/month + $2.00/month
$149.00 one-time fee to purchase the device
- Own the device instead of leasing
- $30/month self-showing fee; $2/month resident fee
- One year warranty on device hardware
- Unlimited leads and logins
- Unlimited properties
- Data and analytics
- Lead capturing phone system
- Security protocol
- Unlimited scheduling
- Pay-As-You-Go self showing
- Property manager app
- Bluetooth enabled
- Resident app
- Set custom codes for friends and family
- Bluetooth unlock via Smart Phone
- View access logs
If you’re considering Rently, you should also know about their competitors. And fortunately for you, I’ve used both. Here’s my take on the competition.
Tenant Turner offers essentially the same thing as Rently — an electronic lockbox and automated platform that syndicates listings to third parties like Zillow, Hotpads, etc.
Pricing is slightly different though. Tenant Turner is priced on a per-unit basis of $1/unit/month with a $50 monthly minimum. Keep in mind that this is just for the syndication service.
If you want a lockbox, it’s $62/month for the each box plus a $2.5 monthly service fee. Tenant turner is also a somewhat new entrant to the market. In my dealings with them, they were nothing but responsive and their platform worked without issue.
ShowMojo also syndicates listings to third parties and facilitates showings on their platform. However, their pricing model is a little less flexible than that of Tenant Turner.
Baseline pricing is $69/month and includes 3 on-market (active) listings per month. But you have to buy the lockbox first. At the time of publishing, Codeboxes cost $61 and there’s an additional fee of $1.5/month for each box.
The firm I used to work at used ShowMojo for a while, but then we switched to Tenant Turner. Unfortunately, the listing syndication service was unreliable and the customer service agents had trouble getting answers from the developers unless we threatened to cancel our service. That was just my experience, though.
Rently Reviews: Positive and Negative
There are a lot of Rently reviews online from property managers, tenants, property owners, and real estate brokers. There is a sharp divide in opinion on whether or not Rently is a reliable service due to the possibility of misuse.
Positive Rently reviews
“We are big fans of Rently…we no longer have to worry about managing or losing keys. It is one of the things that allowed us to close down our brick and mortar office and truly be completely remote.” -Matthew Tringali
“Property manager here. My company manages over 500 units in Southern California. We transitioned to Rently last year and it’s been a huge success. I had the same reservations that most posters have had, but it turns out all my fears have been unfounded.
We have more showings and we are leasing properties quicker. I’m sure we lost many prospects in the past when they couldn’t coordinate a convenient time to visit with our showing agent. Now they can schedule at their convenience.
The biggest issue we’ve had is that prospects have left lights on. My biggest fear going into Rently was similar to posters above: what might people do unsupervised? Sure, people could use a stolen credit card and steal the fridge. Or squat. It’s not perfect, and there are some properties it doesn’t work for, but I’m here to say I’ve had a positive experience so far.” -Eric G., real estate broker
“The feedback I receive from our landlord associations seems to trend toward the larger property management companies being comfortable using the service. The most popular option for the individual owner/manager still appears to be scheduling open house style appointments allowing you to save some time with the individual appointments. It allows you to meet the potential renter(s) and can create a healthy dose of competition.” Lisa Liberatore, real estate agent
Negative Rently Reviews
“I am a property owner who was just robbed this week through the Rently lockbox system. Our washer/dryer and Viking stovetop were their biggest prizes. We weren’t aware of the system that our property management company was using to show the property. We got updates and were sent links, so we thought the house was being watched over. Now we are trying to determine who is liable for our $3000 stove and the other $2,000 worth of stuff, not to mention the extra time we have to go without it being rented. The only good thing about Rently was that we were able to see the last person that came in! I suppose this could happen to any vacant home, but at least when the agent is showing it, they are checking on the house more often.” Lindsay B.
Pros: Rently provides easy access to vacant properties for prospective tenants. It charges a fair monthly fee for its services. We like that the lockboxes can be moved around to other properties as needed without an additional fee.
The added convenience may encourage prospective tenants to rent a property more quickly than if they had to schedule a showing.
Cons: While Rently takes its security measures very seriously, this system leaves a lot up to chance. From people squatting in homes after paying the $0.99 fee to stealing appliances from vacant properties, there are a lot of Rently horror stories online.
In short: Rently would be a great tool to use for property managers with large numbers of available properties at a given time. In bigger cities, this tool could allow a property manager to get more units and homes rented in a shorter period.
The risk it poses isn’t much different from the risk of a physical lock being damaged and broken into. For the amount of time saved per showing, the monthly price per unit is more than fair.
Should You Use Rently?
Let’s face it — the future of real estate is automation, and you shouldn’t be the last to hop on the train. Rently helps you automate your showings so you can have more time to do what you do best: close deals. We think it’s worth a look.