How Self-Guided Tours Are Shaping the Real Estate Industry With Andre Sanchez of Rently

Andre Sanchez is the COO of Rently, an innovative self-guided touring and smart home technology company. Andre graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in biochemistry. He worked as a cancer diagnostic researcher in the biotech industry before his passion for technology took over. He began as an Account Executive with Rently before he moving through the ranks to his current position. 

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How Self-Guided Tours Are Shaping the Real Estate Industry With Andre Sanchez of Rently


In this episode…

With the spike in rental tours, how can you provide clients with a safe and effective alternative experience? 

Andre Sanchez of Rently knows the value of time and safety. Rently’s software platform allows real estate operators to set up rental properties for self-guided touring. Your client is provided with a vetted and secure code to tour a property without worrying about the pesky issue of scheduling conflicts with an agent. The technology is also capable of providing leasing agents with data they can use to see who toured and what property they went to, so they can follow up and close the lease. The technology can be used with apartment, commercial, or single-home living spaces. If you’re interested in smart home tech and the convenience of self-guided touring, listen to this episode!

In this episode of the Key Insights Show, Scott Johnson sits down with Andre Sanchez, COO of Rently, to talk about elevating the experience of current and future renters with self-guided touring technology and how it benefits leasing agents by allowing them to manage more properties. Andre discusses why self-guided tours are a safe and effective tool, the importance of testimonials, and why a team built on innovation is the foundation for success. 

 Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Andre Sanchez talks about how he transitioned from chemistry to rental technology
  • An in-depth look at the rental touring process and the focus on safety
  • The benefits to the potential renter and the leasing agent
  • Andre discusses the value of word-of-mouth for advertising 
  • Why a successful business needs a top-notch support team

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02

Welcome to the Key Insights Show, where we feature CEOs and how they’re thriving in today’s market. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Scott Johnson  0:13

Scott Johnson here, I’m the Host of the show where I talk with industry leaders about how they’ve grown their business to where they are thriving in today’s market. This episode is brought to you by Well, me, I’m the owner of Key Marketing Group and we get companies to the top of the search results. Most SEO agencies say to give them 12 months for results and lock you into an annual contract. With us you’ll see a rankings boost in 90 days with no long term contracts. Check us out at keymarketinggroup com. That’s Today’s guest is Andre Sanchez, and he’s now the COO of Rently they’ve been growing like crazy disrupting the industry. You probably heard of them. They do smart home and leasing technology for rentals. Andre, welcome to the show.

Andre Sanchez  0:57

Oh, thank you so much. Appreciate you having us and appreciate being a part of your wonderful popular podcast.

Scott Johnson  1:04

Thanks for being here. Yeah. And Paul Spinella spoke really highly about you and randomly, so I’m just really excited to hear you know, what you guys are up to so

Andre Sanchez  1:13

Paul’s a great guy love Quickset. We love them as partners. Yeah. Great, great team there. And, Paul, one of the most positive people you will meet. It’s, it’s, it’s crazy. So yeah, happy that he was able to refer us and happy to have be on the show.

Scott Johnson  1:28

Awesome. So what kind of led you here to Rently? I mean, I almost no one, you know, went to school for real estate tech. I mean, what was kind of your pathway here?

Andre Sanchez  1:40

No, I don’t remember that major. If they offered it, I didn’t, I didn’t apply to it. So yeah, I started, I started in a completely different industry, I got my undergraduate degree thinking I wanted to save the world, I studied to be a chemist, and I wanted to be a scientist. And, you know, scientists are, you know, you know, underappreciated nowadays, for sure. But I went off to work in a lab, do cancer research. And, you know, after a couple of years, it just became very routine. I didn’t, I didn’t feel it was as dynamic as I wanted it to be. And so I was sort of started looking at other career options. And I always loved technology, I always had a real big passion for technology ever since I was a kid. And, you know, I was one of the privileged people to see the .com, you know, boom, and, and the bust and, and I always thought about tech, and then just so happened, you know, 15 years later, I was looking to rent an apartment, I saw how painful the process was. I said, Gosh, you know, if only this were this were better. I was in Pasadena. I was trying to book 20 showings, and I could only see like two or three, you know, and, and, and just by happenstance, that same week, I happen to apply at Rently, and I didn’t really fully understand what the product was. And then as I went through that experience, it just sort of hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like, Oh, my gosh, this company, this was seven years ago, this company is changing this entire, fragmented, painful process. So it’s one of those things where it just worked out. And I, you know, when I started, it was eight people. And now it’s, you know, 370 people. And it’s been an amazing journey. And, and it just keeps going. So now, it’s definitely one of those things where you don’t put it together going forwards. But you look back, and it just kind of worked out. So you know, very honored and lucky, for sure. To be in that position. So yeah, interesting ride.

Scott Johnson  3:45

Yeah, we just moved to San Diego about six months ago. And I could agree with you that renting is not an easy process. Yeah, we actually end up doing the whole thing remotely. So does Rently helped with this sort of, you know, I live at a state but I want to rent over there type of technology, or is it more you kind of need to be in the area?

Andre Sanchez  4:04

Yeah, no, that’s good question. So we definitely our technology really facilitates that showing and touring process. And really the pain point we saw for as if you know, someone’s not available at that time. So while we don’t do strictly remote tours, what we do provide is a technology which allows you to instantly view tour and lease even a home without an agent. So we, we feel that a big part of the experience is actually going to the property. So that’s what our technology facilitates. But that being said, we integrate with a lot of things that allow for virtual showings, you know, in person showing scheduling tours and all that, but But yeah, you’re in a hot market, too. I think San Diego is, you know, one of the fastest growing rental markets too. So it’s no shock that it was pretty hard to find a place and it was stiff competition, I’m sure.

Scott Johnson  4:51

Yeah, we’re trying to buy a house so don’t get me started on that process. Yeah, going 200k over asking, you know, waiving contingencies inspection is just, it’s impossible.

Andre Sanchez  5:02

Amen. That’s the California Tax. That’s what you get. But remember, every January when the rest of the country is under frost, and you see the Pacific Ocean, that’s what that’s why you pay the premium.

Scott Johnson  5:12

Exactly. So help me understand a little bit better. So someone wants to rent a property? Where does Rently come in?

Andre Sanchez  5:19

Yeah, great question. So whether that prospect starts on our website or on the property managers website, what they can do is they can essentially click a button Register to perform a self tour, what we do is we take a lot of security precautions, we actually vet the renter, we get you know, driver’s license, we get a credit card, we actually get a live selfie, we match it with everything to make sure that tour is secure. Because remember, someone’s leasing that property. So that means an owner is owning that property. And during the vacancy period, we want to make sure everything’s secure. So the prospect registers, once they register, they get a one time code to enter the property. And that one time code is only good for the hour that they scheduled that tour for. Once they leave the property, they do their tour, they check out, we deliver all that data to the to the leasing agents so that they can actually see who toured along they toured, what property they toured. And that way they can follow up close the lease. Or if they have a rental application product with us, they can just seal up the lease right then and there. So that’s sort of the experience. So the whole idea is to improve the experience by removing any friction with our leasing tech. That’s basically what we do.

Scott Johnson  6:28

Yeah. And then you get data on the properties. They’re looking at maybe how long they’re staying in each one.

Andre Sanchez  6:33

Correct? Yeah, exactly. So then we can actually deliver that data to the real estate operator and say, hey, you know, you’re averaging X number of showings, this showings or this much time, and even give them you know, granular data as to you know, who that prospect is? And then even give them an option tour other properties in the portfolio? So pretty sophisticated tech.

Scott Johnson  6:53

Yeah. Does something exists, where it kind of eavesdrops on the complaints people have or what they like, is there too in the property? Or is that a little too big brother,

Andre Sanchez  7:02

that’s a little too big brother. Okay. Now, what we do provide the prospective renter is, we, we give them a feedback form. So after they conduct their tour, they basically will submit feedback as to their experience, right? So and that helps gives the property manager the real estate operator insights. So, you know, if the tour is ranked higher, you know, the great job, but if it’s ranked lower than they know, something’s up, maybe something of the property isn’t working, or, you know, maybe you know, the carpets dirty, so that that experience helps facilitate that feedback loop for the prospect and the real estate operator.

Scott Johnson  7:41

Gotcha. Yeah, you know, we were touring a home recently, and they had kind of a setup like that. And I just love being able to tour the home with my family kind of in private, you know, like, some people love having the agent there and explain everything me, I’m the opposite. Like, I don’t mind if they’re there, but sometimes they kind of follow you room to room and it’s like, and this is the closet, you’re like, Yeah, I know, let us let us just do our thing. Yeah, I kind of like the self serving element of it.

Andre Sanchez  8:07

Oh, yeah. I mean, I think, you know, you look at the, you know, Harvard Business Review shows that 84% of people just want to self serve. I mean, that’s the reality.

Scott Johnson  8:14

So you’re, your customer is the owner of the property, and they pay you but you’re serving sort of the end user, and I’m wondering if your customer, if I have this right, is able to save money, because now rather than having one agent at a property at a time, you know, they could have 20 open house at a time when maybe before they can only have four,

Andre Sanchez  8:33

that’s exactly it. So not only is it a better experience for the prospect, but it actually helps manage more properties for the operator, right, or for the property manager. And they can essentially reduce their cost. Because if you think about it, and again, the way this idea was birthed, is you have to take going your way back machine to 2010. In 2010, there was a financial crisis, there was a housing collapse, and essentially what was happening is, a lot of people were purchasing homes, you know, after the collapse, because, you know, it was pretty undervalued assets that go into the market, and they want to buy them as rental properties. So they want to basically solve the pain point of gosh, you know, how do I lease these properties quicker, you know, without having to send agents everywhere, because it’s inefficient, right, they have to drive out they have to meet the prospect if to guide them on the tour. But with this technology, you can just basically cut your operating costs by a significant amount by just having, you know, that self turning technology on there, whether it’s via a lockbox or via smart lock or via smart home. We help facilitate that. So that’s kind of the idea. So you’re right, it’s, it’s it’s the journey, but also the reduction of costs for the operator.

Scott Johnson  9:45

Yeah, and I’m sure COVID was really a tailwind. You know, for all this stuff. You know, you don’t want to be around people during all that. Has business held up or kind of where do you see this going over the next you know, five years as COVID Ideally starts to Have you no way now?

Andre Sanchez  10:01

Oh, yeah, no great question. It’s definitely accelerating the self guided touring adoption, because I think what’s happening was, if you were an operator that already recognized the benefit, or if you’re a renter that already understood the value of self touring, post COVID, they just spread that product to even more and more people to get them accustomed to that idea. Because, again, it’s the technology, people sort of resist it, right, like anything. But what you find is that dramatic shifts in behavior inspire change. So what we really saw COVID, as was a behavioral change in how people wanted to tour. And so do I see that going backwards? No, and actually, the data doesn’t show that either. Because I think that just this month, even you know, as you know, the different variants have climbed and decline, like it’s still climbing, self guided tours. So I definitely don’t see it as going away. As a matter of fact, I only see it being more and more adopted in industry. nationwide.

Scott Johnson  11:07

Yeah. Well, and I hope you guys have some good patents on your tech there, you know, keep out you know, all those guys that are? No,

Andre Sanchez  11:13

yeah, so So that’s how we again, we we, I don’t say this lightly that the company did invent the tech, like Rently invented self during tech, we have about eight or nine patents on the process. And again, we started in 2011. There are some people that are, you know, trying to do similar things. But again, we, we invented it, and we always try to stay on the cutting edge of what self touring is and what leasing automation is right, just beyond that self touring. Yeah. But yeah, it’s it. It’s just cool to see it go from like, you know, this wild idea, you know, which it was, you look at it 10 years ago, you know, smartphones are pretty new. And now it’s like, industry standard.

Scott Johnson  11:53

I’m curious to hear how you guys grew Rently early on, or how rarely grew before you were there. And I asked because my specialty is inbound sales. But with new tech in when people don’t know it exists, inbound sales is near impossible. So where are you? You know, cold calling? Or what? What kind of channels were you using to grow?

Andre Sanchez  12:11

Yeah, good question. So definitely cold calling. I know, because that’s how I started. Again, when you’re an eight person company, that’s how everyone was, you know, spreading the word or spreading the gospel. And then I think, again, kind of one of the things that helps propel any product is having a good product, and even having a great product, right? Because the biggest channel you can have when you don’t have the resources to do inbound is is word of mouth. And that’s really important in b2b, because word of mouth can really help your company grow. So I would say cold calling helped. But if you’re cold calling and having not such a great product, or not something innovative, that’s not going to help you. So having a really great product and a really great experience compared to what the traditional process was was was very key.

Scott Johnson  13:04

Yeah. And that’s interesting. Yeah. So it’s funny because typically what I see with b2b, especially b2b SaaS, they start off with outbound, particularly for new technology. And then for good products, word of mouth, and then they tend to kind of their growth plateaus a little bit. It doesn’t flat, but they kind of hit a little bit of a wall. And you guys just kind of exploded, I guess there was just such a demand for it. And

Andre Sanchez  13:28

Yeah no, it’s, it’s someone used the analogy flying the plane while building it with me, I think. Yeah, that’s pretty close. Yet, it’s kind of the symptom of when you’re building new things. Like you have to you have to really create from the ground up. And so yeah, we’ve just been skyrocketed. skyrocketing. there’s no way to, there’s no way to explain it. It’s It’s been fun though, it the challenges have evolved over time, which is always good. You don’t want to keep facing the same things. Right. So yeah, it’s been it’s been great. It’s been phenomenal. And, and, you know, feels weird being on this podcast alone, because there’s 370 other people that really are driving the product. So it’s, it’s a team effort.

Scott Johnson  14:16

Absolutely. Yeah, that would make for a terrible podcast, though. You know, 300

Andre Sanchez  14:20

Yeah it might, you know, the Brady Bunch thing could only go so far. It’d be like pickles. But yeah, it’s just a great, you know, great team all around great sales team, great support team, great client success team, great product teams, great engineers. So it’s it takes a team to do it.

Scott Johnson  14:33

Absolutely. Yeah. And strong, you know, mentors and things like that. I mean, who Yeah, is there anyone that comes to mind, you know, outside of Rently, that kind of helps get you to where you are today and showed you the ropes a little bit?

Andre Sanchez  14:43

Yeah, I would say I would say I’ll pick one external and then one internal to the industry, one external to the industry that I think is one of those people that’s always kind of inspired me in the background was I hate to sound cheesy, but Steve Jobs like I’ve been an Apple fan. Since 94, when they had like no market share, and I always thought Steve Jobs is just a fascinating guy. And I’ve read all his books, I’ve seen all his interviews, and I’ve always looked at him as someone who’s really helped shape tech in general. And you know, that’s someone I kind of always look to as a goalpost in the background. And in our industry, like in real estate and prop Tech, I really look at you know, there’s a company called Pegasus residential, they’re in the multifamily space. And they’re a woman owned company that’s been growing fantastically in the past 10 years since they’ve been founded on a similar to Renly. And there’s a woman there named Wendy Dorchester, I don’t know if she knows that. I think she’s my mentor. But I definitely consider her one because I observe her in the industry. And she’s just very honest, straightforward, but also really has that balance of straightforwardness and warmth that it’s very hard to come across. And she’s really big on company culture, she’s really pushing the boundaries of, you know, especially during the pandemic of how you can build and grow a company yet still maintain culture. So that’s someone I would I would definitely consider a mentor in the industry. So there’s more that I can mention, but she’s definitely a key one.

Scott Johnson  16:14

Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. She sounds great. I’d love to have her on the podcast. I’ll let her know. Yeah. Thanks for being here and talking about Rently and all that stuff. So we’ve been talking with Andre Sanchez of Rently. Where can people go to learn more about you in Rently?

Andre Sanchez  16:31, and you can actually see all the properties that use our tech if you’re in San Diego and you’re looking for a rental again, Scott, you could use us. But yeah, if you ever want to find me on LinkedIn, it’s Andre Jordan Sanchez and happy to connect and talk shop. Alright, thank

Scott Johnson  16:46

you so much.

Andre Sanchez  16:47

Thank you, Scott. Appreciate you and appreciate being on the podcast.

Outro  16:55

Thanks for listening to the Key Insights Show. We’ll see you again next time. And be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.