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Multifamily Teams Offer Virtual Apartment Tour Tips

The multifamily industry is completely reinventing how it does business in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. About 20 multifamily marketing managers, directors and VPs; operation VPs; property managers; and leasing consultants recently gathered in a virtual happy hour to talk about how they are relying more and more on virtual apartment tours. 

Many are seeing success, some have faced challenges, but everyone was happy to share their stories. Here are a few takeaways.

Use Video Tours to Show Off Your Personality

Even though most in-person tours have stopped, video tours build trust from prospects and it gives them more insight on apartment communities without ever having to leave their living rooms. Communities have the ability to use their websites to offer multiple tour options, allowing people to schedule a video chat or tour at the click of a button. Prospects can see their future home through video and ask leasing consultants questions in real time or afterward through text, call or email.

Virtual apartment tours are a way to let your personality shine through, however, starting a video tour can be intimidating. Realync Founder and CEO Matt Weirich says people are learning quickly that while you can be your own worst critic, you must get over the fear of being on video. His advice: be yourself and you’ll make a connection. 

For live tours, he recommends showing yourself first to put a face to a name, but then flipping the camera to show off the property and narrate the elements of a floor plan, room features or community offerings. 

Over the past few weeks, Weirich says he’s hearing a lot of awesome stories from properties about how they were nervous or scared to be on video initially. Now that they’re seeing success and signing leases, however, he says they’re celebrating and excited to do more virtual tours.

 

Tips for Virtual Apartment Tours

Everyone at the virtual happy hour weighed in on their advice for virtual tours. Here were some of the best tips that any property can leverage: 

  • Visualize the path you want to share with the rental prospect.

  • Be intentional with what you show on video (show amenities they’re interested in).

  • Walk slowly — slower than you normally would. Don’t give people vertigo!

  • Be consistent in videos about whether you show your Fair Housing and ADA compliant logos or not. Don’t only do it sometimes and not others. 

  • Clean the path and pick up any trash before you do the video tour.

  • Close the toilet lid! (This was echoed loud and clear by everyone in attendance.)

  • Open the blinds to let natural light in.

  • Make sure the light is behind you when you do the video so people can see you.

  • End on an outdoor shot.

Overall, practice makes perfect. Require everyone on your team to do some test videos to help them become more comfortable and natural on video. 

Make sure your team uses an app to test the speed of the Wi-Fi beforehand in different areas of the community they plan to show in the video to avoid lag times. Best speeds for good quality video should be around 5 to 8 Mbps. If you start your tour at the leasing office and are on Wi-Fi, Weirich recommends staying on Wi-Fi. If you’re using LTE Mobile Data, stay on LTE during the tour to also avoid lag times.

 

Other Virtual Tour Recommendations to Consider 

Some communities have decided to only do pre-recorded videos, rather than live videos, using only community smart phones or iPads. It’s up to each property whether they choose to do live property videos, but as one attendee mentioned, you have to protect your employees, first and foremost, and not allow them to use personal devices to do virtual tours.

Consider apartment rental prospects when you set up a virtual tour as well. Some might not be as knowledgeable about using technology. Discuss with them what they typically use. Are they comfortable with FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or some other platform? Walk them through the steps they need to take so they can connect with you and meet them where they are. 

As the multifamily industry adapts to new changes, everyone agreed that virtual apartment tours will be a new reality even when people can do in-person tours again. We’re a society that likes to do our own research online and who likes convenience. Tours are resulting in leases for properties leveraging the technology, and those property managers recommend taking the next steps to do video tours if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

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Most of the communities we work with are offering and marketing virtual tours now. It's amazing how quickly the industry adapted to the new reality of virtual touring. Within a week or two after the stay at home orders, we had hundreds of...

Most of the communities we work with are offering and marketing virtual tours now. It's amazing how quickly the industry adapted to the new reality of virtual touring. Within a week or two after the stay at home orders, we had hundreds of communities change their tour scheduling tool call to actions, ads, and email campaigns to say "Schedule a Virtual Tour" and "Schedule a Virtual Appointment". What has been most interesting to see is how many apartment seekers have been receptive to going on virtual tours and appointments. We've actually seen increases in online tours and appointments scheduled during COVID from the prior period. I am curious to see how this will shape the behavior of apartment seekers in the next year or two. Maybe the new norm will be to schedule a few virtual tour appointments, narrow down your apartment options, and then visit the ones you like best in-person even after stay at home orders are lifted.

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  Rebecca Reichert
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Yes, Rebecca, I do think how rental prospects shop for apartments now will be a new norm in the future. Personally, I always look for ways to save time and virtual tours is the perfect time-saving example!

  Kristy Esch

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