Showing your properties is one of your most crucial responsibilities. It’s up to you to portray your rentals in a positive light and demonstrate all the compelling reasons renters should choose your rentals.
Traditional showings are in-person, but they won’t always work for every renter. For instance, potential renters might live far away and want to visit remotely. They might have health concerns or simply prefer to view your units from home.
In these cases, virtual tours are an excellent substitute. Not only can they closely approximate the experience of an in-person showing, but they also offer benefits exclusive to virtual platforms.
Here is an overview of three types of virtual tours and how to implement them in your rental property business.
1. Live Virtual Tours
Live video tours are the simplest kind of virtual tour.
They don’t require any prior experience, costly equipment, or extensive editing. All you need is an account on a video conferencing platform, like Zoom or WebEx.
Imagine you receive a tour request from a potential renter. They’re serious about renting the property but can’t make it in person. Maybe they live across the country or have health concerns about traveling. In this case, you can decide on a time for a virtual tour, set up a meeting on your video conferencing platform, and send your prospective renter a link to attend.
At the meeting time, you show up at your property like any other showing. Log onto the meeting from your device and show your tenant around virtually.
Live virtual tours are a great way to demonstrate flexibility as a landlord. Prospective tenants will no doubt appreciate your accommodative attitude and open-mindedness.
2. Pre-recorded Video Tours
Pre-recorded video tours are just like live ones, except they can be viewed repeatedly and posted online. All you need for this option is a phone or video camera and minimal editing proficiency.
For this type of virtual tour, you record a video while walking through a rental unit. You may choose to narrate the tour as you walk, but you don’t have to. For a cleaner finish and less interference, consider recording audio separately and overlaying it over the original video.
The true value of pre-recorded tours is that they can live on your website and social media pages. If you take your time to record a high-quality video, prospective renters can enjoy them for years to come. Plus, videos are easily adapted to mobile.
3. 360-degree/Panoramic Tours
360-degree or panoramic tours are the most involved type of virtual tour. These tours use special equipment or software to stitch together multiple panoramic images. The result is a 360-degree interactive simulation. Prospective renters can “walk” through the unit virtually by clicking around.
There are several different ways to make a 360-degree tour. Some ways require less money and expertise than others. The simplest method is to use your smartphone’s panoramic photo mode. You won’t have to buy any new equipment, but the result won’t be interactive (viewers can’t “walk” through the unit).
If you have a little more editing experience, you can take a series of high-quality photos and stitch them together manually with the help of an app or software (Sphere and Splash are popular ones). You can still use your phone camera, but give yourself some time to learn the software.
If you’re looking for a professional-quality virtual tour, you need a 360-degree camera with a tripod. The camera connects to your phone with Bluetooth or WiFi. You control the camera remotely from another room (via an app), so you aren’t in the shot, and move the camera around to capture all angles. Then, you transfer the footage to your computer, where you’ll use the software to view and edit the simulation.
360-degree virtual tours are an eye-catching feature on your website that you can archive for as long as you rent the unit. The only downside is that they are rarely ideal for smartphone viewing.
Virtual Tours as Marketing Assets
Virtual tours are a useful and trendy marketing asset. Even renters who attend tours in-person might want to revisit certain rooms or plan furniture placement, which makes virtual tours the perfect resource. It’s up to you how much time and money you want to invest in the project, but you can’t go wrong with any of the three types.