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Alternate Tour Options for Rentals – Is Virtual the New Normal?

Alternate Tour Options for Rentals - Is Virtual the New Normal?


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the property management industry has adapted along with it. Aided by modern technology, virtual tours allow agents and landlords to connect with potential tenants while protecting everyone’s health. However, virtual touring benefits extend past just health and safety. Read on as we discuss alternate tour options for rentals and why you should consider adding them to your marketing plan.

What Are Virtual Showings?

Virtual showing means a client is viewing the property on their computer, tablet, or mobile device instead of in person. That said, there several types of virtual showings to consider. Technology can help you add text, multimedia accents, voiceover, and even floorplans. Read on to learn more and decide which option is right for your property.

  • Photo Gallery Tour
  • Video Walkthrough Tour
  • Interactive Floor Plan Tour
  • Panoramic Tours

Photo Gallery Tour

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is the most common way to reach potential clients. Landlords can easily and quickly upload the gallery for clients to go through as they please. It requires less effort than the other options but does have the drawback of only providing a one-dimensional view.

Video Walkthrough Tour

Offering a great way to get a feel for the property, video tours are your next best option. The technique is simple; use a video camera or smartphone to film as you move from place to place through the property. Add narration to enhance the experience and draw attention to various amenities. However, a potential downside is the viewer cannot control where they go or what they see next.

Interactive Floor Plan Tours

Interactive floor plan tours blend the use of still photography with a floorplan of the property. Users virtually navigate through the floorplan and see photos of the various areas in the property. While this option still does not give a 360 view of the rooms, it does allow for a fast upload time, added viewer control, and an overall feel of the property layout.

Panoramic Tours

Panoramic tours are made up of a series of photos or panning video shot to provide an unbroken view. This is most often achieved with the use of a still camera that pans the room from a single point. A technique like this is a great way to showcase the entire room and give tenants a full view of the property. Panoramic tours are a modern and professional way to showcase your property without in-person contact. The downside is these types of tours do not always translate to mobile devices, are slow to upload, and more time consuming to create.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Virtual Tours

The great thing about virtual tours is they are always available at the fingertips of potential applicants 24/7. That said, added time and technology needed to set them up may not be for everyone. Learn about some benefits and the disadvantages below before implementing virtual touring for your property.

Benefits of Virtual Tours

  • Decrease Unnecessary Showings: Tours are conveniently available anytime online! These give leads tons of helpful information and, in conjunction with pre-qualification, can save you valuable in-person time.
  • Optimize Listings: Virtual tours add appeal to your listings and help to generate leads.
  • Reach More Leads: Thanks to added accessibility, more potential renters can view your listing without the restriction of having to schedule in person.
  • Take advantage of apps: As virtual tours become more mainstream, easier options are becoming available. Zillow offers a free app for 3D home tours, making putting together a virtual option even easier.

Disadvantages of Virtual Touring

  • Higher Cost: The software and equipment needed to create higher-end tours can be expensive. Especially when you get into still camera 360 tours, the cameras required could cost from a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars. Some listing sites specializing in these types of tours also charge fees.
  • Quality Photos Still Matter: Professional well-taken photos still garner a lot of attention and provide tenants a sense of your property. The more high-quality images you have, the more appealing it is to potential renters serious in their search.
  • It is a Gamble: Not every listing sight supports or highlights this new version of touring. It would be best if you made sure the sites you use for marketing support this platform to get the most from your efforts.

Tips for Creating Virtual Apartment or Home Tours

Creating a great tour, whether photographic or via video, is the best marketing tool you can have as a landlord. With potential renters maximizing their virtual search efforts more than ever, this is your chance to make an impression. Below we highlight some key ways you can present your home in the best possible light.

  1. Let there be light: Bright spaces photograph better and are more desirable. So, throw open the blinds and turn on any lights that you can.
  2. Get the right perspective: Shoot from the angle of how your client would view the home. Take a mix of vertical and horizontal photos and remember that vertical photos translate better to mobile devices. Be mindful to avoid people in the images and odd camera angles.
  3. Take your time: If filming a tour, move through spaces by showing the rooms in order more slowly than you would in an in-person visit. Take time to pan the room before moving on.
  4. Do not skip spaces: Areas such as the basement and the garage may not be the most attractive, but these spaces offer great storage space for potential renters. So, do not just skip over them.
  5. Outdoor living: Great outdoor patio? Fenced yard? These are fantastic selling features. Keep the yard maintained and try to choose a sunny day to either photograph or video the outdoor spaces.


Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic may have increased the popularity of virtual tours, but they are here to stay. There are alternate tour options for rentals when traditional in-person visits are not available or not favorable. Maximizing the technology available will help set your listing apart from the rest. Are you looking for help getting the most from your rental property marketing strategy or need a new plan entirely to get your unit noticed? Reach out to a tried and true Washington D.C. property management company today!