“How did this happen?” “How can we be ready next time?” “What should we have done?”

In the wake of a major crisis like COVID-19, there seems to be more questions than answers. While those of us in real estate are used to an ever-changing environment, this is unlike anything we’ve faced. So, while we can’t predict the future, what CAN we do to help plan, predict, and future-proof ourselves and our teams? The first question to ask is what we know that can help us protect our industry if and when another crisis strikes?

That’s a big question. So, let’s narrow it down to one thing. Something prospective residents want today, and will in the future, is a high-quality, personalized virtual tour. This was a known growing trend prior to COVID-19, but has become a true necessity for leasing teams today. While virtual leasing is necessary due to shelter in place and quarantine, it’s going to continue to be a leading tool that will need to be in teams’ leasing arsenals moving forward. That means that if you are not equipped with or on the virtual real estate tour market, then you better be in order to future proof your leasing processes.

No matter the virtual leasing technology, there is one fool-proof principle that will always win in multifamily leasing. Align the experience you provide with what your prospective residents are looking for. So in order to help you figure out how best to do that for your team and your prospective residents, we’ve compiled 6 key ideas and principles to keep in mind to make sure your real estate virtual tours are future-proof.

1. Real 

First and foremost, today’s prospective resident wants their tour to look and feel as real as possible. You may have options when it comes to real estate virtual tour companies and real estate virtual tour software, but will they provide that “real” factor that your prospective residents are looking for? If you’re looking to future-proof your virtual tour and virtual leasing offerings, then listen to your prospects. Look at the type of content that is driving their behaviors outside of real estate and apply those same principles. At a glance, those principles are realness, transparency, authenticity, personalization, and human-to-human interactions.

2. Unfiltered

Going right along with the real-factor, the trend is to show prospective residents your property unfiltered. Don’t go with an overly polished 360 virtual tour or 3D home tour for your actual tour solutions. Those technologies are great for top of funnel marketing to get someone interested in a space, but those tours still leave the prospect wanting to see more. They want to see their exact unit, have their questions answered, and see what they want to see. Prospective residents have long been transitioning from the long-standing expectation of an onsite visit prior to leasing. And in order to support those consumer desires, your team needs to skip the overly produced, fabricated, photoshopped experiences, and remove all filters to simply show your space as it stands.

3. Anywhere

From work to working out to virtual tours for apartments, residents want to be able to access what they want and need from anywhere. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that technology needs to be accessible to anyone, anywhere in order to keep life moving. And real estate touring needs to keep up. For far too long has physically touring real estate been the only option available for being able to truly see what someone wants to see at a property. No longer is that the case. Overnight virtual leasing become a requirement for multifamily communities in order to keep their leasing activities going. And the key to successful virtual leasing? Providing experiences that are accessible to any prospect on any device anywhere. Your virtual tour capabilities must be able to show them the real, unfiltered property no matter where they are.

4. Anytime 

Not only do prospective residents want and need to be able to connect with leasing teams from anywhere, but one important factor of future-proofing your virtual tour technologies and offerings is offering options that allow prospective residents to engage with your property at any time. Time is always of the essence and is becoming even harder to come by for many busy professionals, students, senior, or whomever your audience is. By being able to quickly provide a personalized recorded video tour, that gives a prospect something personalized that they can watch and engage with at any time of day. Or take it a step further and consider live virtual tours for prospective residents. The power of connecting via live video tour is that you can connect with prospects on the spot when you know that your property is on their mind. No waiting for them to come by the property a week later anymore. Take the tour to them when they’re actively interested in learning more. If you give them a live tour, showing them exactly what they want to see, then send them the recording, they’ll be able to go back and review it again. This shows you value their time and want to provide the best possible experience on their time frame.

5. Any Device

Accessibility is no longer part of the leasing conversation solely in regards to disabled individuals. Accessibility now also refers to prospective residents also being able to access your virtual tour offerings on any device. Mac or PC, iOS or Android, Google Chrome or Safari. These are all relevant conversations to now be having to ensure that your experiences are not excluding any prospective residents by not working on a specific device, browser, or operating system. The best real estate virtual tour software will take care of all of those considerations for you and your team, so make sure to do your homework and ask the right questions now to ensure your team is covered in the future.

6. Personalized 

Last, but absolutely not least. Prospective residents want to see what’s important to them. And that varies. You need to be able to show them the closet space or the kitchen details or the lighting in the bedroom. This is their home – you have to be able to show each individual exactly what matters most to them as an individual with your virtual leasing solutions. That has traditionally been the problem with most real estate virtual tour services. The standard VR real estate tour, 360 degree virtual tour, or 3D virtual tour isn’t able to answer questions or provide the level of personalization that prospective residents are desiring. This is especially true for luxury apartment communities, whose clientele wants to feel important, catered to, and like they are getting a personalized experience.

Think back to the world we lived in 5 years ago and just how much has changed in those 5 years. Then think back to even just 6 months ago and how much has changed in just 6 months! We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips and is constantly changing, evolving, and becoming more tech-driven, efficient, personalized, and more. Physical limitations are a thing of the past and will continue to be more and more passe as we all progress into the future.

Don’t be left behind or let the needs of the future make your leasing process fall behind!

If you’d like to learn more about how virtual leasing and virtual tours have evolved over the last 5 years and, especially, over the last 6 months, please reach out! The Realync video leasing solution has been helping leasing teams create personalized, real, transparent virtual tours for real estate for nearly 7 years and is here to help. With Realync, you’ll be ready for whatever the future of real estate brings.

Until next time…keep it real!