From working remote to grocery delivery and shopping from home, the remote revolution is here. Also shifting to remote is shopping for and touring real estate. While the remote revolution for many industries was already well underway, COVID-19 certainly sped up the movement. That catalyst for change is very true for real estate virtual tours and virtual leasing efforts as well as leasing agents everywhere needed to shift to virtual leasing in order to keep business operating.
Let’s take a closer look at that remote revolution in real estate technology – specifically virtual touring and virtual leasing.
The Overnight Shift
With the rapid onset of shelter-in-place and quarantine orders, nearly every industry pivoted the way their business is done. The multifamily industry and broader real estate market was no exception. As an industry though, apartment communities around the world moved fast in order to meet the needs of quickly changing markets and consumer demands.
In this case, that meant every leasing team had to learn things on the fly. One of those things? How to make a virtual tour for real estate and how to continue connecting with prospective residents to showcase their space. The vast majority of prospective residents could no longer physically visit a property in person to tour the space. That didn’t mean that they didn’t have questions or want to see their exact unit or amenities of interest though. Thus leaving leasing teams needing to find ways to connect with prospects and provide those personalized experiences of the space. Leasing teams still had to build essential relationships and trust with prospects without physically meeting them. Typical real estate virtual tour photography, 360 video real estate tours, and 3D virtual tours for real estate just weren’t cutting it any more. They weren’t real enough and consumers wanted more.
So what did leasing teams switch to in order to showcase their space in a real, transparent way…but virtually? Live video tours or pre-recorded, personalized video tours.
Leasing agents had to shift to real-time virtual tour software or virtual leasing technology that offered this type of function. And while that pivot came fast, it actually brought about a revolution that most prospective residents welcomed and realized they had always been looking for anyways.
How the Remote Shift Met, and Continues to Meet, the Need
Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, prospective residents already wanted the real, authentic experience of a live virtual tour. Over time, leasing agents were starting to adopt and provide live video tours or create DIY, personalized pre-recorded tours on their own. It was a steady shift in the multifamily industry and one that more and more people were starting to talk about.
The power of personalizing each experience to each individual prospect was gaining traction. It allowed leasing teams to do what they do best — establish a connection, sell the space, and get deals done. Consumers were increasingly busy or increasingly moving longer distances, thus adding pressure on leasing teams to connect with these prospects virtually. Whether it’s due to pandemic restrictions, a prospect’s busy schedule, moving from out-of-state, or simply personal preference, live virtual tours work. And they’re working whenever the prospect needs them to. By showing prospects exactly what they are going to get when they move in, it’s instilling the trust necessary for sight-unseen leasing to skyrocket. It’s streamlining the leasing process and making it not only easier for everyone involved, but actually more impactful as well. The right real estate virtual tour services put the leasing agent at the center of the process – keeping the process virtual but with human interaction.
COVID-19 restrictions accelerated that need and adoption of virtual leasing technology dramatically. While the shift was already happening, the pandemic shifted it into overdrive. And for prospective residents? That meant leasing agents providing the live virtual experience they wanted faster as well. And while shelter in place restrictions have relaxed, today’s prospects aren’t going back to the old ways. They’re still looking for those personalized virtual tours and, according to data from Zumper, are looking for even more virtual tours as part of the process.
Zumper also found that one of the biggest challenges for prospects shopping for an apartment is not being able to see the exact unit that they may be leasing. That’s the limitation of 3D or 360 tours that only showcase select floor plans. Or real estate photography that doesn’t go unit-specific. If virtual leasing in 2020 has proven one thing, it’s that consumers know what they’re looking for and leasing teams simply need to listen and respond in order to efficiently get deals done. And part of that response has been showing prospects exactly what they want and need to see as part of the leasing process.
The multifamily communities that have implemented the right real estate virtual tour platform were and are able to safely show a prospective resident the exact unit they could move into. And more. The tour is virtual, the leasing process is virtual, but the relationship building is all human.
For the multifamily virtual leasing remote revolution, we see more and more leasing agents looking to live video tours or personalized pre-recorded tours to get the job done. Leasing has gone virtual. Having the right real estate virtual tour hosting allows the leasing team to stay at the center of the deal, but allows the prospect to direct what they want and how they want it. Everyone wins.
COVID-19 brought on a new phase of the remote revolution but it’s one leasing agents, with the right resources, are readily prepared to meet!
If you’re looking to get started with virtual leasing and have questions about how to most effectively, affordably, and feasibly do so, please reach out! Realync is here to help!
Until next time…keep it real!