When looking for a new apartment, getting to various multifamily communities for tours can seem and be overwhelming for many prospective residents. And, in some cases, it’s geographically impossible for them too. The good news is that we are living in a digital world and have all manner of options to make these obstacles a thing of the past. Many onsite teams now rely on virtual tour software to solve this issue, but that is leaving out a big, critical factor in the leasing and touring process.
One thing that competitive multifamily communities know for sure, is that they need some sort of digital, online touring option. But before you grab the fanciest or best virtual tour software that 2019 has to offer, you may want to press pause and think twice about it. Perhaps it’s time to consider that a virtual tour, at least when made with 3D, 360, or fabricated virtual tour software, isn’t what you really need. Today’s prospective residents want to see the real thing – not a morphed, photoshopped, or fabricated version of the truth. And that’s the biggest problem with the way virtual tour software shows real estate today – it lacks authenticity.
Today’s multifamily prospect wants to see the real thing, as it truly stands in that point in time. They want an authentic experience. And when surveying today’s consumer, most would not rent a multifamily unit simply by viewing a 3D or 360 virtual tour. Why? They feel like they’re not actually viewing the real thing. Because of that, it pushes the multifamily touring process back to the tried and true requirement of the prospect visiting the property in person. Which also is not always feasible or desired anymore by today’s prospective resident.
So what is winning when it comes to online touring experiences?
Personalization is the foundation of transparency and authenticity. A personalized experienced will win every time when compared to a virtual tour that was created 9 months ago of the model unit that doesn’t quite fully cover exactly what a prospect’s exact unit will be. This sort of content includes 3D virtual tours, 360 virtual tours, and the expensive, highly produced videos.
Why is personalization so important? Because no two prospective residents are looking for or wanting the exact same thing. Everyone has their own personal checklist of what is most important to them. For some prospects, the amenities of the community are much more important than the layout of the actual unit or the area around it. Or some may care most about a bright and airy living space and can overlook the smaller bedroom or closet.
So how do you provide personalized experiences for prospects without adding hours upon hours of work to your plate? With a DIY video tour or live video tour! By going live, leasing agents can zero in on exactly what prospects are wanting to see and can make the tour custom for each individual’s needs. It allows them to answer questions, show what they care about most, and more. The only thing more personalized than that is the prospect physically being there in person.
Like we talked about earlier, today’s prospects want to see everything that they want to see, but, many times, that may no longer include a physical visit to the community. Expecting an in-person visit is an outdated expectation and one today’s leasing teams need to let go of. However, simply relying on the 3D tour of your model or the community overview video created 2 years ago, won’t cut it in terms of showing your prospects the real thing.
This one — getting real — should be the core focus of any successful leasing agent. There should be nothing hidden from prospects. When it comes to leasing someone an apartment, they’re eventually going to move in and see it as it stands anyways. And they’re going to walk around the community and see what the pool really looks like and hear the ambiance of the neighborhood. So why hide any of that during the leasing process. Getting all of that information out and in the open early in the process will minimize objections and make for a transparent process.
So how do you show the real thing in a way that instills trust and transparency into the process online and for prospects that are interested from afar? Again, a live video tour or DIY pre-recorded video. The reason we keep putting DIY (“do-it-yourself”) in front of pre-recorded videos is because hiring a videography team that comes in with lights, actors, and spends weeks in editing won’t embody the realness of your community or of the unit. Simply using your iPhone or iPad will allow you to create a DIY video that truly shows the space as it stands. There’s no need for fancy editing or equipment. We do recommend some simple add-ons to ensure a certain standard of quality.
One question you may be wondering is why authenticity and realness are so important to today’s prospective residents? It’s simple — it boils down to trust. People want to trust that what they’re seeing is the real thing. They want to trust that there won’t be any negative surprises after moving in. They want to trust those who manage and maintain their potential new home. And they want all of that without having to physically show up to the property to experience it.
Being a leasing agent is all about instilling trust for your prospects. If they don’t trust that what you’re offering is real and worth their investment, they will never move in. And if they do move in, but experience one of those negative surprises, odds are, they won’t be happy residents or certainly won’t be renewing. There are so many things throughout the entire leasing process that lay the foundation for trust to be a part of the entire resident experience. Retention starts from your very first interaction with a prospect.
So how do you instill trust? You’re going to sense a theme here — by hosting a live video tour. There is nothing more powerful than a prospect physically being at the property and getting to open the cabinet doors, smell the unit, and check whatever boxes they care most about. In lieu of that and to promote a streamlined leasing process, connect live with prospects! A video leasing solution, like Realync, is the next best way to create the level of trust and authenticity today’s prospective residents are looking for. Canned virtual tours, no matter how well done, simply can’t instill that level of trust. Live tours put the individual prospect at the center of the tour – versus canned virtual tours that were created for the general audience. Live video tours also add the human factor. And a good leasing agent will be a key part of the process, building a relationship, answering questions, and instilling that trust into the process.
So, one more time. Just for good measure. How do you personalize your online experiences to create realness, and instill trust and authenticity? GO LIVE. Today’s prospective residents desire real, transparent, and personalized content and tours. We just can’t reiterate that point enough. The good news is that you can show off your space without the expensive virtual tour software and do not need to invest in expensive equipment, crazy new processes, or anything that your onsite teams don’t already know how to do. Using Realync’s live video tour software is simple, only requires an iPhone or iPad, and is tailer made to fulfill the need for digital tours with the authenticity and transparency today’s prospects desire.
This whole idea of prospective residents no longer desiring or requiring a site visit may be a major change of mindset for anyone that has worked onsite in multifamily for a long time. Making that shift in mindset though could make all the difference when it comes to closing deals that may not have otherwise closed simply because you offer them a level of service that other communities aren’t.
If you want to learn more about video leasing and how your team can use Realync, or have questions about DIY video tips, tricks, or best practices, please do reach out! We are here to help and excited to share all that our clients are doing in the multifamily space today.
Until next time…keep it real!