Tools for leasing residential rental properties during the socially distanced COVID-19 era
Now more than ever, renters are making leasing decisions virtually. According to research conducted in a partnership between Apartments.com and Kingsley Associates, virtual tour mentions in email leads increased over 140% from March to April 2020, making it that much more important that your property is equipped to handle such requests. Of renters who toured a community virtually, 63% found that this gave them enough information to make a leasing decision.
Whether you’re an independent owner or a multifamily operator, there are a variety of ways to connect with renters where they are right now: online.
Create a 3D Tour
Gone are the days of two-dimensional floor plans. Now, you can showcase your rentals in 3D using Matterport technology, allowing prospects to walk (click) through an immersive, “digital twin” of your unit.
After relocating its 3D tour button to a more prominent location on listings, Apartments.com saw a three-fold uptick in usage of the feature in just two months. While Matterport experiences are included in Apartments.com advertising packages for multifamily operators, the company is working with independent owners to help them create 3D captures directly from an iOS app.
Video should not be overlooked either. In April, video mentions in email leads increased 31% month-over-month — and Matterport reports that listings with virtual tour features, like video, receive 40% more clicks than listings without. Apartments.com makes it easy to add video to your listing using self-upload. While a majority of listings include 2-3 videos, there’s capacity for six — making this an easy way to add an edge to your listing by showing off the unit and surrounding community.
Host a Virtual Open House
Virtual open houses are another option for showcasing your rental property online. Ideal for high-volume markets, virtual open houses — in which you designate “drop in” hours with a link to something like Zoom or Google Meet — allow you to introduce a unit to many potential tenants at once, and create a sense of urgency and competition for your units. For prospects, this creates a low-pressure way for them to learn more, while giving you an easy foot in the door for future follow-up. Just be sure to ask attendees for their top must-haves in advance so you can address them during the event.
Give a Virtual Tour
Virtual tours have also skyrocketed. One way to do this is to use your listing as your guide over the phone. Taking it one step further, Apartments.com is rolling out tools to become a virtual leasing agent, allowing multifamily operators to chat with and host video calls with prospects during designated office hours. A prominent onsite banner allows for prospects to schedule their tour directly through Apartments.com with a leasing agent.
Whichever path you chose, virtual tours are a great way to deepen your connection with leads. Let the conversation guide your tour: Identify your prospect’s needs and concerns and tailor your tour based on what they’re looking for.
Offer a Self-Guided Property Tour
Self guided property tours are ideal for independent owners, allowing prospects to tour your rental without actually having to be there yourself. Keyless locks enable you to provide unit access securely and efficiently. Maximize your security by requiring a photo ID from each prospect as well as a credit card deposit—a small dollar amount should suffice. You might also consider setting up a camera in your rental to monitor tour activity from a distance.
Showcasing your property online is only the beginning
The online experience doesn’t have to end at touring. With the goal of bringing landlords and renters together as efficiently as possible, Apartments.com offers a variety of virtual leasing tools to help you complete the lease-up process — in a completely contactless way — from start to finish. After you advertise your property, you can receive applications, screen applicants, generate a lease that is consistent with local jurisdiction laws, and collect online payments all from home. Learn more about these rental tools and open your virtual office today.
Apartments.com is the leading online apartment listing website, offering renters access to information on more than 1,000,000 available units for rent. Apartments.com creates easy access to its listings through a responsive website and iOS and Android apps, and provides unmatched exposure for its advertisers through an intuitive name, strategic search engine placements and innovative emerging media. The Apartments.com network reaches millions of renters nationwide, driving both qualified traffic and highly engaged renters to leasing offices.