Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective tenants may be fearful of venturing out to look at your apartment listing, but there are ways you can successfully show your apartment and do so virtually. With proper planning, and some creativity, your virtual apartment listing can bring you qualified tenants. Here are some tips to help through these changing times.
1. Hire Someone with Experience
There are ample freelancers and video professionals who are eager to work, especially during the pandemic. If your budget permits, hire a person who has experience creating videos, or taking pictures. The lighting, the angle, the music and narration all play a part in telling your apartment’s story. Professional talents and experience will likely improve the presentation of your listing.
Sometimes, showings can be a mix of still photography and videos. If you can, add 3D photos to add real-life elements. When you post the videos, have some gentle instrumental music in the background, like a piano soundtrack. This soothing musical backdrop can add an extra creative lift to your video.
2. If You’re DIY, Raise the Stakes
If your budget doesn’t permit hiring a professional or experienced video creator or photographer, you can still create a virtual showing on your own. The most important advice is to make sure the apartment is tidy and you have a check-list of what you want to include in the video or photos before you embark on creating them. For example, create a list of the pros of the apartment: open spaces, high ceilings, modern kitchen, city views, new hardwoods, ample closets, large shower and more.
These highlights should be addressed in your virtual showing. If you are going to narrate, have a script prepared in advance. This is no time to improvise. Taking photos to augment your virtual showing is very important. Make sure there is proper lighting, and there is no clutter. There are also online resources that can assist. A quick Internet search can provide tips and tricks on how to boost your photography and video skills.
3. Act as if it Were in Person
Even though the showing is a virtual showing and you may not be used to this new way of property showings, it’s very important to be thorough and address questions, concerns and provide facts to prospective tenants. Think back and recall what tenants have asked you in person about your apartments. Be prepared to answer questions. It’s also important to have associated rental paperwork in digital format, like outlines of the property, floor plans and other relevant information that you can email prospective tenants upon request.
4. Be Flexible
We are in uncharted territory, so some prospective tenants may want you to go into the apartment with your phone and actually walk them through the apartment in real-time. This may seem a bit unconventional, but landlords need to be flexible, accommodating and amenable to requests. Try to schedule a real-time virtual showing during daytime hours because the light of day enhances the property. Open the shades and let natural light into the apartment.
Another important issue is making sure the apartment is clean, pets are not there, and there isn’t a current tenant in the unit in the background. Stage the apartment before you start a live stream so that there aren’t any surprises. The key is to create an appealing environment, even if the apartment is small, highlight the positives. Another important piece of advice: be sure to have the facts correct about the apartment. If the tenant is posing questions, make sure you’re ready with appropriate answers.
5. Demonstrate the Workings of the Apartment
Virtual showings need to include demonstrations. This can include turning on and off lights, opening and closing shades, using faucets, or demonstrating washers, dryers and dishwashers. Think about what tenants want to know and see.
6. Include Relevant Spaces Beyond the Apartment
There is so much more to telling your apartment’s story than just the actual four walls of the apartment. Be sure to include everything that makes the apartment worth renting. This can include the lobby, gym, common spaces, garage, storage areas, and more. Take videos of these areas, or photos and be sure to tell the prospective tenant about all the building offers. Go a step further and if possible, highlight some of the neighborhood amenities like access to public transit, shopping, parks, gyms and other stores and services.
How to Make the Most of a Virtual Listing
Just because your showing isn’t in person, you can still virtually show prospective tenants the highlights of your apartment. Be sure to spend the time and investment to take photos, create quality-produced videos and create accompanying written materials that can be emailed for those looking for information.
If the showing is a pre-produced video that is posted on a site, be sure to spend time enhancing the video with narration, music and staging. Also, create photos with proper lighting and images that capture every room of the apartment.
If the showing is a real-time “walk-through,” be sure that the apartment is clean and free from clutter, pets and other people. It’s also important to show the inner-workings of the place including appliances, closets and such. Furthermore, step beyond the apartment to give a prospective tenant a look at the lobby, storage area, building spaces and even the neighborhood.
It’s also important to be accessible for questions or if the prospective needs additional information. We’re in a whole new real estate world now, to navigate these uncharted times landlords and property owners should be flexible and accommodating and most importantly – patient.