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Lights! Camera! Action! Getting the Most From Virtual Property Tours

Still straddling the fence trying to decide if virtual tours are worth the investment, or even necessary, for small multifamily properties? Maybe this stat reported by RealEstateAgentU.com will help settle the issue for you.

Nine out of ten surveyed renters report they watch video when searching for a new apartment home. That’s 90% of the potential pool of tenants. The survey, sponsored by Home.com and ForRent.com, also reported more than four out of five apartment seekers (81%) prefer to view YouTube videos and 69% choose Google+ visuals. 80% access virtual tours and videos from a Facebook page.

What makes video such an appealing medium? Visual media provide a realistic “three-dimensional” view of the property. It’s easier to picture personal furnishings and belongings in a dwelling while watching a video than it is looking at still photos or simply reading a description. Convenience is another motivator. Taking a look at the property before scheduling a walk-through saves time, a precious commodity for many people today.

Ready to create some powerful marketing tools? Here’s how to get the most from your virtual tours.

  1. Make sure your images are clear. Provide panoramic views that show each room completely. Wide angle views that give a floor to ceiling perspective are preferable to narrow, close-up shots unless you want to briefly spotlight a particular fixture.
  2. Add commentary to support your video. Include room-by-room square footage, window and closet dimensions and details that provide more than enough information for prospects to grasp the benefits of leasing a unit in your community.
  3. Create sharability status. People naturally want to share good news with friends and family. Videos are each to share if properly formatted. If a prospect is looking for a two-bed, two-bath home and stumbles across a three-bedroom, bath and a half that would be perfect for a co-worker, they’ll gladly pass along the link to your website.
  4. Maximize exposure by optimizing your videos for SEO. Use tags, titles and supplementing content to boost your visuals in the search rank by including data about location, features, amenities, price point and other property characteristics.
  5. Format your videos for viewing on multiple devices. You can use a smartphone to capture great content. But if you have iMovie or similar software, add captions, transitions or background music. If your budget will allow professional filming choose that option. Each video is a full-time recruiting agent, working 24/7 across the digital ecosphere to entice tenants to visit your property in person.

The Home.com/ForRent.com survey reveals some common features apartment seekers are looking for today. When you’re filming your virtual tour segments keep the numbers below in mind.

  • 81%    Number of renters who want wireless Internet service
  • 57%    People who prefer hardwood floors
  • 29%    Tenants looking for trash compactors
  • 42%    Renters who like built-in bookshelves
  • 39%    Those who stated a preference for flat-screen TV’s

Your property may not offer these amenities, but you can use those stats to create interesting commentary. For example, point out walls that are large enough to accommodate an oversized flat screen or point out where tenants in the past have positioned bookshelves and storage units. Think outside the box. You may find it’s worth the investment to install in-unit trash compactors during your next appliance upgrade or get permission to add built-in bookshelves to some apartments if foot traffic improves significantly based on your videography ventures.

The digital landscape is constantly evolving. If you haven’t embraced virtual tours, this is an excellent time to get off the fence and stop procrastinating. Chances are your competition is already reaping the benefits of this marketing tool.