In light of the daily situation of shelter in place orders and people in fear of contact from social distancing, we came up with a fast solution to showing vacant, or even occupied units to get them back into rent-collecting inventory as quickly as possible. We scrambled over the past week and started doing more online virtual tours. We started out rough and the results have been great so we are focusing more resources here to get a better online product. We just picked up a smartphone video stabilizer ($99 bucks) and haven’t even opened the package yet. For the time being, we have just been using a hand-held smartphone to shoot the videos for now, but in the future, are planning to ramp this up to a more polished professional solution.
We also have a DSLR Camera with a wide-angle lens, but we moved so fast to get to market with the virtual tours, that we didn’t get to the set up for that camera yet. We did just finally go out to get a larger storage card for the camera($45 bucks), so we can shoot a longer video. We anticipate a lot more control over the tours on the next one we shoot. The goal is to have the better camera with the larger card and the stabilizer to give us a much better end result. Right now, for what we had to work with at the time, the smartphone gig is working out just fine – and getting results.
We have already shot a half dozen virtual tours and the results have been great! Two of the units rented without a physical tour at all! THAT, was amazing!!! They clicked, toured, applied, put money down and scooped up the unit sight unseen. It is way more convenient this way, saves time, and staff resources. This is going to change how we do business moving forward marketing our rentals. If the unit is currently occupied, and it appears like your resident keeps a nice unit, here’s what I would suggest (for multiple reasons).
First reason, Virtual Tours will keep you,
your family, and everyone’s family safe.
You can shoot the video wearing blue gloves, a bandana, or mask too to play it safe. We are also seeing a greater appreciation from our residents and the renting public for our consideration for the families that want to see units. They want to see the unit but also share the same fear as everyone else entering into a stranger’s home. Your residents, are afraid, your candidates are afraid, and I am sure that you share the same concerns.
Second reason, Virtual Tours can automate the
way you handle your marketing rental process.
Use this to save time and actually rent out your vacancies sooner by having an automated process that you can just flip the marketing switch on for your next rental opportunity. Later down the road, if you update links, the unit, how much you want to charge for rent, or other stuff like that, you can just go into your YouTube Channel and edit the content details or even upload a new video. This saves you time to focus on bigger greater uses of your time. If you end up finding a really great candidate lead, you can then set up a real showing on a case by case basis.
Third reason the Virtual Tours idea works so well,
you get to see the current state of the rental unit.
If your great resident is super squeaky clean and you do not see any damages to the rental, then that’s great! Proceed to post the video with confidence and start taking in rental applications. You can work with them on the move out terms knowing you are going to get a cleaned apartment back in a short amount of time with a quick turnaround to rent. On the other hand, if the video reveals that they have been a little less than respectful of the property and you see a lot of maintenance and damages, just keep on shooting. Later, when you are out of the unit, you can scrutinize over the video frame by frame to come up with a list of items you may need to address once they offer up the premises. You can then start to come up with a plan to tackle the turnaround of the unit to get it back to market ASAP.
This gives you the opportunity to start creating a move-out punch list to start lining up the required contractors you need to get the job done. This is also a great BEFORE and AFTER video opportunity to show to prospective future renters. You will get to showcase your skills as a competent landlord who cares about the property.
If you think Virtual Tours will work for you,
give your resident a call and do the following:
- Explain your concerns for their health, your health, and letting strangers into the rental unit
- Explain that by only having one person enter to shoot the video you can give unlimited tours moving forward without having to displace or put your resident at risk
- Offer your resident a convenient time and date to come in to shoot a virtual tour on your mobile phone (2 to 4 minutes)
- Thank your resident, and may also give them a gift card for $20 to $30 dollars
- Open up a YouTube Account to upload the video
- Post the video with contact information and links to your Rental Application
- Interested renters will download, fill out, and send in the Rental Application
- Start the screening and selection process to find the best candidate
- With a service like Venmo, or PayPal, accept a holding deposit from a qualified candidate
- Sign the lease (online) and start collecting rent (online)
What’s on Your Mind?
Do you have any other ideas on this topic you could share to help our online community? Please chime in to share a comment or review. All feedback is welcomed. Thank you in advance for your continued support!
Belaire Property Management
Regional Property Manager
(978) 448-0669 office
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