Real Estate Virtual Tours: A How-To Guide for Landlords

Virtual reality is a hot term in the tech industry today. But, does this have any effect on the rental and real estate markets? It does: in the form of a virtual property tour.

Real estate virtual tours already existed before COVID-19-related shutdowns required this innovation, but there’s no doubt these tours became more commonplace during this time. It simply made sense. Business couldn’t continue operating as usual, but inventive solutions allowed people to keep selling, renting, and buying property.

Today, virtual tours for real estate properties, including rentals, remain popular. Tenants, landlords, and others in the industry benefit from the accessibility of these tours, and many have found them valuable in resources, time, and investment capital.

What do you know about virtual real estate tours? It’s the opportune time to get involved in this growing facet of the rental industry. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

A Table Of Contents On Virtual Property Tours

Virtual tours for real estate once seemed like something out of the future. Now, the technology to create these tours is more accessible than ever, and tenants increasingly expect to see virtual options. Use our guide to get started with real estate virtual tours today:

What Are Virtual Property Tours?

What Are Virtual Property Tours?

A virtual tour is a 3D tool that allows potential tenants to “walk” through a property through a series of photos, videos, or 3D models. Some virtual tours only utilize flat images, but most incorporate 3D models or 360-degree videos for an interactive and detailed idea of what the rental unit is like in person.

Landlords include high-quality virtual tours to attract more potential tenants, secure applications, and reduce overall tenant vacancy rates.

Types Of Virtual Tours

There are three primary types of virtual tour that you can use in your rental listings.

First, a walk-through tour. This is essentially a series of images linked together so that the tenant can move through the rooms as they click through each photo. Think of this type of tour as if you are on a street view of an online map. You can move through the images, but your motion is minimal.

3D virtual tours are a type that utilizes three-dimensional modeling to represent the space of a rental property in a different way. These tours are often used alongside a walk-through tour to provide additional perspective on how items fit together. Some landlords stage their 3D virtual tours with furniture to give an idea of what living at the property would be like.

There’s also a type of virtual tour known as an interactive 360° virtual tour. This interactive tour is the closest that potential tenants can get to view the property in person without leaving their homes. These tours are made with unique cameras that capture every angle so the view freely moves in all directions.

Why Landlords Love Virtual Tours

Every landlord knows that standing out in a competitive rental market is essential. If your property doesn’t attract attention from your ideal tenants, you won’t be able to create your perfect business.

Virtual tours allow landlords to stand out in a unique way that tenants may love. There are many benefits to utilizing this type of marketing tool in your rental listings:

  1. Increase exposure to your target audience
  2. Remain an option when tenants filter only to see properties with virtual tours
  3. Attract out-of-state tenants relocating to the area
  4. Minimize time spent doing in-person showings
  5. Provide convenience to modern tenants looking for easy rental hunting
  6. Reduce unnecessary contact during high-stress periods, such as during flu season

How To Set Up Real Estate Virtual Tours

How To Set Up Real Estate Virtual Tours

Did you know that setting up a virtual real estate tour can be as easy as filming a slow walkthrough of your rental unit?

While this isn’t the best way to create a virtual tour, it can get the job done. The goal is to show off the property in a way that still images cannot without help. Filming a video on a simple camera is an upgrade from more basic listings.

Most landlords, however, use online software to create their virtual tours. Each software option specializes in different tour types, costs, and accessibility. The right choice for your business and properties will depend on personal factors.

Consider hiring a professional to create your virtual tour. Depending on the property and location, this can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but that investment pays off for high-end properties.

Reducing the cost of real estate virtual tours is possible by paying professional photographers to collect the necessary images and video. Once they’re edited and returned to you, virtual tour software helps put everything together in a neat package.

Tips For Successful Virtual Tours For Real Estate

Running a virtual tour feels different from traditional rental showings. It can be awkward at first. Follow these tips from experienced landlords as you try this new approach in your rental workflow.

Tip #1: Don’t Completely Drop In-Person Showings

One of the most important things to remember about starting virtual showings is that they will only partially eliminate the need for in-person showings.

In some cases, people who checked out the property online and loved the virtual tour may want to finalize their decision by seeing the property in person. If they’ve passed your pre-screening, take time to do this and secure the rental.

There may also be some potential tenants that don’t carefully view the virtual tour. Some don’t have solid internet access at their current lodgings. Give these individuals a fair opportunity to view the property in person.

Tip #2: Take Great Photos

Your virtual tour will only be a high-quality marketing tool if the photos are high quality. Don’t necessarily use your cell phone to take pictures; purchase or rent a camera that has higher resolution, can capture more details, and that will work better in the varying lighting of a rental property.

Ideally, you could hire a professional, but that won’t make sense for every business. Instead, watch some videos online about taking great real estate photos. It’s worth the time investment.

Tip #3: Tenant Screening After Virtual Property Tours

After virtual property tours, it’s important to remember that you still need to follow your usual next steps even if the tour goes well. Collecting a completed tenant application and thoroughly screening the potential tenant remains a top priority.

Just as virtual property tours simplify the property viewing process for many landlords, utilizing the right tools for tenant screening is a straightforward way to streamline your business.

The tools we produce here at RentPrep are a great way to revitalize your screening process. Our tenant screening packages offer a variety of background check, credit check, and credit report options to simplify reviewing tenant applications. Get started by browsing our packages and pricing options today!

FAQs On Real Estate Virtual Tours

The full scope of real estate virtual tours can take a while to grasp. These answers to the most frequently asked questions can provide additional clarity on points that landlords like you may find confusing.

Are virtual tours worth it in real estate?

In the real estate industry, statistics show that many buyers utilize virtual property tours to view and purchase homes without ever seeing them in person.

There are fewer specific statistics out there about the impact of these tours on the rental market. However, as with most things in the general industry, what happens in real estate tours and transactions is often mirrored in the rental sector.

Virtual tours are sure to draw more clicks to your rental listing. These clicks do not guarantee shorter vacancy periods or better tenants, but they give you more opportunities to attract the right tenant. As with any marketing effort, the goal is to increase volume for improved performance.

Finally, the practical purpose of virtual property tours makes the process worth it for many landlords. Many see a reduction in the number of property showings that don’t go anywhere; virtual tours cull these potential applicants before you invest your time in traveling to and touring a property together.

The competitive edge of utilizing virtual property tours, plus the potential for increased profit, makes these tours worth a try at the very least.

How do you create a virtual tour of a property?

Virtual property tours are created through virtual tour technology. Access to the necessary equipment and software is now more affordable than ever before.

Each tour software utilizes different technology, so researching the specifics will be necessary. The cost and complexity vary greatly depending on your end product goal.

Generally, producing virtual property tours requires the following process:

  • Acquire necessary gear, such as specialized cameras, which can often be rented
  • Shoot and edit all the photos or videos before uploading them
  • Adding the media to the tour software
  • Ensure all images are crisp and in the property order
  • Publish and market the tour as part of your rental property pitch

The software does most of the work once you have the right photos, videos, or capture sequences. Some software, such as Matterport, immediately processes the photos into a 3D model so you can add additional views, dimensions, and other unique materials to your marketing package.

How much do virtual real estate tours cost to create?

The production cost of virtual real estate tours varies significantly from property to property and largely depends on what tour you order. Property size is also an important factor. The larger the property, the more expensive it will be to accurately capture it for a virtual tour.

Simple tours that are a step above a basic photo slide show are the least expensive option, and these can still cost a minimum of $300 for high-quality photos, editing, and creation. Video tours that utilize 360-degree technology will be more expensive.

Call local real estate photographers to get quotes on what they can provide. Ask to view samples of their work to help determine the tour style you seek. This information will help you determine if the investment into virtual tours is feasible for your rental company.

What are the disadvantages of virtual rental tours?

As with any change in the industry, virtual rental tours come with both positives and negatives.

For landlords, one of the most significant disadvantages is that you will not have the opportunity to meet the potential tenant face-to-face. This is a disadvantage in a few ways.

First impressions are essential to many landlords when choosing a tenant. The discussions you have during a tour often tell the tenant’s expectations and behavior, which can help you choose the right tenant for your property.

Another issue is that you need to ensure the tenant gets the best tour of the property. While virtual tours can be fantastic, they can also be glitchy when technology goes wrong. In-person tours do not have this problem, and you can use your knowledge of the property to sell it.

Finally, tenants who rent an apartment sight unseen may be disappointed after moving in. This can lead to awkwardness and tension, but ultimately, it is not something you should worry too much about. Many landlords encourage a walkthrough before the final lease signing, but some tenants will want to push forward as they can only relocate once housing is secured.

Virtual Tours For Real Estate: Revitalizing The Industry

The rental industry is constantly changing. Upgrades in technology, changes in the economy, and thousands of other factors ultimately influence what happens in this sector. It’s important to keep up with the latest trends, and real estate virtual tours are the latest things today.

The best way to discover a virtual property tour’s impact on vacancy and rent rates is to try it with one property to start.

Get started right away with research and implementation of virtual tours:

  • Check comparable properties: Could you stand out with virtual tours?
  • Consider who rents your units: Would out-of-town applicants enjoy this option?
  • Consider the resources involved: Would the cost of creating the tour generate enough extra income to be valuable?
  • Analyze your profile: Which properties have the most potential for low vacancy rates with better marketing and exposure?

As you determine whether or not virtual tours are a good move for your business, looking at each aspect will help you form the larger picture. Get started with virtual tours today.