Self-Guided and Virtual Apartment Tours: How to Attract Renters

Attracting out-of-state renters? Offering virtual apartment tours can help you attract renters from a distance.

Several virtual apartment tour services are available to help apartment owners capture all the beauty of their rentals and provide potential renters with a 3D experience. You can also offer self-guided apartment tours. Here’s everything you need to know to showcase your property and attract interested renters.

The good news is that using virtual or self-guided apartment tours can free up a lot of your day for more important things, like being a good landlord. The great news is that this can help you minimize vacancies even when you’re short-staffed or extra busy.

What are Self-Guided Apartment Tours?

A man holds a smart phone with an out-of-focus view of of a living room on the screen, giving a virtually guided apartment tour,The best way to decide whether you want to rent an apartment is to see it. An in-person visit lets renters see the space and imagine how their furniture will fit, check details important to them, and get a feel for the community, amenities, and nearby businesses.

Self-guided tours are not new, but they have become more common due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a lot of advantages for renters exploring on their own; they can check out cabinets and fixtures without feeling self-conscious, take all the time they need, and discuss what they think about the apartment in private.

To help guide potential renters, you can provide an online app or voice-guided audio tour packed with information they can play as they walk through.

What are Virtual Apartment Tours?

Virtual tours are useful when renters can’t be present. They are walk-throughs or 3D videos that show every corner of apartments to potential renters. There are many compelling reasons to create virtual apartment tours—you can share them on social media, and people who have taken an in-person tour can watch the video to check details and compare to other properties they are considering. Cut down on staff time by making the answers to many common prospective renter questions virtual and easily accessible.

Another option is a live virtual guided tour, where you walk prospective renters through during a video chat. It’s as time-consuming as an in-person tour, but it does give you the opportunity to answer any questions they might have as you walk through units.

Preparing Your Rental Property for Virtual or Self-Guided Tours

Whether you’re offering self-guided or virtual apartment tours, staging is crucial. Details will make the sale. Here are a few ways to make a great impression:

  • Choose the right apartments to showcase. For self-guided tours, choose a unit close to the office, and for both virtual and self-guided apartment tours, choose an apartment with a great view.
  • Stage the apartment. You want to show the apartment completely empty and beautifully decorated for your virtual tour to give potential renters a better sense of size and layout. People taking a self-guided tour can see first-hand how their furniture will fit and get design inspiration.
  • Don’t forget outdoor areas. Place a welcome mat at the front and seating and decorative touches on the porch. When filming, make sure the outside views seen through the windows are attractive. Windows overlooking a parking lot or air conditioning units are inevitable but not good selling points.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Open the blinds, and for the video, make sure the lights are on and every room in the apartment is bright, sparkling clean, and well lit.

Highlight Popular Amenities in Virtual Tours

A red open house sign points towards the entrance to a building, outside near a tree, green lawn, and sidewalk.According to, the top ten apartment features and amenities today’s renters want are:

  1. Flexible Pet Policies
  2. Granite Countertops and Stainless-Steel Appliances
  3. Outdoor Spaces
  4. Walkability
  5. Security and Safety
  6. A Well-Maintained Unit and Community
  7. Ample Parking for Residents and Visitors
  8. Walk-In Closets and Plenty of Storage
  9. In-Unit Washer and Dryer
  10. “Smart” Home Features

Keep this list in mind when creating your apartment tour experience and preparing your information. Highlighting sought-after amenities could be the extra step needed to secure a potential renter via a virtual apartment tour.

Creating a Tour Experience: The Best Medium for Apartment Tours

You can provide a tour experience for visiting guests and virtual guests. The key is to showcase the apartment in its best light while answering the questions renters are sure to ask. Imagine you’re telling a story, building a visual representation of why the tenant’s life will be better if they choose your property. Color the story with details and features that make life in your complex enjoyable. Here are some ideas for different types of media to use when presenting visual or self-guided apartment tours.

  • Give the video a 3D spin. Since you don’t know what area of the apartment will interest renters, your best bet is a 3D apartment tour where viewers can push in to check out closets, porches, and bathrooms.
  • Add audio to a self-guided tour. Like a self-guided museum tour, an online audio tour accessed via cell phone can be used to highlight features and provide information as potential renters explore the apartment.
  • Add an in-apartment concierge. Alexa can answer questions, play music, and demonstrate smart home capabilities with Alexa Smart Properties Residential.
  • A live virtual tour. For out-of-town renters, you might consider a live tour of the apartment using a video chat medium. If you decide to offer live virtual apartment tours, be prepared. Make a list of features, specs, and FAQ answers, and set up a tripod in a convenient spot like a kitchen island, where you can stabilize your phone for a post-tour chat to go over any additional questions.
  • Round out your video or tour with an overview of complex amenities. You can add photos or short videos showing your gym, playground, pool, dog spa, and anything else that makes a good selling point for your guests.

Video Resources for Real Estate:

What to Include: The Virtual Apartment Tour Checklist

A realtor, husband, wife, and young baby all wearing face masks, gather around a large tablet screen, watching a virtual guided apartment tour.Start at the entryway of the unit and walk through naturally, giving information for each room. Be sure to include information important to renters.

  • Available internet and TV services – For some renters, poor internet service is a deal-breaker. If your service is excellent, brag about it.
  • Appliances (assuming they are reasonably new and in excellent condition) – Is there a washer and dryer? Renters will want to know.
  • Countertops – Granite countertops are impressive and renters love them.
  • Lights and outlets – It may sound trivial, but great lighting and lots of outlets are popular with renters,
  • Closet and cabinet space – few things please renters more than walk-in closets. If you have them, show them off!
  • Flooring – If your apartment features beige carpeting, downplay it. If you’ve installed rich-looking engineered woods, show it off.
  • Upscale touches – Soaker tubs, high ceilings, ultra-modern ceiling fans, French doors, and deep sinks are all trendy designer touches that make an apartment seem more upscale. Showcase any luxury features you have to offer.
  • Square footage – give the specific details for the entire unit and each room.
  • Walkability – Frequently asked questions usually include what’s around. Talk about nearby stores, restaurants, attractions, and schools.
  • Parking – You may not want to tour the parking lot, but parking arrangements should be mentioned, along with garage and storage units if available.
  • Pets – Pet-focused amenities, such as dog parks, waste stations, and dog wash areas are increasingly common in rental properties. Be sure to include your policies and any pet amenities you offer.
  • Outdoor areas – Pools, gathering or scenic areas, grills, playgrounds, gardens, and walking trails are wildly popular with apartment dwellers. Describe your green spaces!
  • Security is essential – Mention any kind of security features your complex provides.

You can include the same info on videos with a voiceover, captions, or a link accessible from the video.

Get Social

Once you’ve put together all the materials for your virtual apartment tour, share it on social media, and encourage friends and residents to share it with their friends. You might pick up some extra interest just by spreading the word.

Great Examples of Guided Apartment Tours for Inspiration

Marketing small spaces can be tricky, and a video shot at the wrong angle can make even a spacious apartment look cramped. To avoid scaring off potential renters, make sure your video is professional, well-lit, and shows each room from its roomiest angle.

While self-guided and virtual apartment tours might take more front-loaded manpower to pull off, they can be reused, reposted, and shared time and time again when new units become available. Take the time to prepare available units. Invest in the most accessible and easy-to-use medium to create your virtual tours. Create for your ideal tenant and highlight your rental property’s greatest assets. In the ever-changing online age, marketing your rental property in innovative and modern ways will help expand your reach, keep your units filled, and your bottom line happy. Visit the RWS Boiler Room Blog for more articles and resources for apartments and apartment property managers.

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