When potential residents can’t visit your property in person, it’s time to get creative. How can you show off your amazing rental property without a personal tour? Try creating a virtual one. You have a powerful, high-quality video camera right in the palm of your hand, so you can create a terrific, professional online tour using nothing more than your phone.
Keep in mind that video should be a supplement to your photos – not a replacement. Potential renters still want photos to view at their leisure. To save time, consider taking your still photos at the same time you shoot your video.
Here’s how to shoot a great video that shows off your rental home to its fullest:
Set the Stage
You want to make your rental as appealing as possible. Before filming anything, consider doing the following:
- Mow the lawn and weed the flowerbeds
- Pick up any yard trash (fallen pinecones, branches, the old tricycle left behind by former tenants, etc.)
- Don’t film on garbage day, unless you do it before all of the neighbors drag their trash cans to the curb.
- Wash the front porch and make sure to remove any cobwebs
- Clean the back porch
- Dust and polish the furniture
- Clean the windows
- Pick up anything you don’t want in the video and put it away
- Vacuum the carpets
- Close the toilet seat lid in the bathroom
- Stage the rental if it is furnished (A vase of flowers on the dining room table, a tea tray placed on the ottoman in front of the couch with a teapot and a plate of cookies, etc., will help renters imagine themselves living there.)
Now that your rental looks exactly the way you want it, it’s time to film. Here are some filming tips from John Williams, an architectural photographer with Apartments.com:
- Fully charge your phone before shooting the video
- Be sure to switch your camera app from photo to video
- Turn on the lights in your rental
- Open the blinds and position the furniture
- Shoot as though you are walking through the rental (keep the flow from room to room)
- Hold the phone horizontally when filming – not vertically
- Always pan left to right, then right to left
- In smaller rooms, shoot a little lower (waist height)
- In larger rooms, take shots from two different angles
- Make sure you aren’t showing up in any of the room’s mirrors as you film
Time It Right
Even when potential residents can tour your property in person, having a video to show off your rental could increase your leads significantly. Real estate listings with a virtual home tour tend to get more views – 87 percent more views, according to surveys conducted on the subject.
So how do you make your property’s video stand out?
- Keep it short – two minutes or less. Shorter videos are more engaging than longer videos and tend to have less drop-off.
- Don’t talk too much. You can introduce yourself at the beginning of the video if you like, but let your rental speak for itself. If you have some fascinating information about your rental (i.e., it has some historical significance), consider mentioning that, but don’t give a play-by-play through every room.
- Add music. Music will help to pull the viewer in and make your video more appealing. Choose something soothing and inviting rather than something loud and jarring (think ambient rather than rock).
- If you do add music, be careful of copyrighted material. Look for music with Creative Commons licenses or royalty-free music.
Once you have your video, upload it to a free platform such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Now, you can share the link with anyone interested in your property.
Offer a Virtual Tour
If you want to take things a step further, offer virtual tours to potential renters. You can offer this once they reach out to you. If you have Apartments.com Rental Tools, potential renters will view a contact form with your phone number. The contact form also provides a set of options (such as schedule a tour and request application) and they can send you an email through the contact form. Those with a premium listing will also have a banner with virtual tour options that the property might offer.
A virtual tour is much more informal. You’ll use FaceTime or another video chat provider to “walk” the person through the rental. Be prepared to answer questions and show potential tenants features you likely didn’t include in your video, such as the pantry or the space under the sink.
Keep in mind that you may get some questions or requests that renters might not ask during a live tour. For example, during a live tour, they might surreptitiously peek into the oven, but they can’t do that over FaceTime – so they might ask you to do that for them. They might also request that you turn the shower on to check the water pressure. Try not to take offense – consider the fact that they are about to sign a lease agreement without first visiting the property. This is an intimidating prospect, so try to grant their requests (within reason, of course).
Now that you have a pro-quality video, terrific photos, and the ability to take potential tenants on a virtual walk-through, what’s next? If you have Rental Tools set up, you can screen potential tenants, send them an online application, and generate a digital lease agreement. You can also accept online payments so you can do as much as possible virtually.