Despite the challenges faced by everyone worldwide, people still need housing. This means those of us in the multifamily industry are still needed to provide support and services to those in need. So how do we navigate that call to service while keeping ourselves, our residents, and our customers safe? The answer is virtual tours! In my last post we discussed 3 approaches for virtual leasing during COVID-19.
Now that you know what you can do, here is a checklist of 8 things you will need to master virtual leasing:
1. Smartphone – You’ll need some sort of device, like a smartphone or even a tablet. (You do NOT need a dedicated video camera to capture good, quality video, although one would be fine to use if you have one.) These will be useful for the real-time virtual tours since they are portable. You can also use these devices to film and even edit your pre-recorded videos. Almost any smartphone or tablet will do. Look for something that takes good video with the front video. Get to know your device to find out how to correct for any issues with video quality (lighting, sound, etc.). Make sure your device has ample storage space to capture the videos, especially since you may need to take more than one take to get your best video.
2. Headphones/Headset – Ideally, a headset with a microphone would be great for real-time virtual tours to help cut some of the wind and other background noise. It’s better to use a headset rather than speakerphone as a courtesy to your co-workers to limit disturbance.
3. Microphone – When filming a video, using a microphone that can plug into your device’s headphone jack will greatly improve the audio quality of your recording. Some even have a mic you can clip onto your clothing for hands-free use. Remember, these will not be useful for a real-time, two-way interaction as you won’t be able to hear the prospect!
4. Tripod or Monopod – A tripod will help keep your video smooth and steady. Another great benefit is that it will allow you to film yourself without needing another person. You can set up the camera and get in front of it to give your presentation while someone else stays in the office. A good tripod would be one that measures at least 50 inches or more in height. This will allow you to have flexibility in the angle of your video. Look for a tripod with a hook at the bottom in the middle, which will allow you to hang a weight to stabilize the tripod during outdoor shots in windy conditions. In addition, if you’re using a heavier device, be sure to choose a sturdier tripod.
5. Device Mount – If you’ll be using a tablet or smartphone on your tripod, you’ll need to look for some sort of device mount. Most tripods were designed for use with a camera, so you’ll need something to securely mount your larger phone or device to the tripod.
6. Light Kit – A light kit would be very useful to help even the lighting in a vacant apartment. These typically include light bulbs, umbrellas (which diffuse the light) or a lightbox, stands for your umbrellas and a carrying case. You can use a ring light for a video focused on a person, but they are not ideal for lighting a larger area, so the light kit would be a better investment.
7. Video Editing – You’ll need some sort of video editing software. Some Apple products already include great software such as iMovie. Another good free software is Openshot. You could also consider using a third-party vendor to edit your videos.
8. Video Host Site Account – Most video files will be too large to send directly to prospects from your device, so it will be useful to have an account with a host site to upload finished videos and create links instead. You could use YouTube, Google Drive, Vimeo, DropBox, etc.
Important Note: As you create videos, don’t forget about copyright law! If you’re looking to add music, video, pictures, etc. to the videos you create, keep in mind that the creator of the content has the rights to the work and you cannot use someone else’s work without obtaining their permission first. To find music for your videos, look for royalty free stock music. Some sites offer free music but be sure to read the fine print. Ultimately, if you are not sure if you can use something, don’t use it!
Before you jump on to a live virtual tour, here are a few final suggestions:
- Create a plan in advance (what you’re going to show and say, and practice ahead of time)
- Use LANDSCAPE mode
- Keep it short and sweet
Most of the of 8 things you will need to master virtual leasing can be purchased affordably online through a site like Amazon. As you prepare for virtual leasing, remember the basics of leasing are still the same! You’re doing the same job with the same end goal, so your focus hasn’t changed. At the end of the day, give your prospect a great experience to help them decide to lease with you.
The Relationship Difference
Rommel is an award-winning motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and strategist. He powerfully impacts people, companies and organizations by providing the clarity, motivation and education they need to break through their limits and achieve the success they desire.
Edge2Learn is an eLearning company whose focus is the Property Management Industry and specializes in property management training and multifamily education. With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to increase industry excellence, we are passionate about engaging learners to maximize benefits for both companies and employees. Aligned with a well-respected industry leader, Ellis, Partners in Management Solutions, the Edge2Learn platform provides a turnkey solution for clearly identified needs and opportunities. We prepare learners to deliver a superior customer experience and also reduce corporate liability risks and overall employee turnover.