One of the unexpected consequences of COVID-19 has been new household formations in the multifamily sector. In addition to migration from densely populated areas and the freedom to work from home, people are reevaluating who they want to live with for the duration of the pandemic. After spending so much time together at home, some roommates are calling it quits and looking for a new apartment to call home.
Virtual tours were already popular before COVID, but social distancing has made this option a must. The most competitive operators understand that renters value flexibility especially during the pandemic. Some might just want to FaceTime with a leasing agent in real time for a walk through of the property. Others prefer to walk themselves around by accessing a 3D tour on the website. Depending on the location and the local COVID guidelines, the virtual tour can be a preliminary step before meeting with the leasing agent on site. Or the lease application can be handled online following the digital tour.
The prospect’s final decision about where to live will be shaped by the apartment community’s FAQ regarding cost, pets, maintenance requests and package delivery. But just as persuasive are the visuals presented during the virtual tour. It is essential for the property to look different, make a great impression and keep prospects engaged and excited until the lease is signed. The following trends from NAHB’s International Builders Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show will resonate in 2021 and—even when used in small quantities—offer good ROI for operators who want to amp up virtual apartment tours.