Phones shoot incredible quality video. Films, documentaries, and commercials have all used footage shot from a phone. Your favorite TikTok dance challenge was shot using a phone. So why shouldn’t you use your phone’s camera app to record video walkthroughs of your listings?
Lockdowns in March and April necessitated and accelerated the adoption of video and virtual tours. The lockdowns have lifted but a much higher bar still has to be met to get a client to see a place in person. What hasn’t changed is that getting the (client’s) foot in the door is still one of the best ways to close the deal.
Here at Peek, we spend a lot of time gathering and analyzing data on our customer (and their clients) experience. Not surprisingly, this data shows that prospective tenants have narrowed down their “in-person” list from about 16 listings to just 2 or 3. People no longer want to spend days traversing the city looking for their next apartment.
From the consumer (prospective tenant’s) perspective, the process of finding a new home can roughly be broken down into 3 distinct steps:
Exploration can be quickly summed up as “seeing what’s out there.” Pre-pandemic, consumers largely did their “exploration” online--this hasn’t changed. During exploration, a consumer will look at dozens or even hundreds of listings--but each one only for a brief moment. This is your chance to seize the attention of the customer and advance their interest in your property. Video is great-- it grabs attention quickly, and works even when a user isn’t actively engaged in specifically searching for your content (think Instagram videos). Showcase that panorama of the roof deck, or the gorgeous, renovated open kitchen and get the client’s attention.
In pre-pandemic times, this is where the client would get the grand in-person tour. During the tour, the client is looking not only for specific requirements, but also for the “feel” of a space--things that are difficult to convey through photos or a description.
What’s the view like from the living room?
How new is the tiling in the bathroom?
What does the space feel like?
Getting to this step is where the game has changed. After the lifting of pandemic-related lockdown measures, the “confirmation” has mostly gone back to being in-person but clients still prefer to do their investigation on remote alternatives such as video, FaceTime and virtual tours. The average number of apartments people are willing to see in person has dropped by over 5x. It’s become much harder to get that in-person meeting-- the “confirmation.”
So how do we get renters and buyers to move onto this phase in a comfortable manner? While catching a client’s attention during the exploration phase relies on revealing just enough information to pique interest, providing a client a good experience in the investigation phase hinges on providing as much information to the client as possible to make the client think “this is worth taking a look in person.”
Interestingly, what makes video the perfect medium to generate leads holds it back from becoming a good way to help clients “investigate” an apartment. We can break this down into perspective and control.
The typical iPhone camera will only give you a 70 degree view of a room. This causes two issues-- the person viewing does not get an accurate sensation of space. At the minimum, VR headsets show about 100 degrees--a sort of baseline for what it takes to convey a sense of space. The second issue is that the rooms will look a lot smaller than they are. With the narrow camera angle cutting out the peripheral view, the human eye will perceive things to be closer (and thus, space smaller) than they actually are.
The issue of control is an even greater one. Clients expect to be able to closely examine the details of the space. This is extremely difficult in a video, where there is no way to stop and look around independently.
While only showing the highlights of an apartment on video may work for lead generation, clients at this phase are investigating--and without providing enough detail, you may find your listing sitting outside of their 2-3 “in-person” shortlist.
3D virtual tours.
Fully interactive, 360 views-- a 3D virtual tour not only gives the client an immersive, wide-angle view of the listing, but also allows the client to freely navigate and investigate the features of the listing.
You can pick up a lower end solution from any camera store and host on a photo sharing site. A starter 360* camera such as the Ricoh Theta V will set you back around $400.
For even higher quality, consider solutions such as Peek. We’re a unique subscription model, where there’s no upfront hardware cost, unlimited listings and plans starting at just $99/month for agents. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started today!