In recent years, virtual reality (VR) technology has leapt straight out of science fiction and into the hands of innovative individuals who are ushering in a new era of efficiency – and that includes property managers.
Here’s how you can use VR technology right now to enhance your listings and streamline your operations.
Virtual rental property tours
The most common use of VR in real estate is virtual tours, which are interactive 3D or 360° walkthroughs of rental properties.
According to Matterport, the leading 3D data platform, properties with virtual tours receive 49% more qualified leads.
VR rental property tours provide a more engaging experience for prospective tenants compared to static photos and traditional video tours. Plus, they can explore properties from the comfort of their own homes, which can save them, as well as the property manager, time and travel expenses.
As immersive and convenient as they are, VR tours can clearly not convey physical sensations such as odors, noise level and general ambience. They also may not provide the same level of personal interaction and attention from the property manager, as renters can view properties and submit questions even when a property manager is offline.
For this reason, some prospects may still feel the need to see the rental property and get to know the property manager in person, depending on how comfortable they are with the superior but newfangled technology and how far along in the signing process.
However, the number of visits and enquiries can be further minimized by addressing as many specific concerns in the listing description as possible, and by being upfront about your business hours.
Also consider hosting a "virtual open house" to provide prospective tenants with a clear time window for real-time responses.
While much more common when selling a property, staging a rental unit can help present the space in a warmer and more welcoming light, give prospective tenants a clearer idea about dimensions, and help them visualize the property as their future home.
Property managers can leverage the power of VR to boost marketability. Populating a space with virtual furniture is much less expensive than buying or renting the essentials, and just as effective as the real deal in an online listing or a virtual viewing.
Going the virtual route can cost on average between $20 and $400, depending on the number of images and the amount of editing requested, as opposed to several thousand dollars for traditional staging
Since most photo editing companies charge per image, it can be more cost-effective to focus on the primary living spaces such as the living room and bedrooms.
Many of these same photo editing companies also offer virtual remodel and structural services, so property managers and landlords can visualize and plan any rental property renovations and interior design changes.
VR can just as easily be used internally to train property management staff.
Simulated job scenarios can help them practice emergency responses, landlord and tenant interactions, and other soft skills in a safe and realistic environment, while saving time and money compared to traditional classroom training.
It can also be used for onboarding new employees, providing them with virtual walkthroughs of all the properties under their care quickly and conveniently from the office.
VR training has proven to improve job performance by 70% and learning retention by up to 80%, among other benefits.
It does require headsets, software and/or platform content, which can become costly. There may be a price break if you buy headsets in bulk or work with a third-party VR-enabled eLearning provider to provide some training sessions. Another option is to buy a single headset for use by several employees – just remember to give it a good wipe down after each use.
Virtually endless possibilities
In an increasingly digital world, VR enables property managers to showcase their rental portfolio in the best light while minimizing expenses and maximizing potential business opportunities. Are you making use of it in your business, or do you plan to?