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Property Tours: Software Creates Ideal Execution of Live-Stream Community Tours

Live-Stream Community Tours
March 2017

With 145 different floor plans at its 221-unit apartment community, Greystar’s Roosevelt Lofts in Los Angeles was challenged when it came to providing an authentic visual representation of some of its available apartment homes.

About seven months ago, Director of Community Operations Jack Wallach began recording tours of the various floor plans at the building, a converted condominium property, when they became available, and used them to lease apartments to prospective residents who either lived out of town or who had difficulty visiting the property in-person.

As part of the plan, the community offered to anyone who saw the video that if they signed a lease, moved in and did not like the apartment, Greystar would cancel the lease.

He’s had no one take him up on his offer.

Wallach’s team shoots the video with an iPad using Realync software.

“The video is capable of ably capturing the 12-foot ceilings and it provides shots of the view residents would have from the windows in the apartment,” Wallach says. “Our videos are based on the premise of ‘Imagine this…

“When a prospective resident sees the video it looks like a real walk-through—its authenticity is that strong. We find it to be more effective than 3-D floor plan technology and certainly much better than anything you could show through a video posted on Craigslist, for example.”

To date, Roosevelt Lofts has recorded 25 unique floor plans, with more to come. Wallach’s community is not yet using the software’s live-streaming function, but is considering it.

The video software is easy to use “because you can sew together different scenes to create a more efficiently edited video. The narrator we used is chosen based on our leasing agents who have the most soothing voices,” Wallach says.

The service enables the person taking the tour to interact with the host via live video and take photos, enter notes, view maps and type questions onto the video screen during the tour.

In September, Alliance Residential used the software to live stream apartment home tours as part of a pilot programs at two of its communities, Penny Stone, Software Implementation Analyst, Alliance Residential, says.

“The service is similar to FaceTime, but because FaceTime is only available on Apple devices, it was not the best option for us,” Stone says. “There are advantages to this platform, such as it being user-friendly. For example, prospective residents do not have to register or create credentials to see it. The link opens up directly on their device.”

The service enables the person giving the tour and the person taking the tour to enter notes and type in questions onto the video screen during the tour, Stone says.

According to Stone, Alliance Residential tracks the notes taken during tours to identify which aspects at the community are most impactful, so it can focus on highlighting or improving them, going forward.

She says, “It’s too early in the pilot program for Alliance to identify usage trends such as what type of device is used most often (phone, desktop or tablet). It is too early for it to measure lease conversion successes.”

Stone says it’s too early to quantify the value of the video tour tool, so Alliance Residential has not yet determined its value or what it is willing to pay for the service per month or per use. Stone suggests that the service could cost each of her communities $500 per month.

Like at Roosevelt Lofts, Alliance Residential is also able to record tours that can be saved and sent via email link to prospective residents.

Stone says Alliance Residential will also pilot with other video software technologies comparable to Realync, such as Facebook Live.

“We are working toward determining how to best use it in the sales process,” Stone says. “For example, if we offer a prospect the chance to tour our community and we sense any hesitation in their reply, then we can offer the video link as ‘Plan B.’ It works best for prospects who do not live in our area, or whose work schedules make it difficult for them to see the community in person.”

Paul R. Bergeron III, Director of Publications for NAA