Renting a home or apartment is a unique “shopping” experience. It’s a big decision and one that many people don’t feel comfortable making without first visiting the property in person. We’ve found that many people will delay making their housing decision because they currently live out of town. They wait to make their decision until they visit Bloomington; which might be weeks or months into the future. I certainly don’t blame people for being nervous about signing a 12 month lease site-unseen. Unfortunately though, by waiting, prospective residents are often missing out on homes and communities that would be a great fit for them.
Our team at Renaissance Rentals has always striven to help prospective residents feel comfortable about renting site unseen. We were the first company in Bloomington to record videos and take 360 degree photos of our apartments and post them on our website. We do our best to provide accurate floor plan details and high quality, wide-angle images that represent the current state of the apartment and community. We offer free online applications and the ability to do the entire leasing process online. We even encourage prospective residents to read our online reviews.
All of those steps have made the off-site leasing process easier and more convenient for our prospective residents, but all those efforts still can’t take the place of actually being on-site walking around in an apartment.
That was until we partnered with the Gruveo, a new live video chatting service. At the beginning of this year we started offering live video tours to people that were out of town or maybe couldn’t make it in to see an apartment during office hours. We feel Gruveo is an ideal video chatting service for 3 reasons.
- It is anonymous. Unlike other live video apps, no accounts or usernames are required. This is perfect for prospective residents who may not feel comfortable sharing their personal information through a service like Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts.
- It is universal. You don’t have to have a specific mobile platform – it works on iOS & Android, plus it works on personal computers as well.
- It’s easy to use. We set up a time for a live video tour then we simply share a link with a prospective resident, usually via email. When it’s time for the live video tour, all a prospective resident has to do is click the link to be connected to us.
Once the tour is in progress, we will greet our customer using the front-facing camera of our mobile device. Then we will turn to the rear camera to show off the inside and outside of the home. It’s really important that we give our prospective residents to get a good view of the apartment and that they are able to tell us what they want to see. It’s the next best thing to being there live.
We’ve received great feedback from prospective residents about the live video tours and we are now doing 5-10 of these every week. At first we thought the interaction might be awkward or unreliable, but we’ve found the video/audio quality to be great and the interactions with prospective residents are very natural and even fun.
Let us know your thoughts about this service offering in the comments below. We look forward to helping you find a great next home!
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