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How to Create a 3D Apartment Tour: Do’s and Don’ts

By: Justin Chaplin
April 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has unceremoniously tossed “business as usual” out the window. With the nationwide call for social distancing, many aspects of residential real estate operations are in limbo. How are landlords and property managers supposed to win over potential tenants when apartment showings are no longer safe?

Though this will be an adjustment for your community, it’s important to take advantage of the technology and resources available. Now, more than ever, people are at home and browsing the web. Those shopping around for a new place on the rental market will be looking for alternative ways to get a feel for the space. 

In short, you need a guide to help you effectively show your properties virtually and encourage renters to choose your community — and we’ve got one! 3D tours have become increasingly popular over the years, and are more important now than ever.

Here’s everything you need to know about creating 3D apartment tours.

What is a 3D Tour?

A 3D tour is not to be confused with a video tour. Rather than filming a walkthrough of a place or hosting a FaceTime tour with a prospective renter, a 3D tour is created from multiple shots that you then “stitch” together to form a panoramic image. Prospective tenants will be able to view the explore the unit around them in 360 degrees. 

3D tours are interactive, which allows viewers to control where they want to look. They can zoom in and “move around’ the apartment, an immersive experience that mimics an in-person viewing. 3D tours are the perfect way to appeal to tenants who will be renting sight unseen due to coronavirus and social distancing practices.

How to Create a 3D Tour

To create a 3D tour of a unit, here are three essential pieces of equipment you’ll need: a 360° camera, a tripod, and 3D tour software. 

You can buy or rent the camera, though rental rates are still quite high. You might be better off purchasing it as an investment. There’s a huge world of 3D tour software out there. If you are just getting started, take a look at some of the top-reviewed software

For example, equipment to start out may look like this: 

  • Insta360 One X. There are several options for the tripod. However, this bundle is guaranteed to be compatible with the Insta360 One X camera.
  • Insta360 real estate kit, which is specifically designed for creating 360-degree real estate tours.
  • iStaging is a software package that’s compatible with Insta360 products. That makes it easy to piece together your footage and create your 3D tour. 

Note: There are plenty of companies out there that specialize in capturing and hosting 3D apartment tours. Consider looking into them if you aren’t comfortable filming on your own.

Now that you’re all geared up and ready to capture the footage, here are the steps you need to take to get started.

  1. Make a list. While this may seem unnecessary, make a list prior to filming of all the rooms in the rental that you are going to capture footage of. This way, you’ll be sure not to leave out anything. A look at the walk-in closet could be the big selling point for renters! 
  2. Position the camera. The position of your camera should be in the location that best captures the largest part of the space.
  3. Level your tripod. Make sure that your camera is balanced and leveled. Even if it is off by just a few degrees, your footage may turn out tilted and imbalanced. 
  4. Clear obstructions. Look around the camera, in every direction. If you see anything that is obstructing the lens, remove it. You want the tour to convey all the high-value attributes of the unit, so don’t accidentally obscure them!
  5. Test your camera. Take shots in each room and look at them. Are you happy with the results? If not, try adjusting the position or level of the camera. Try again until you are satisfied with the outcomes.

Adding a 3D Tour to Your Apartment List Listing

Want to upload your 3D tour to Apartment List? Email us at clientservices@apartmentlist.com, and we’ll help you get it setup. All we need is the video file or the link from the 3D tour provider.

3D Apartment Tours: Do’s and Dont’s 

Now that you’re ready to start filming, here are some tips to help you create an effective 3D tour of your unit and avoid mistakes.

Do:

  • Prep the apartment. Make sure to remove clutter or other distracting items. You want to capture the space at its best. This also includes filming during daylight hours. Everything looks better in natural lighting.
  • Film slow and steady. Take your time capturing all angles of the unit. Nowadays with social distancing and stay-at-home measures, this will likely be the renter's only chance to get a look at the unit. 
  • Focus on vantage points. You’ll need to capture each room, ideally, from the best vantage point to show the room in its entirety.
  • Highlight high-value features. Talk about unique amenities and outdoor spaces as you show them. Be as thorough as you would with an in-person showing. Make any necessary updates to the unit before filming. Consider a renter whose only impression of the unit will be this 3D tour. Make sure to showcase the balcony and updated appliances!
  • Think about compatibility. Your tour should be compatible with mobile and desktop viewing.

Don’t:

  • Film haphazardly. Avoid shaky video footage. When filming, hold the camera steady and utilize a tripod or other professional film equipment. Make sure to check the footage thoroughly after for any stitching mistakes. 
  • Film properties with people or animals in them. When a potential renter is viewing a 3D tour, they don’t want to see a pet or person running around in the background. It’s not only distracting, but any movement could ruin shots. It also makes it difficult for prospects to envision themselves in the space. 
  • Film clutter or personal items. A prospective tenant doesn’t want to see this. An empty unit will have them envision their new home. A cluttered, filled apartment with the current tenant's personal belongings will feel more intrusive than anything. 

Final Thoughts

Finding new renters amid the pandemic isn’t impossible, even with social distancing measures in place. However, you’ll have to make an effort to change your showing practices and do your part to flatten the curve. 

Luckily, the options for creating digital tours are abundant. Take advantage of the technologies that best suit your audience. Whether you’re going to task with a 360° camera or opt for a walk-through video, with our do’s and don'ts in mind you’ll be bound to succeed in taking your business to the next level online. Stay safe!

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