What Is a Self-Guided Home Tour?
There is more than just one way for prospective residents to explore rentals and new homes in our digital era. In the past, in-person tours with a real estate agent were the primary method to visit a rental or real estate listing. However, as prospective renters and buyers needed more options to check out a property, self-guided tours came into the equation.
Virtual tours make it easier to tour rental properties and vacant listings, expediting the home sale and leasing processes. What are self-tours in more detail, how do they work, and how can landlords determine whether this option is ideal for their real estate marketing strategy?
What’s a self-tour for a house?
A self-guided home tour is when potential buyers or renters explore a home or property on their own, without a real estate agent or leasing office representative. This is made possible using technology such as a mobile app, keypad, or digital lockbox to access the property.
During a self-guided tour, you can move through the home at your own pace during your schedule time slot. This gives you the privacy to take notes about its features and get a feel for the space without anyone else’s input. As more prospective residents want flexibility and landlords wrestle with busy schedules, self-tour walk-throughs solve a multifaceted issue in one fell swoop.
How do self-tours work?
Self-tours are easy to get when it’s available. Typically, you can access a self-tour scheduling link online when looking at a home listing on a rental or homebuying website. Here are the basic steps, which may differ depending on what self-tour option available to you:
- Go to a home or rental listing website and search for a “self-tour” link or button associated with the listing.
- Open the tour scheduling option and select a property and time slot that works for you. There are various apps and programs that make this happen, like UTour.
- After you schedule the tour, you’ll receive a unique access code or digital key, that grants you entry to the property at the agreed-upon time.
- Go to the property at your appointed time and enter the code given into the keypad, which is usually at the front door, and start exploring!
- While touring the home, please be respectful and leave the place exactly how you found it. Take off muddy shoes to not leave tracks in the home.
- After you are finished, turn off any lights, shut off faucets, and make sure all doors are locked and secure. You can also follow up with the landlord, leasing agent, or your own agent to tell them your thoughts.
Some self-guided tours incorporate technology, such as mobile apps or virtual guides, offering additional information about the property and its surroundings. After the tour, you can communicate with the selling agent or property manager to express interest or get more information.
“How is this safe?”
Good question. Many people ask us how we make sure that self-tours don’t open pandora’s box to a variety of issues. The answer is that we take multiple precautions to make sure the property is protected.
- We verify each visitor using photo identification coupled with a set of pre-qualifying questions that must be answered correctly to enter the property.
- Each property has a limited amount of available self-tours allowed per day. Landlords can modify what hours visitors are permitted too, i.e. business hours.
- To access the property, visitors enter through a secure remote method, which usually involves an electronic lockbox on the property. The type of entry method will differ based on the property, but it will have the same concept of exclusive entry for the visitor and nobody else.
Using identify-verifying technology and making access limited for each visitor, property management companies and landlords enhance security while providing flexibility for visitors to move through the property at their own pace.
Advantages of Self-Guided Home Tours
Self-guided home tours offer several advantages for prospective tenants and homeowners who need a simple tour solution that is more convenient and accessible than a traditional tour. Here are some of the main advantages of a self-
A typical complaint about traditional tours is that the agent would not be at the property at the appointed time. This is understandably annoying to the potential renter on a tight schedule. On the other hand, self-guided tours allow future renters to visit a property at a time that suits their schedule. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for those with busy lifestyles who may find it challenging to coordinate in-person with real estate agents or property managers.
In addition, self-guided tours often use tech like mobile apps or digital lockboxes to provide fast access to the property. This tour technology enhances the overall experience and allows for a seamless and secure tour.
In a self-guided property tour, you can explore the place at your own pace and discuss your impressions privately without the presence of a leasing agent. This can lead to more candid discussions and honest feedback about the property, ultimately helping you make the best choice in a stress-free way.
A private tour experience enables prospective residents to have the freedom to explore specific areas of the property that interest them the most. They can spend more time in rooms or spaces that matter to them without feeling rushed. So, if the kitchen is the most important part of the home to you, that’s where you can spend most of your time!
3. Health Concerns
If you are a person who is immunocompromised, meeting people in public can put you at risk of getting sick. Just as self-tours were popular during the pandemic for stopping the spread of germs, this option can still be used today for anyone who wants to reduce their exposure to viruses in public.
4. Less Pressure
Without a real estate agent present, individuals may feel less pressured during the tour. This can create a more relaxed environment, allowing them to thoroughly assess the property without external influences.
5. Multiple Visits Are Possible
It can be uncomfortable to ask for a self-guided apartment tour from the leasing manager multiple times. However, self-guided tours make it easier for you to revisit the same place multiple times, helping you make a non-rushed, informed decision. This is especially valuable when comparing different homes in the house-hunting process.
6. Potential to Reduce Vacancy
When property owners can make it as easy as possible for potential buyers or renters to visit their listing without waiting for a guide, everyone wins. Easier tours can mean more tours, and that can mean a faster turn rate for an investor’s property.
Are real estate self-tours right for your marketing strategy?
As you can see, self-guided tours work in the favor of both property owner and prospective tenant or buyer. This is a great option to help anyone who is short on time or needs more flexibility in their home search. To find out if it’s right for you, speak with your real estate agent to discuss the pros and cons of this showing method!
Alicia Persson is a Content Strategist SEO writer at Marketplace Homes, utilizing previous years of experience on real estate teams that specialized in investments and property management. Before she joined Marketplace Homes, she was also a freelance writer for 7 years, leading to a specialization in real estate and home living content for boutique digital marketing agencies. During her writing years, she learned the basics of SEO and gained experience writing for many different clients, making her versatile at creating diverse content.
She is a proud University of Virginia master’s graduate and enjoyed her undergraduate years at the University of Mary Washington. When Alicia is not writing, she plays keytar and sings in a local 90’s rock cover band, or she spends time with her amazing family.