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Self-Guided Apartment Tours: The Key to Vacant Unit Optimization

Multifamily communities are fast becoming a popular choice for renters in the United States. The convenience, amenities, and sense of community offered by multifamily residences have made them the go-to option for many renters. 

In such a competitive market, it is essential for property managers to find innovative ways to attract potential renters and keep existing ones engaged. One such way is through self-guided resident tours.

In this article, we will delve into the world of self-guided tours and how they can optimize vacant units in multifamily communities. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of self-guided tours and what property managers need to consider when implementing them.

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What Are Self-Guided Apartment Tours?

Self-guided tours are a new trend in the multifamily industry that allows potential residents to view vacant units at their own convenience. These tours are conducted through an app or online platform that guides renters through the apartment or townhome. With self-guided tours, renters can tour the property on their own schedule, without the need for a leasing agent or manager to show them around.

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How do self-guided tours work?

Self-guided tours are a way for prospective renters or buyers to physically view a property at their convenience, without requiring the presence of a leasing or sales agent. Instead of being guided through a tour with a property staff member, interested potential residents can book an appointment or simply arrive at the property and access the unit or units they wish to view on their own. 

Self-guided tours are typically facilitated through a mobile app or web platform, which allows the visitor to access the property and any additional information they may need.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Self-Guided Tours

While self-guided tours offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that property managers need to consider before implementing them.

Benefits of Self-Guided Tours:

There are several advantages to self-guided apartment tours for both property managers and prospective residents. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Convenience: Self-guided tours offer a convenient option for busy or introverted individuals who may prefer to tour an apartment on their own time without having to schedule an appointment or coordinate with a leasing agent.
  2. Flexibility: With self-guided tours, prospective residents have the flexibility to take as much time as they need to explore the property and specific units of interest, without feeling rushed or pressured by a leasing agent.
  3. Cost-effective: Self-guided tours can be a cost-effective solution for property managers as it eliminates the need for an onsite leasing agent during tour hours, which can save time and money.
  4. Increased occupancy rates: Self-guided tours can help increase occupancy rates by making it easier for prospective residents to view available units, which can lead to a faster leasing process.
  5. Data and insights: Self-guided tours can provide valuable data and insights for property managers, such as which units are generating the most interest, and how much time prospective residents are spending in each unit. This information can be used to optimize marketing efforts and pricing strategies.

Overall, self-guided tours offer a convenient, flexible, and cost-effective option for both property managers and prospective residents, while also providing valuable insights into the rental process.

Drawbacks of Self-Guided Tours:

While self-guided apartment tours have numerous advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider, including:

  1. Limited interaction with property staff: Some renters may prefer to have more interaction with a leasing agent during the apartment search process. Self-guided tours eliminate the opportunity to ask questions in person and receive personalized recommendations from a leasing agent.
  2. Technical difficulties: Not all renters may be comfortable with using technology or may experience technical difficulties during the self-guided tour. This can make the apartment search process more frustrating and less efficient.
  3. Safety concerns: Self-guided tours require renters to visit the property on their own, which can be a safety concern for some people, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area.
  4. Limited viewings: Depending on the self-guided tour technology being used, renters may only be able to view certain areas of the property, potentially missing out on details or amenities.

It's important for property managers to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of self-guided tours and consider the preferences of their target demographic when deciding whether to implement this option for apartment tours.

Self-Guided Tours and Vacant Unit Optimization

Vacant units are one of the biggest challenges that property managers face in multifamily residences. These vacant units can represent lost revenue and additional costs for property managers. One of the most effective ways to optimize vacant units is through self-guided tours.

Self-guided tours can provide potential renters with a personalized experience that showcases the features and amenities of a property. With self-guided tours, renters can view a property at their own pace, allowing them to get a better sense of the space and envision themselves living there. This personalized experience can help potential renters feel more connected to a property and increase the likelihood of them signing a lease.

How to implement self-guided tours 

The process of implementing self-guided tours can vary depending on the technology used. In general, it involves several steps:

  1. Setting up the technology: Property managers or owners must select a self-guided tour platform or app, and work with the vendor to set up the necessary hardware and software. This typically involves installing digital locks, cameras, and other equipment in the units to be toured, as well as configuring the app or platform to provide access and information to visitors.
  2. Marketing the option: Once the self-guided tour option is available, property managers can promote it to prospective tenants or buyers through various channels, such as their website, online listings, social media, and email campaigns. This can help increase awareness and interest in the property, as well as differentiate it from other options in the market.
  3. Managing the process: Self-guided tours require some level of oversight and management to ensure a smooth experience for visitors. Property managers may need to monitor access logs and security footage to ensure the safety of the property and its occupants, as well as provide support and assistance to visitors who have questions or issues during the tour.

    Additionally, they may need to collect feedback and insights from visitors to optimize the self-guided tour experience over time. This data can be used to improve the tour experience, as well as identify potential issues that may be deterring renters from signing a lease.

Interested in self-guided tours for your property?


Overall, self-guided tours provide a convenient and flexible option for prospective residents to multifamily housing on their own time, without the need for a traditional guided tour. By leveraging technology and streamlining the process, property managers can improve the overall renting experience for residents as well as increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.

In summary… 

  • Self-guided tours are a new trend in the multifamily industry that allow potential residents to physically tour vacant units at their own convenience thanks to the use of smart home technology. 
  • Self-guided tours offer many benefits, including convenience, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, increased occupancy rates, and valuable data and insights.
  • Self-guided tours can optimize vacant units by providing potential renters with a personalized experience that showcases the features and amenities of a property.

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