Tips & Tricks for Renters

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Tours

virtual tours

In the wake of Covid-19, the real estate industry has experienced significant changes in the way we help potential tenants and buyers. This is largely a result of the shelter-in-place suggestions enacted in many states and at federal level.  

Private showings, open houses and tours have been the norm for showcasing available properties and screening possible tenants. All of this has come to an abrupt halt. The use of progressive digital 3-D virtual walk-through tours and aerial drone footage historically reserved for luxury properties have become common marketing practices.  

Real estate services have been deemed “an essential service” in some areas, so private showings and one-on-one meetings are possible, but not advised. As such, virtual tours are now the most explored and implemented options. Besides the advantages it has for property managers and the industry at large, virtual tours are helpful for the tenants as well. Here are a few pros and cons of this popular solution. 

apartment search virtual tour

Pros of Virtual Tours

Tour properties anywhere from the comfort of your home  

In the old days — just a couple of months ago — if you were in the market to look for a new rental, it could take multiple hours to tour around town. You’d be navigating traffic, finding parking, dealing with foot traffic and clingy salespeople. By the end of the day, your head might be spinning trying to remember which house is which.  

Touring homes virtually, everything is done on your terms. You can visit an apartment as many times as you like and stay for as long as you want for one tourYou don’t even need to get out of your pajamas! Virtual tours are comfortable and convenient. 

Tour many apartments in a short period of time 

Time is a valuable resource. It can take up to five hours to tour six to ten properties in person, and that’s if they’re in one neighborhood or in the same part of town. If you’re touring them virtually, it could take just minutes! And the best part is you can go back and check certain apartments as many times ayou like. If you’re a first-time renter and a family member is helping you with the rent, they can virtually walk through the apartment too, from anywhere they might live. 

Virtual tours are more reliable than pictures 

Pictures aren’t always very reliant, and that’s why a lot of people tour the properties before actually moving in. Virtual tours eliminate a lot of the uncertainty of a picture and give you a true perspective of the property.  

Cons of Virtual Tours 

Not knowing the neighborhood 

If you’re not familiar with an areaa virtual tour won’t help. You won’t be able to see the building next door and the surrounding area, so extra research will be needed. Even then, you won’t be able to talk to the neighbors and get an idea of the dynamics of the area. 

Not physically interacting with the home 

Although you can see the apartment and make accurate evaluations about its condition, its strong and weak points, it’s not the same as physically being in the apartment and interacting with its components. Also, virtual tours sometimes make it difficult to accurately determine how much natural light a home gets or how it smells when you enter the home.  

Not meeting your landlord

With a virtual tour, you might not have the opportunity to meet the landlord in person and address all the issues you’re concerned with before moving in. If you’re not renting in a state like California where real estate has been considered an essential business, a virtual conference with the landlord is your best bet for crossing that bridge.  


Virtual tours are an excellent tool for saving time, energy and money. While still very different from physically sitting in the apartment you’re considering to call home, it’s an innovative and very useful solution for convenient touring.

About the author: Glenn Shelhamer is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Los Angeles area for many years. He is also the team lead of The Shelhamer Real Estate Group. When Glenn’s not selling real estate, he can be found spending time with his beautiful wife and two terrific kids. 

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