It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed our lives in all kinds of ways, even down to what we want out of a home. In a world of nonstop Zoom calls, open floor plans are less appealing, while spacious backyards and extra nooks that can be converted into at-home gyms or homework stations are more important than ever. But if you’re thinking of selling your home or leasing your apartment—regardless of whether your space has all of the of-the-moment buzzy features—there’s one detail you can’t afford to leave off your listing: a virtual tour.
We asked real estate site StreetEasy to analyze its postings to see which listings are getting the most traction right now—and the resounding answer: ones that included a video tour, 3D tour or both. In fact, listings that featured both received 56 percent more pageviews than ones that had neither. And renters who watched a video or 3D tour were 122 percent more likely to contact an agent about that listing. That’s way more compelling than trying to frame your closet-sized bedroom as “cozy.”
Now, you might be thinking that your video skills suck, or that taking someone on a virtual tour of your house won’t do it justice, but there are a few ways you can present the very best version of your home online:
1. Ditch your curtains and pull up the blinds
You want the space as bright and airy as humanly possible—and heavy, dated drapes can also deter potential homebuyers. While you’re at it, the pros at Zillow recommend turning on every single light (even going so far as to replace any dim bulbs, if needed) to really let the space shine.
2. Do a decluttering sweep
People want to see themselves in the listings they go through—not you—which is why it’s worth clearing out some of your family photos and personal items for the virtual tour. “When you’re selling a home, you’re really selling a lifestyle,” says designer and home stager Leia T. Ward of LTW Design. “‘If I buy this house, I’ll live like this’ is the mentality.”
3. Give your floor plan a screen test
The way your furniture is arranged in real life and on camera are two very different things. Before pressing record, Zillow recommends taking a few photos of each room to see how things look. You may want to remove a clunky side table or another piece of furniture to open up the space a bit more—both so it’s easier for you to walk and film, and so each room looks as spacious as possible.
A video walkthrough is crucial as we continue to practice social distancing, but the experts at StreetEasy believe it’s a trend that’s here to stay. From May through August, interest in virtual tours rose 33 percent, indicating that even as open houses resume in many parts of the country, people still want to see a space from as many angles as possible before checking it out IRL. Even if your filmmaking skills are more Blair-Witch than Wes Anderson, it’s worth a shot. (Just try to hold the camera steady—and avoid those up-the-runny-nose selfie-cam shots.)