Has the Future of Apartment Touring Arrived?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Move over, virtual tours: a new platform professes to enable prospective renters to tour properties at their leisure.

Tour24 debuted in December at apartment buildings in Houston, as well as at South Cathedral Mansions in Woodley Park. UrbanTurf decided to take the app out for a spin to see if the conveniences of a self-tour were worth the inconveniences of such new technology.

Before touring, potential renters must fill out a guest card and input their credit card information. These steps are part of a three-step verification process Tour24 touts as a security measure; the third step, facial recognition, can be required at the discretion of each property. 

After scheduling the tour, one downloads the Tour24 app and the app for the apartment building that they would like to tour. (Tour24 says that there will be just one app in the future.) 

When you get to the building, you sign into both apps, use a predetermined code to enter at the callbox, and turn the Bluetooth on your smartphone so the apps can access your location data. Once inside the building, the experience is relatively simple, albeit surreal. 

The property's app gives directions and suggestions, guiding the prospect through the building to the amenities while describing each amenity similar to how a leasing agent would. The next step in the tour, however, made this writer glad her tour was still during business hours. 

After arriving at the apartment you will tour, you switch back over to the Tour24 app to unlock the door. The apartment doors have electronic locks, so the Bluetooth enables the app to detect your proximity to the lock and use your phone as a fob.

On the first try, the app did not register my being in front of the door, requiring me to sign out and sign in again. The second time around, the app registered the presence of the lock and activated the fob, but the handle didn't turn, demonstrating the potential pitfalls of self-touring — technology cannot account for human error, and the door had been manually locked by a staff member earlier in the day.

While a visit back downstairs to the concierge desk and the help of an on-site manager still afforded the opportunity to see the apartment and complete the tour, the possibility remains that some prospects touring after business hours could slip through the cracks. Also, although the apps gather data on location and duration of time spent on the premises, it is unclear how prospects who overstay their welcome will be dealt with.

Overall, the platform creates more opportunity for prospects to view a property (or at least properties outfitted with electronic locks throughout); just be prepared for the possibility of returning for a second look during the daytime. Tour24 is in talks with other properties in DC to deploy the platform elsewhere.

See other articles related to: real estate technology, apartment touring

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/has-the-future-of-apartment-touring-arrived/15063

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »