Using a Virtual Tour to Generate Real Estate Business
Many real estate agents have discovered a secret weapon. Have you? It’s the virtual tour. These tours are made from a series of still images taken from a single vantage point and they simulate an actual tour.
They’re used in real estate to show potential buyers what a particular floor plan will look like. You can show photographs of a built-out property along with a floor plan, and make it interactive for a virtual tour of like properties. It’s a great way to allow potential homebuyers to see a property before it’s been built.
There are several types of tours you can choose from. The floorplan tour is a relatively simple option, but there are very sophisticated full-service virtual tours that can be created by professional photographers using digital cameras, specialized software, and other high end equipment.
Software packages called stitching software are available to “stitch” the photos and floor plans together into a seamless panoramic virtual tour. Some examples are Matterport and Archilogic. This software offers the capability to upload a regular 2D floor plan and convert it into an amazing 3D model that can be used for the virtual tour. The end product feels like a “wrap around” tour of the home.
Most of these tools have still image, full motion video, and panoramic options. You can use still images or video clips to create these tours, and you can add music, narration, and text. Plus, you can incorporate Google Earth images or images of the surrounding houses and area to give the viewer a real sense of the neighborhood, which you can then use to support your neighborhood guides.
Interactive 2D or 3D floor plans are amazing tools that allow buyers to visualize a home’s layout. You can even add “hot spots” so you can showcase specific features on the plan.
If you want a more sophisticated project, you can hire a firm to do a professional virtual tour for you. Here are some things to consider when hiring one. Think about hiring a local company, so there is an actual person who is familiar with the area and can easily visit the property to take necessary photos. How long has the company been in operation and are they current on the latest technology? Talk to them and see how well they understand real estate. Work the particulars of how they will create the tour and what your final product will be. Do you get the whole tour and access to their software, or just a link to the tour? Will they help you market your tour on their website and social media?
How to Use A Virtual Tour
Because a home purchase is usually the biggest purchase anyone will make during his or her lifetime, most buyers these days expect video of some form as part of the MLS listing, so you should consider virtual tours to market your properties. Not all realtors are going to have virtual tours, so it is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition.
If you’re on a budget, you can take the video or photos yourself, then use a software to create the tour. Don’t be afraid to add a voice narration; this is a great way to showcase the property and your expertise at the same time. Think about virtual tours as a “try before you buy” technique – there is no trial period with buying a home – but a virtual tour can give someone an idea of what a home will be like before they even step foot in it.
Don’t forget about adding a voice-over – maybe you have particular insights about the area, floor plan, builder, or subdivision. If you do, add those to your narration. This is a great way to build a reputation as a knowledgeable resource.
Once you’ve developed the virtual tour, you can use it in a variety of ways:
- Embed the tour into your next email campaign. Video files of this nature can easily be embedded into email, and it can boost your click-through rates by as much as 300 percent, according to Forbes Magazine.
- Share the tour via social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Buyers, particularly millennials, leverage social media for research, recommendations, and other shopping behaviors- real estate included.