Survey: Are Virtual Tours Worth It in 2018?
By Justin Hanson @ Real Estate Daily
August 29, 2018

A home’s online profile is becoming increasingly connected with how fast it sells. According to a recent survey from NAR, about 51% of buyers now find their home online, meaning half of a home’s traffic depends on its online presence.

Virtual tours are incredible for visually showcasing a home online. Professional-looking photographs are still a necessity, but virtual tours give buyers the extra ability to “walk through” an entire home from the comfort of their couch.

Luckily, helpful virtual tours have a much lower barrier to entry than most real estate agents realize. It doesn’t take a super tech-savvy agent to make a virtual tour, just a dedicated one.

Key Takeaways

  • Virtual tours are among the best visual aids for buyers looking online for homes
  • Virtual tours can be video, a series of photos, or interactive walkthrough that attempts to simulate being in the home
  • The key to a good virtual tour is high picture and video quality; great lighting and angles are paramount


Do I Really Need a Virtual Tour?

In its 2017 survey, “Real Estate in a Digital Age,” the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that the vast majority of potential home buyers are using the internet to find houses, with 99% of millennials – the largest group of home buyers – using websites to aid their search. NAR also found that of respondents who used the internet in their search, 89% found photos to be very useful and 50% found virtual tours to be very useful.

“Of course, you can still sell your home without a virtual tour, but more and more consumers are not even visiting listings that do not have a virtual tour available,” Brenda Di Bari, a Manhattan-based real estate broker at Halstead Realty, says.

The necessity of good online visual tools isn’t something that should be overlooked if you want to keep up with constantly-evolving technology, something cited by NAR as one of the biggest challenges facing real estate firms. With more and more buyers starting their searches on laptops, tablets and cell phones, sellers who want their listings to stand out need to provide a complete online experience of their homes for a potential buyer to even consider them.

Virtual tours can be even more vital in areas with a lot of out-of-state buyers, like popular vacation spots. Travel is expensive, and people want to have a good idea of what they’re going to be looking at before they purchase a plane ticket.

You Don’t Need to Be Super Tech-Savvy

When you think of a virtual tour, what are you picturing? A couple photos of a house’s interior? A video walkthrough? Or a complete 360-degree experience with interactive floor plans and a 3D walkthrough?

“Virtual tours can be video, photo or an interactive walkthrough that showcases the property and attempts to simulate actually being there. Generally in the industry, though, when people talk about virtual tours they’re talking about the interactive walkthrough,” Ian Dangerfield, a community support admin for Alliance Residential Company, says.

While there are a lot of companies and software out there that can help you create the most technologically-advanced virtual tour on the market, your main objective should be to create an online experience that is easy to navigate and does a good job showing off your home.

Today’s technologies make creating your own professional-grade virtual tour easier than ever. Zillow recently launched a tool that allows agents and sellers to easily create their own 360-degree virtual tour from an iPhone.

With this tool, all you have to do is capture each room of the house using the Zillow 3D Home app, which utilizes the panoramic camera on your phone. The resulting virtual tour works similar to Google Maps Street View, so users can click and drag their way through a home.

The Keys to a Good Virtual Tour

Picture or video quality is going to be your top priority. Grainy or badly lit images will turn off potential buyers and make them less likely to give a house a second look. No matter what means you’re using to create your virtual tour, if you’re shooting the images yourself, make sure you’re aware of photography and videography basics beforehand.

Make sure your staging is good. Don’t show buyers empty rooms. You want the space to look livable, so they can easily picture themselves living there. Add in some décor that gives the space a cozy, welcoming ambiance, but be sure that the area is also neat and doesn’t look cluttered. Try to keep the décor neutral if you can, as people can have a hard time overlooking a design scheme that isn’t their style.

“Before you begin making your virtual tour, take a walk through your property to decide which angles and views are most important. Make sure you have good lighting and that the property is clean and free of clutter. If you have a lot of decorations and furniture, consider moving things out of the way for the photos,” Di Bari says.

View the original article at Zing! by Quicken Loans