When most markets around the country faced a temporary ban on open houses, real estate agents pivoted. The increased popularity of virtual home tours soared as real estate activity rebounded across the nation to record levels.
With a record 97 percent of prospective buyers beginning their search online, it is more important than ever to make a great first impression with a well-executed virtual tour. It’s simply not enough to create a video slide show – still images with a music soundtrack – to entice today’s buyers. A more polished virtual tour can attract more traffic – and potentially generate more offers.
Here are three ways to make your virtual tour better than ever:
1. Make it immersive or three-dimensional
A study from realtor.com shows that listings with virtual tours get clicked on 40 percent more frequently than listings without virtual tours. Research also indicates virtual tours can generate 65 percent more email inquiries versus those with only still images. 3D tours generate even better results, according to Matterport, with homes selling 20 percent faster and closing with up to a 9 percent higher sales price. With services such as Matterport, Zillow 3D Home tours or Asteroom, agents can create a highly immersive, three-dimensional video that feels like walking through a home. All three offer built-in floor plans, with Matterport offering the most advanced 3D version.
2. Add aerial footage
Many professional real estate photographers have added a drone footage option to capture a property's view from above. Adding aerial footage sets your virtual tour apart from the others. Properties marketed using drone video footage sold up to 68 percent faster, according to MLS statistics. Aerial footage can help accentuate the most powerful selling feature for a home: location. By capturing a view of the entire property and lot, you give prospective buyers a perspective they are unlikely to see any other way. Aerial footage indicates to sellers that you are going the extra mile to provide as much visual information about the property that’s available. And aerial video footage is highly engaging: It’s harder for buyers to look away.
3. Offer customers a different kind of “live” virtual tour
When you think of a "live" video tour, you are probably thinking of using Zoom or Facebook Live to walk through a home with your buyers viewing online. While this can be a highly effective approach, it does have the additional risk of making mistakes because you are producing it live and unrehearsed. Using a hybrid model for a live tour is a way to make yours better than ever. Instead of being inside the house to present the virtual tour, give the tour from inside your home office. You can put together a slide presentation that summarizes and accentuates the unique features of the listing. Then, use your 3D virtual tour to "walk" your buyers through the home. This way, you can guide them through each room of the house and point to the previously highlighted features. This also creates less room for error – you can practice your presentation and tour path in advance. Finally, by using a video conferencing platform like Zoom, you can record the session to send a copy of their private tour to the prospective buyer afterward, allowing them to view it again.
The key to creating a virtual tour with maximum impact is leveraging the new technology available to you today. You want your tours to stand out from what your competitors are doing. It may take some extra time, or you may have to hire a local high school or college student to help you produce your virtual tours, but the results you will gain should convince you it is well worth the additional investment