Digital House Hunting: The REALTOR®’s Guide to Virtual Tours

Digital House Hunting: The Realtor’s Guide to Virtual Tours

Virtual home tours are changing real estate. Thanks to advancements in technology, clients can now walk through a property without ever stepping foot inside.

They can explore every nook and cranny, get a feel for the space, and even visualize their own furniture in it—all from the comfort of their own homes. In fact, 87% of realtors confirm that virtual tours helped their buyers visualize a property as their home. 

But virtual tours aren’t only beneficial for buyers. For realtors, a well-curated virtual tour can influence a buyer to decide quickly and set you apart from the competition. 

Let’s find out more!

What Is Virtual Tours and Why Are They Valuable

Virtual tours are digital walkthroughs of properties. They allow people to explore homes, buildings, or spaces online, just like they would in person, but without physically being there. These tours can be simple photo slideshows or more interactive experiences with 360-degree views, videos, and clickable information points.

Why are they valuable? Well, it’s because you can: 

  • Reach more people. Virtual tours can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. This means a property can be shown to potential buyers from different cities, states, or even countries without them having to travel.
  • Save time and money. Instead of arranging multiple in-person viewings, realtors and sellers can share a link to a virtual tour. This reduces the need for multiple visits, saving both time and travel expenses.
  • Ensure constant availability. Virtual tours can be accessed 24/7. Whether it’s late at night or early in the morning, potential buyers can view a property whenever it’s convenient for them.
  • Stand out in the market. Offering virtual tours shows that you are using the latest technology and are committed to providing buyers with the best experience.

How to Create a Compelling Virtual Experience 

A good virtual experience should make your viewers feel like they’re truly inside the property. But as always, the devil is in the details, and this time you must focus on:

High-Quality Images

Good visuals are the backbone of a virtual tour. Using a professional camera or hiring an expert photographer can make your property stand out. Ensure each room is well-lit, either by natural light or with added lights, and capture different angles to give viewers a full view. 

Interactive Features

A virtual tour should be engaging. Add 360-degree views so viewers can look around freely. Use clickable points to give more details about certain features, like a special countertop or appliance. 

You can also add short video clips to show things like the flow from one room to another or special features in action, like a fireplace being used.

Narration or Background Music

Sound can enhance a viewer’s experience. A voiceover can guide them, pointing out unique features. Meanwhile, background music can set the mood, but it should match the property’s feel and not be too distracting.

Add a short introduction video or message from the realtor or homeowner. This adds a personal touch and can make viewers feel more connected.

Easy Navigation

Viewers should find the tour easy to use. Make sure they can move from room to room without confusion, perhaps using clear markers or a simple floor plan.

Remember that many people will access the virtual tour from their phones or tablets. Ensure the experience is smooth and responsive on all devices.

Cutting-Edge Tools for Virtual Tours

Choosing the right software for virtual tours can make all the difference. Look for tools that are user-friendly, support high-quality images, and offer interactive features. This includes: 

Virtual Reality VR and Augmented Reality (AR) Tools

VR and AR are powerful technologies that can make viewers feel as if they’re truly inside the property or getting additional layers of information overlaid on their real-world view.

A good example of a VR tool is Google Cardboard. It’s an affordable and easy-to-use VR solution that works with most smartphones. This tool allows you to send branded Cardboard viewers to potential clients, allowing them to experience VR tours with just their phone and the cardboard viewer.

Analytics and Feedback Tools

It’s essential to know how viewers interact with your virtual tours. Analytics tools can provide insights into which parts of the tour are most viewed, how long viewers stay, and more. 

This data can help you refine your tours for better engagement. Platforms like Google Analytics or specialized virtual tour analytics tools can be invaluable.

Hosting and Sharing Platforms

Once your virtual tour is ready, you’ll need a platform to host and share it. Websites dedicated to real estate listings, like Realtor.com or Zillow, are great places to start. Additionally, consider sharing your tours on social media platforms or your own website to reach a broader audience.

But remember, just like you wouldn’t show a buyer a house in an unsafe neighborhood, you also shouldn’t guide them to an unsafe website. You have to utilize up-to-date libraries, have an SSL certificate, and store all data in a secure server, lest you want to fall victim to a cyber attack

Not only will your financial and customer data be jeopardized, but you’ll also suffer reputational damage and be liable for any damage suffered by your buyers and clients. So before you start thinking about staging, think about hosting, security, and picking the right, safe platform.

Proven Steps Realtors Can Take Now for Success

While the benefits of virtual real estate tours are undeniable, the whole process of implementation can be daunting. Here’s what you can do to avoid getting tripped up:

Promote on Multiple Platforms

Virtual tours shouldn’t be confined to just one place. Share them widely. This means posting them on your official website, sharing snippets on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and even embedding them in email newsletters. 

Platforms like Realtor.com or Zillow can also host your tours. The broader the reach, the higher the chances of catching a potential buyer’s eye.

Use High-Quality Imagery

First impressions matter. If a potential buyer clicks on your virtual tour and sees pixelated or blurry images, they might not stick around. 

Ensure that every photo and video clip in your tour is crisp, clear, and well-lit. If photography isn’t your strength, consider hiring a professional or investing in a good camera. Remember, the goal is to make the property look as appealing as possible, so proper staging is essential.

Engage with Interactive Features

A virtual tour should be an experience, not just a slideshow. Incorporate elements that allow viewers to interact with the content. This could be clickable points that reveal more information about specific features of the property, quizzes that test their attention to detail, or even a live chat feature where they can ask questions in real time. 

These interactive elements can keep viewers engaged and provide them with a richer understanding of the property.

Gather Feedback and Iterate

Every viewer is a potential goldmine of information. After they’ve taken the tour, encourage them to leave feedback. Was there a part of the house they wished they could see more clearly? Was the tour easy to navigate?

By collecting and acting on this feedback, you can make your future tours even better and more tailored to what potential buyers want.

Conclusion

In the real estate market today, virtual tours could be the difference maker. However, you have to implement them wisely and use the right tools to measure the success of your interactive content. 
But remember, the goal should always be to combine the best of technology with genuine service, helping every client find their perfect home. One of the easiest ways to offer premium service is to partner with an Embrace Home Officer and offer your buyers and clients financing possibilities before they even step on the front porch.

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