Home buying all starts with a relationship. People will often find a date, earn their degree, shop for their wedding, buy their first home and find the perfect dog all on their computer screen. It’s no wonder that when I recorded my last flamenco album and made 1,000 cd’s, while stores were depleting their CD shelf inventory, I found my iTunes and Amazon downloads outselling my physical CD’s. I asked my 18 year old son to explain why he would rather download a sound file onto his iPod than have the actual album or CD. It was a no brainer for him. “It’s quick and fits in my pocket along with all the other 1,000’s of songs on my iPod. Dad, I can still see your album cover on line – mp3 players can save the graphic files as well.” While painful to hear all that, it all started to make sense. So while the experience of listening to an album has been whittled down from three senses (hearing, sight and touch) to just one…. hey, it’s all good because the volume of choices make up for it, right? As a musician I know that over compressed digital files used to fit 10,000 songs on a mp3 player lead to lack of clarity and a loss of highs and lows in general. But, in this world where you have to scream to get noticed, who’s gonna hear the bad mix anyway?
Many of us pushing upwards of 50 don’t want to admit it, but this is the mindset of a 20-35 year old. That is about the right age for people entering the home buyers marketplace for the first time. We all know they are extremely computer literate and opinionated about how they shop. Real estate virtual tours are the only way to compete on line. Five great real estate pictures are better than 25 mediocre ones. A one minute slamming visually exciting virtual tour that transports the viewer in the front door, through the kitchen and quickly into the back yard where the barbeque and pool are waiting is much better than an exhaustive 360 degree look at each room that makes the viewer dizzy and lost in the home. Unless the bathroom is a palace it won’t land you a home showing. You are competing with CSI, ER and Lord of The Rings style motion. The average 20-30 year old may give a tour 10 seconds, and then if they like it, up to another 30. Nothing less than full screen hi resolution will do. Story telling in a tour will compete much better than a realtor explaining that “we are standing in the kitchen…” Story telling – get it? Kids playing ball in the back yard or throwing a Frisbee to their dog, mom and dad sipping champagne in the Jacuzzi after a long days work, changes in landscaping, views and activities that happen as the sun sets… the things that make a home for the family. While adding video story lines can get very expensive, they can be combined with great pictures to tell a short story about the property. While you can add the use of video, professional staging, actors and script writing for more expensive properties, the idea of high quality images, full screen, motion and balanced music is appropriate for any style listing and extremely cost effective for home marketing.
In closing, how are virtual tours like an iPod? If mass technology has its way with home shows, they will be mass marketed and downloaded on a single platform like music has been. To make yours stand out, show your tours on several platforms using their individual strengths. Our next blog will continue by explaining how each type of video platform has unique strengths that can be used playing different roles in marketing a home.