Real estate agents can take advantage of the video feature in the MLS by uploading a link to a video file of their property. 85-90% of home buyers begin their search on line. You will increase your showings on a listing by including a video tour of the property. This blog goes into the various tour style choices which greatly influence the real estate method you will be using to list your property online.
Where do you find the right virtual tour style for your property? It depends greatly on where you will be listing them. Here are a few styles to choose from.
1. 360 tours using a video camera or your pictures with stitching software built into the tour program. Video cameras work better when used by a professional with a tripod and supplemental lighting. Larger homes with lots of outdoor shots are the best option for the big turns associated with 360 styles. Using a video camera opens up the door to interviews and other movie-style production bringing a human touch. They are generally very expensive and time consuming to produce. In this author’s opinion, using camera shot tight 360 degree turns in a virtual tour does not enhance most indoor properties and can actually be dizzying to view. In summary, save your 360 views for more spacious property that can be professionally videotaped, staged and produced. The downside of using video is that it is not always easy to unbrand a video (remove the agent’s contact information) for MLS insertion that may require a non-branded version. They are also typically larger files and may not play smoothly for online viewers with slower connections.
2. Montage Style – utilizing motion, panning, transitions, music and special effects. The majority of home tours currently fall into this category because of the ease of use and ability to edit the pictures after the shoot. A professional real estate photographer is worth every cent they charge as the pictures will no doubt be far superior for the virtual tour and will also be available for the MLS. If an agent is taking their own pictures, most tour providers have a self-serve platform online to upload and make the tours from the agent’s computer. A full-serve option of course is even better freeing up an agent’s time for real estate marketing. One word of caution here. Spend the time to edit the pictures before you send them to the tour provider or ask them if they have the option for you to clean them during the process. Brighten, crop and remove people from mirrors. In general fewer better pictures 1-20 will be much better than 50 shots of everything viewers really don’t want to see. The goal is to get viewers to want to see more in person, so just show enough to book the showing… savvy?
If you work for a brokerage, it might be worthwhile to have your group contract a photographer that makes virtual tours. Make sure they are using a wide angle lens, tripod and have a specialty in real estate marketing as it can be tricky. This way you can have consistency and reap the benefits of volume discounts. Think about where you will market this: MLS, Realtor.com, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your website… just to name a few. See our blog which has a long lists of online marketing sources for your virtual tours.