As more realtors begin to use the virtual tour feature within the MLS it is important to choose the best tour style for your particular real estate needs. With several styles of tours and different features available from each company, finding the right one can be a challenge.
The single most important issue is creating a good on-line marketing system. This will change from agent to agent depending on how you market properties. Agents are just beginning to realize the importance of using a professional photographer. A good real estate photographer should also be able to place a virtual tour for you. I was told recently by a major virtual tour company that, while they sell monthly tour memberships, less than 20 percent of the realtor members actually use them because of the software they have to use. Use the following list to choose your virtual tour style:
1. Choose to go pro real estate photography with all of your listings to create a reputation. It’ s less than you think and many photographers not only give you great shots for the MLS, they include a hosted virtual tour in their real estate packages.
2. Get a commitment from your tour provider to walk you through the process of listing your tour on the MLS. Request pictures that are compressed enough so that they are not a problem to load into the MLS. Some photographers will load pictures for you with your authorization.
3. Online viewing is everything with tours on the internet. Get a list of the sites that your tour company submits your tour to. More sites are not necessarily better… quality sites are better! Sites like Realtor.com, Trulia or Zillow. There are many that are mentioned in our previous virtual tour blog.
4. Want to know how many people are viewing your client’s virtual tour? Just ask. Many companies have access to that data and they should make it available to you.
5. Try to get one stellar shot that will lead your marketing efforts. The photographer may need to be willing to shoot at sunset or stage the best feature of the house and lead with that shot in all your marketing. Fifty home pictures can do more harm than good while one great shot can bring more buyers to view a house than you can handle.
6. Choose your tour style. Be careful of dizzing 360 views of a room that distort when viewed on a 2 dimensional monitor. They won’t help to sell a house. These styles work well for outdoor resort shots with lots of outdoor room so that turns are not cut unnaturally. They don’t yet work well inside properties. Montage style professional pictures with motion and music will still give the best tour of a property leading viewers through the home just as you would like them to see it.
7. If you are going to use virtual tour marketing online there are several tiers to consider. They range from the MLS virtual media fields and other real estate sites to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The more places you have to list your new tours and give people a quick tour the better your exposure for your client. Listing presentations should include a detailed list of the online sites where pictures and virtual tours of the property will appear.