Some months back I posted a blog about questions to ask your virtual tour provider. We only had room for 10 or so, but there are so many good questions that will direct you to the right provider. We have a lot of people that call us just looking for 360 degree property tours. Sometimes it becomes apparent that even after we explain that these are no longer the most effective way to emotionally draw viewers into the property that an agent still has 360 in their mind. We need to realize that not every tour fits best for everyone. Some like panoramas, some like montage, some video and some 360 degrees. So we are just going to give a quick list of questions here that you can ask when shopping for a tour provider.
1. Can you email your pictures having them create and host the tour for you? If so, what is the turn-around time to receive your finished hosted tour link back? If not, is there software to buy/learn? Is there a help desk to assist with this?
2. Is there a reasonable price per tour instead of a recurring credit card charge? This way you are only paying for tours you actually need instead of a monthly fee during slow times when you may not need tours.
3. Ask your virtual tour provider if they have a product that includes optimizing your pictures to make them brighter and clearer for the tour?
This is especially important since poor MLS pictures make uninteresting tours. A little tweaking is always essential for real estate pictures.
4. Does your virtual tour provider offer a home listings portfolio to embed on your website streaming all your listings?
Let buyers see all of your listings… they might just love one of your tours.
5. Does your provider always send out two versions – one MLS compliant and one with all your contact info? This is a must. Many MSL listings currently do not allow any name branding, but you will want the contact info, website links and agent pictures and email address for all your other media like Facebook, Twitter, Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Google and blogs.
6. Are there any up-front costs that may be incurred to start listing virtual tours?
7. Does the virtual tour come with one-on-one consulting to best market and place the virtual tour online?
Having a great virtual tour and not knowing where online to list it is like buying a Corvette and never taking it out of your garage.
8. Does your tour company include room descriptions in their tours? Do you have to provide that or can they grab that information from your MLS freeing your time up for other sales related activities?
9. What style of virtual tour does your company provide and does motion of the pictures react differently depending on the size or style? Panoramas, 360 degree, video or montage?
10. Does the home tour company have the ability to edit previously released tours? Do changes populate to all outstanding versions of the virtual tours? Here is a big one… are updates with price info, updated pictures or other information included at no additional cost?
11. What music will be used, is it appropriate and legal to use? Is it interesting and are there several styles to go with different property styles?
12. Are maps included to the property? Many platforms use Google maps.
13. Are links included to email the tour to a friend from within the tour?
14. Will the show play on an iPhone/iPad? Flash based shows typically don’t.
15. Can the tour be texted and played on mobile phone platforms?
16. What sites does your tour provider syndicate your show to?
17. Can people view all your tours on the hosted site as a playlist?
18. Are there discounts for an agency sponsoring tours for all their agents?
We will keep this list updated as new marketing sources come on the horizon for real estate virtual tours.