How to Make a Real Estate Virtual Tour
Are you trying to social distance and sell your property at the same time?
The coronavirus pandemic hit us hard, and one of the many precautions implemented to decrease the spread of the disease is the practice of social distancing.
Now the biggest question to real estate agents is: “how can I show off my property to buyers while keeping COVID-19 guidelines?”
The answer is a real estate virtual tour! Many real estate professionals have turned to various virtual tour software to build 3D walkthroughs of their listings. The buyers can get a better sense of the property than pictures, but still without physically being there.
Keeping Agents Safe
While the coronavirus is certainly on everyone’s mind right now, getting sick is not the only danger real estate agents face. Agents have been robbed, attacked, abducted, and sometimes even murdered while on the job.
Real estate agents, especially female agents, are at high risk of becoming victims due to the job’s very nature. Every day, they go alone to meet strangers in empty houses or buildings.
Virtual showings can ensure social distancing and eliminate the danger of being alone with a potential criminal for the real estate agents.
Instead of having to bring pepper spray or a taser to work with you, you can take someone you trust to the property with you, shoot some 360-degree pictures of the house, create a virtual tour and show off the listing from the safety of your home.
What is a virtual tour?
A virtual tour is a 3D rendering of an area created from several different images put together into one smooth, interactive virtual reality of that place. They allow people to see and experience something without having to actually be there.
They were in place before COVID-19 but have really taken off since then as social distancing has cut back physical traveling. The whole point of a virtual tour is to visit a place but still be in the safety of your own home.
Virtual tours can be made professionally, or you can download your virtual tour software and piece together your own.
What are virtual tours for real estate?
Virtual tours for real estate are 3D tours of a property that the seller or real estate agent creates and puts up on a website where a prospective buyer can view it.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to create one, just use a decent camera and get steady shots. You can take those pictures and piece them together on a website like Matterport.
A real estate agent can put all their current listings on one website to make it easier for buyers to see all their options or create single property websites/landing pages.
Along with virtual tours, similar technology is used to create a digital twin of properties. A digital twin is a 3D, virtual rendering of a physical object. Many real estate agents find digital twins helpful, especially to help potential buyers in the buying process.
Why should I use a virtual tour for my real estate listing?
That’s a good question to ask, and the answer is simple: it’s easier for everyone involved.
Overall, as the realtor or seller, it will save you time. Even if preparing the property to shoot pictures may be a hassle, and then taking pictures might take you a while, you will save time by not preparing the property multiple times for in-person showings.
It will save time for your potential buyer as well. They don’t have to go out and tour homes physically. Instead, they can search online for a house they like and tour it virtually, taking way less time and effort.
Because it is so easy, you will most likely get more potential buyers and offers on the property. Someone looking for a home might pass by your for sale sign at the end of the day because they are tired and don’t have the energy to contact another person and schedule a walkthrough.
Potential buyers often pass over opportunities to check out a house that could have been perfect for them because it was not convenient for them when they saw the property.
Having a VR tour online can expand the viewers you have of your home. It is easier for them to see your property and consequently make an offer on it.
How a Virtual Real Estate Tour Can Help You Sell Homes
As addressed above, virtual tours save time and energy for both you and the buyer. It also expands your list of potential buyers and ensures that those you end up interacting with are serious about your property.
Having a 3D walkthrough and a 3D model of your floor plan improves the appeal, rather than just photography of the property. You just need a good camera to get steady pictures of your property. You can piece the panoramas together into an interactive floor plan for your virtual tour option.
Having a virtual tour open house is a great way to get lots of people to look at your listings, which would have otherwise not come.
Should you make your own real estate virtual tours?
If you trust your photography skill enough to take decent pictures of the property and use a website like Matterport to piece them together and build an engaging tour, then go for it.
The Matterport website has clear instructions and how-to for using their equipment to build your 3D tour.
If you don’t trust yourself, or if you don’t have the time or equipment to shoot the photos, you can hire people to come and create your tour for you. However, if you feel confident doing it yourself, we have some great tips for creating a virtual tour and adding it to your website.
How do you prepare your listing for a virtual tour?
Prepare your listing for a virtual tour the same way you would prepare for any normal showing or open house.
Make sure any updates you need to make on the property have been made. Any floors that need redoing, any walls that need new paint, any utilities that need to be replaced or fixed should be taken care of.
The house, in general, should be cleaned and staged. Sweep, vacuum, mop, dust, clear away clutter, make beds, etc.
Turn on all the lights and open any doors and windows to get the best lighting.
Map out your route through the house and where you want to place the camera for each picture, which ideally should be in the center of the room. This will help you move through the house smoothly and quickly while shooting your photos.
Another side of virtual home tours coming up in the real estate industry is virtual staging. Instead of taking the time and energy to physically stage your house for real estate photography, you can shoot a 360 tour in your house as-is.
With virtual staging, you can digitally alter your property’s image to be more of a blank palette. You can decrease clutter and show off your home’s architecture better without physically moving around furniture, paint walls, and refloor the rooms.
Having a more blank, neutral setting or your home helps potential buyers or renters to envision themselves moving in and making the place their own. Or you can virtually add furniture and decor to make the house seem more inviting than a blank space.
You can then work that new model into your 360 virtual tour open house that you put up for buyers and renters to see on your real estate website.
What makes an engaging virtual tour for real estate?
The best way to make a virtual tour engaging is to make sure all your photos are clear and level, so they blend together seamlessly. This will make the tour more high-quality and easier to look at.
An interactive tour allows the buyer to control what they are looking at and move around through the 3D house rather than just clicking through photographs or watching a video will also keep buyers engaged.
Make sure that the property is clean and organized. Buyers want to see a well-kept home, not a dirty house that needs repairs. Present your home well and in good lighting so buyers can see the structure well.
How long does it take to make a real estate virtual tour?
Block out a whole day for the shooting. You will need a couple of hours to finalize the cleaning and staging of each room. Depending on how large the property is, shooting could take anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple of hours. After that, you will need time to piece together your virtual tour and upload it to your website.
Create and Add a Virtual Tour for Real Estate Property
Creating a virtual tour is pretty easy. You don’t need photography and video experience, as long as you have a good camera (you can even use your mobile device). You just shoot a panorama of each section of the property. Then you go to a website to piece the images together. Lots of people use WP3D Models in conjunction with Matterport 3D virtual tour technology.
With the WP3D plugin, you can easily post your interactive virtual tour on your real estate website, social media, or even youtube. Another option is to create single property websites.
Some realtors have begun using Instagram and Instagram TV to build a bigger social presence. While both of these platforms are free, they do not support 360-degree photo software. A better option would be to include a teaser photo or video of the property with a link to view the virtual tour.
Another popular tool among real estate agents is to get aerial photography, or drone footage of the property, especially for luxury listings. This can help create a full 3D model of the house and provide certain angles of the home that you can’t get on the ground.
How much do Matterport tours cost?
When using WP3D Models, Matterport tours cost $299 for your first year using the software. You can go to their website here.
Matterport has different monthly fees depending on how many models you have with them. You can also find them listed here.
- 1 active model- $0
- 5 active models- $9.99
- 25 active models- $69
- 50 active models- $129
- 100 active models- $309
- 250 active models- $689
Will virtual tours be enough to entice buyers who haven’t physically seen the property?
Definitely. The point of a good real estate virtual tour is that the buyer feels as if they have seen the property. Even if they aren’t convinced to buy the property from the virtual tour, the idea is they will get an idea of whether or not they are interested in it.
With virtual reality and a 3D walkthrough of your property, you can save time on people scheduling a tour just to see it. Instead, curious potential buyers can check out your listings online quickly and easily, and serious buyers can contact you after viewing listings online.
Buyers who decide they might want to make an offer can then schedule an in-person tour of the property. That way, you are spending your time on people who might actually be interested in the house, not just curious.
How does virtual software transform your real estate business for good?
Virtual tour software will expand your client list and allow you to reach more potential buyers with each listing. Having virtual tours of your properties will overall save your money and time while simultaneously raising your chances of finding a buyer for your listings.