If you’re a real estate agent, your job doesn’t stop. People are always looking for properties, and they want to explore their options. But buyers may not be able to meet you for an in-person tour for many reasons. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is preventing people from leaving their houses. But if they’re still in the market for housing, they can view properties from the comfort of their homes with virtual tours
What Are Virtual Tours?
Virtual tours are interactive features that allow home buyers to check out a property from a computer or mobile device. A virtual tour is more than a still photo. It brings viewers inside the home and provides perspectives from several different angles. Technology is transforming the world of real estate. Virtual tours offer a first look at properties. If they’re used correctly, they can help the seller, buyer and real estate agent save time and money. There are a few types of virtual tours. Some consist of videos that showcase the property. But these don’t allow the viewer to explore at their own pace. They simply highlight certain areas.
Some real estate websites feature 3D animations of homes. These are ideal for new homes that haven’t been built yet. They allow viewers to bring a blueprint or floor plan to life. But they’re not the best idea for homes that are already constructed and move-in ready. They may be able to give viewers an idea of what an empty home would look like with furniture, though. The most effective virtual tours offer a 3D examination of the actual space. They put the viewer in the driver’s seat, giving them a chance to control the panning and zooming.
Virtual tours should be easily accessible and quick to load. If it takes too long to navigate or is not user-friendly, a virtual tour can be a detriment.
What Are the Benefits of Virtual Tours for Real Estate Agents?
High-quality virtual tours are part of a successful marketing strategy. Featuring a virtual tour can help your clients see that you’re on the cutting edge of technology. They might be more likely to work with a real estate agent that offers digital solutions than someone who is old-fashioned. Open houses are prime opportunities for real estate agents to showcase homes. Virtual tours are like open houses that buyers can access around the clock. Digitizing this part of the process prevents real estate agents from having to do endless cleaning and staging.
Real estate agents can get feedback from viewers by including the tours on social media or blogs and asking for comments. Buyers may be more willing to leave feedback on a virtual platform than in person.Virtual tours give buyers a sense of ownership. Clients can explore the property at their leisure, without someone looking over their shoulder. They can establish a personal connection with the property as they control their tour.
Real estate agents and marketers may add other interactive features to enhance the clients’ connection with the space. Information about services and amenities and details about the neighborhood can help buyers feel at home. Interactive features also encourage clients to stick around for longer and remember the property. Although most real estate agents want to be there for their clients, there are times when meeting in person is just not possible. At the end of 2019, people didn’t expect to be ordered to stay home. After COVID-19 made its way to the U.S., however, social distancing rules were put in place.
Real estate agents can continue to serve their clients from a distance through virtual tours. A high-quality virtual tour can give buyers a well-rounded look at a property so that they can make effective decisions about their purchase.
How to Make the Most of a Virtual Tour
If your clients aren’t able to see a property in person, you should make sure that your virtual tours are optimally designed and presented. Some tips for real estate agents who are trying to continue working during COVID-19 by implementing virtual tours include:
- Make the tour self-guided – Allow viewers to interact with the tour and choose what they see and zoom in on.
- Use bright, consistent lighting – Dim lighting can make a space look small or dirty. Use plenty of natural light, and keep the lighting consistent from room to room.
- Choose a natural perspective – Take the photos from the view that people would naturally have. Walk around the space as though you were seeing it for the first time when deciding what angle to take pictures from.
- Show the flow – Take pictures that demonstrate how each room transitions to the next. Show views from one room to another. Include doorways and landmarks in your photos.
- Highlight unique features – Showcase the personality and character of the space by including details such as exposed brick, built-in shelving, and window seats.
- Optimize for mobile – Make sure that your video tour works on a variety of devices. More than half of people who stream videos do so on a mobile device.
When people are stuck in their houses, whether it’s due to a viral outbreak or a snowstorm, they’re likely to use social media more often than they did before. Promoting your virtual tours on Facebook and other social media sites will help you make the most of them. Mention your tours to everyone who is interested to boost engagement and stay strong in times of social and financial hardship.
One of the best parts about a virtual tour is that it’s versatile. You can work it into a variety of marketing materials and ad campaigns. Use virtual tours as lures to retarget potential clients who have been perusing listings in your area. Digital marketing materials help you make the most of your ad campaigns because you can analyze viewer data to optimize the virtual tours.