Real Estate Marketing Tools: Creating a Virtual Home Tour for Your Listings

Creating a Virtual Home TourThere was a time when the most modern real estate marketing tools at an agent’s disposal were classified ads and bus stop advertisements. Homebuyers and renters scoured the classified ads, followed up with a telephone inquiry, and finally visited the short list of potential properties for a tour. Thankfully, those days of time-consuming real estate searches are over. Today, it’s much easier for potential buyers to assess properties through online listings, and savvy agents set up a virtual home tour for each of their offerings.

From a realtor’s perspective, there are numerous benefits to creating a virtual tour for each property being sold:

1. More high-quality inquiries.

A virtual home tour will allow serious potential buyers to get a good idea of what the property is actually like. Although there is no consistent format for a virtual tour, many of them feature a slideshow of property photographs accompanied by music. Some virtual home tour applications even allow you to add animation. For instance, that kitchen will really gleam if you add an animated sparkle or two. You can also create an animation of snow falling outside a window, or add a crackling fire to a pictured fireplace.

All of these ingredients are alluring to buyers, who are more likely to pursue a property if they can get a good feel for it through a virtual tour video. If you add tour videos to your list of real estate marketing tools, chances are you’ll get more inquiries.

2. Easy to use.

Many real estate marketing tools are tedious and boring to use, but a virtual tour is fun and easy to create. No video camera is required; just upload property pictures, fill out an online form, choose your music and animation, and voila! You’ll have a beautiful virtual home tour all ready to entice renters and buyers.

3. Convey a property’s 411 and personality.

The video format informs potential buyers on several levels. First, consumers can quickly understand if a property’s basic characteristics will jive with their needs. The location, number of bedrooms and baths, and a basic asking price are a few examples of property characteristics that appeal to those with a left-brained, rational approach to home buying. These facts are generally included in a virtual tour video.

But a virtual home tour will also impart information on a “gut feeling” level. With a tour video, the viewer can quickly get an impression of the “personality” of each property. And as everyone who relies on real estate marketing tools to make a living can tell you, intuition and the good old gut instinct play a large part in buying and renting homes.

4. Highly sharable.

Depending on the online application you choose for creating each virtual tour, most tour videos are easy to post to social media sites, blogs and listing databases. Especially advanced virtual tour applications generate HTML code for easy transference to online listings such as Craigslist.

5. Ahead of the curve.

Studies have found that videos represent the future of the internet. Indeed, Cisco estimates that by 2015, 80 percent of internet traffic will be video. By setting up virtual video tours now, you will be better situated for the future of real estate marketing.

These are only a few of the advantages of creating a virtual tour for each piece of real estate. However, like other real estate marketing tools, some tour videos are more appealing than others. To create a video that will bring you plenty of in-person tour appointments, follow these basic suggestions:

Pay attention to lighting. If you take your own property photos, remember that more light will make most rooms seem larger and more appealing. Or you could always hire a professional photographer to really make your listings pop.

Consider adding a 360-degree viewer. This tool can make buyers feel like they are actually standing inside the property.

Don’t go overboard with music or animation. Too-personal music and an eyeful of animations will only turn off potential buyers. Make each virtual home tour video as universally appealing as possible.

Don’t get lazy. Virtual home tour videos can’t take the place of a great realtor. They will get you more leads, but you’ll need to be diligent about doing the follow-up work to turn those leads into sales.

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