RTV Blog

Quality Counts – Real Estate Photography

The (now famous) NY TIMES article Make Every Pixel Count has been referred to several times on different real-estate blogs since it appeared on 2/11/2007. It hasn’t appeared yet on the new-improved-and-official Real Tour Vision Virtual Tour Company Blog, so here goes….

My take on the article (aside from the obvious) is this – Realtors exist to better assist home buyers/sellers complete the transaction because they are “experts in their field”. Four out of five home sellers are better off employing the aid of a Realtor even though there is the commission involved – they are virtually guaranteed to sell the home faster and/or for more $. The headaches and “lack of quality” involved in trying to sell a home w/o the aid of a realtor is difficult, since they are the “experts in their field”.

The same advice applies to the photography of the property; four out of five realtors are not experts at taking photos and/or applying the post-production techniques necessary for the best results. Get an expert to assist you with this.

Another point – the pictures and 360 virtual tours that will be showcased with that property are not merely meant to assist with the sale of that property – they showcase the Realtor’s professionalism and attention to details pertaining to every other aspect of his business. Shoddy pictures indicate to me that this is a Realtor who “doesn’t have his/her act together”. What else are they missing??

Cheers,

Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography
http://www.nashvtp.com
A www.realtourvision.com Full Service provider

Weak Housing and Virtual Tours

An interesting article was posted on MSN.COM on 3/8/07 – “Weak housing market weighs on job growth”.

Based on my research into the Nashville metro-area, this is no new news. Realtors I have spoken with are feeling the crunch of the bloated housing market, which translates into larger inventories and slower sales.

The below references from the article highlight the ever growing need for Realtors to market their product as effectively as possible; one or two poor photos of a property posted to the local MLS or Realtor.com are not going to effectively get the job done. The argument for quality Real Estate Photography and effective virtual tours – panoramic, interactive floor plans, video, etc. – are going to be paramount in 2007.

An excerpt from the article:

“Sales of new homes plunged 17 percent in January, the latest monthly figures available. On Wednesday, D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest homebuilder, said it would take until January 2008 for the industry to work through a glut of unsold homes. Company CEO Don Tomnitz summed up the outlook by bluntly saying that 2007 “is going to suck.””

I’d be interested to hear from Realtors and Real Estate Photographers as to how this is affecting their business.

Cheers,
Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography
http://www.nashvtp.com
A www.realtourvision.com Full Service provider

7 Questions That You Should Ask Every Virtual Tour Company

When searching for a virtual tour solution for your real estate needs, there are many factors to consider. I am a firm believer that real estate agents should not use do-it-yourself solutions for residential listings. There are some exceptions, such as assigning one realtor or assistant per office to take photos and produce virtual tours. Two major reasons for this are the resulting quality and ROI (return on investment). But, that’s the subject of an entirely different blog, so for now here are a few questions that you should ask every virtual tour provider before scheduling that virtual tour

1. What type of virtual tour do they provide?
Some ‘virtual tour’ companies capture only still pictures and then use these pictures to create a motion effect. Make sure you are not paying a virtual tour price for a motion slide show. There are companies that charge as much as $70-$100 for these tours and the final product is nothing more than a $20 photo presentation.

2. Is the final version of the virtual tour interactive?
How do they define ‘interactive’? Make sure that the final product being created looks professional and has in-tour controls. Links to the side and the bottom of the tour are distracting and unprofessional. Interactive tours combine the power of a virtual tour with the ‘point-and-click’ functionality of the internet. They have on tour ‘hot-spots’ that enable viewers to go from room to room without ever leaving the viewing area.

3. What kind of camera lens do they use?
If they use a One Shot Lens or a fish-eye lens will the virtual tour software remove distortions in the tour (i.e. remove the fishbowl effect)? High-quality virtual tours should not distort any feature of your properties. If not corrected, fish eye lenses cause countertops and walls to look rounded and windows will look bowed. When shopping around for virtual tours, be sure to opt for companies that use a wide-angle lens. The wide angle lens captures more of the property without sacrificing quality.

4. Do they have more than one photographer?
Face it, things go wrong and your time is limited. If they only have one photographer and that photographer gets sick or cannot make your appointment, make sure that the company can have an alternate photographer arrive at your scheduled appointment.

5. Do they carry liability insurance with sufficient per occurrence and aggregate coverages?
You do not want to be left paying for damages to a sellers home if a photographer were to cause unintended damage. Virtual tours require that equipment be carried into and out of residential homes. Many homes have very expensive vases, statues and even furniture that can get unintentionally damaged.

6. Are they experienced?
Find out right away if your virtual tour provider has experience. Although inexperienced companies will be very eager to sink their teeth into a job and will probably give you a very good ‘deal’, you do not want them ‘practicing’ on your dime. Make sure to get references or check out testimonials.

7. Can they provide additional services such as videography, video production, professional CD development, or other marketing support?
Some properties warrant additional services to enable you to compete with other real estate agents. If you are looking to list a high-end seller, be sure that you can offer additional high-end services.

As a quick final note to virtual tour companies out there that are squirming to the tune of question number 5. Liability insurance is not expensive at all. For a small monthly investment you are covering yourself and your clients for any possible damage that could possibly occur. As virtual tour providers, we are all professionals and exercise the upmost care when providing our services… but what happens when…? Just call your local insurance agent and get a quick quote. You will be surprised how little it costs.

Cheryl Waller
TreasureCoastSolutions.com
Treasure Coast Virtual Tours

Taking the Virtual Tour Plunge!

Approximately two weeks ago I plunked down at my desk in my office at the local real estate company for whom I was working and sighed deeply. I was tired and it had been a long day. I had been run all over creation doing all sorts of busy work that no one else wanted to do. I had become the Jane of All Trades for the company and I was exhausted.

Over the last year and a half I had gone from the full time in-house virtual tour provider to someone that all of the junk work was dumped on. My salary was measly at best and I wasn’t enjoying anything that I was doing. When I was not busy shooting tours for the brokerage a lot of my time was either idle or doing exactly what I didn’t want to be doing….condo checks, mail runs, filing (oh mercy, who wants to do filing?!) and other assorted monotonous and bland chores. Meanwhile, bound by my contract to only do business with this company, I was turning down calls from other local real estate companies wanting virtual tours in the worst way. The frustration was building.

So there I was, sitting at my desk in the semi dark gloom of my cubby when I decided, “this is it. I’m calling Real Tour Vision” and that’s exactly what I did. And right then and there I began the journey to the plunge!

It didn’t take long talking to one of RTV’s sales reps to know that this was what I wanted to do. He was confident in his product, knowledgeable and above all else, he gave ME the confidence to take this thing head on. We crunched numbers together, worked out a tentative plan, discussed marketing strategies and then he wished me luck. Within a week I had purchased my own equipment and hit the road to do some marketing. Sure, it was scary to give up the stability of a weekly paycheck but already I am thrilled to have my freedom back and to be doing something that I do well and truly love. It’s a pleasure and an honor to represent the best virtual tour company out there and I can confidently walk into any real estate office in this area and be certain to sell at least one tour.

In the last five days I have sold four individual tours and just today I closed a deal with a rental agency for 10 full service tours! This job can be done and more importantly, it can be done by ANYONE who has the drive to go after what they want and the ability to work well with the public. RTV provides unparalleled technical support, sales support and marketing resources. The provider CD that is included in the tour builder kit has a multitude of marketing resources that can really kick start your own virtual tour marketing campaign. And to top it all off, RTV is ALWAYS on the leading edge of technological advances and continuously networking with partner programs that will further enhance this product. RTV has made this process so seamless that’s it’s hard to believe I waited as long as I did to take the plunge!

Midcoast 360
Meghan McLaughlin
Camden Virtual Tour Company
Camden, Maine 04843
A Full Service www.realtourvision.com provider

Memphis Virtual Tours Needed

Are you interested in owning a Memphis virtual tour company? Real Tour Vision is currently looking for an entrepreneur, that enjoys photography and will be our new Memphis, TN virtual tour provider.
Real Tour Vision is a recognized leader in interactive 360° panoramic virtual tours and virtual tour software. Over the past 7 years our virtual tour software company has built up one of the world’s largest and most powerful networks of virtual tour providers. We currently have an immediate need for the production of Memphis Virtual Tours!
Running your own independent business and becoming a virtual tour builder, you will be equipped with the Real Tour Vision virtual tour software and virtual tour hardware package that allows anyone with little to no photography or technical abilities to complete a full featured online virtual home tour in about one hour. All of our virtual tour software and virtual tour hardware packages include everything you will need to start a Memphis based virtual tour business in less than 15 days. Produce your Memphis area virtual real estate tours in a timely fashion and offer high end virtual tours to the businesses in the Memphis area.
Join the virtual tour company that you can count on, the virtual tour company that has been in the virtual tour software industry from the start and the virtual tour company that has the virtual tour software technology to back you up! Call today and let one of our helpful Real Tour Vision representatives talk to you about the real estate virtual tour industry, answer your virtual tour software and virtual tour hardware questions start doing business with the best virtual tour company in the world!Memphis Virtual Tours Needed! 866-947-8687
www.realtourvision.com