RTV Blog

Quick solution to a long distance problem.

Shortly after we became a Real Tour Vision provider, one of our REALTOR clients called with an urgent request for a 360 virtual tour. We needed to create a virtual tour for an “Estate” home. She had a potential client from the west coast visit the home while on business as he was possibly going to be transferred to PA. The transfer came and he remembered the home but his wife couldn’t get back to see it. This created the need for the tour to see if this home was a contender for their family. We created & posted the tour and sent a link as quick as we could. We found out about a week later the house was sold off our virtual tour!

His wife saw the tour and decided it was the right home for them from the tour and faxed contracts to secure their new home. This also solidified our value with a local REALTOR who has become a great client and friend.

Keith and Robin Volker
A www.realtourvision.com Full Service provider

Why are Real Tour Vision providers Better?

The answer here is very simple. Real Tour Vision signs up people daily that take the time to actually research the virtual tour industry. Sure, we get the people that close and sign up on the first phone call too, but we normally get the educated and driven people that are very serious about starting up a virtual tour company and owning their own tour business. Many of our virtual tour providers have started up businesses in the past and already have sales and marketing experience and of course there are those who do not. Either way no matter who you are or what your past experiences with business are as you continue to research the industry you will find that all roads keep leading back to us.

We offer more startup support and feature rich tours than anyone else out there. One look at our virtual tours will tell you that we put our providers first and that means most all of our upgrades and enhancements go right back into our tour technology. Our providers walk into offices with confidence knowing that they are offering the very best technology out there. All in all we have a great well rounded program that is very simple and easy to use allowing anyone to create fantastic feature rich virtual tours in a short amount of time for only a small amount of investment. Being a Real Tour Vision provider is being the leader in your market and making the educated choice.

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??


Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography
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.

Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography
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
Treasure Coast Virtual Tours