Blog Tag: 360 home tour

The Goldberg Test

Let me tell you how and what I did to decide which Virtual Tour Company I would sign up with as a professional virtual tour provider. It was easy and you can do it; all it takes is a little time and a computer connected to the internet. When I started this little research project I had one question in mind – what does a person looking for a home on the internet want from a virtual tour?

First I logged on to Realtor.Com, the big Multiple Listing Service (MLS). I selected my state and my local real estate marketing area. I told the search engine to ‘Add Nearby Areas’ to get a rich mix of properties. I then refined my search to include only single family residential properties for sale. At the time (January, 2006) that brought up 986 properties. I then asked Realtor.com to sort the properties and put the properties with a ‘Featured Tour’ on top of the list. This sifted through the listings and found 91 Featured Tours and placed them ahead of the others which made it easy to do the next step. It also showed me that just under 10% of the residential listings in my general area included some kind of featured tour on that day.

(I did the same search today while I was writing this and found 1905 single family residential listings locally and 371 of them had utilized a Featured Tour. That showed me that about a year and a half after I did the first evaluation the percentage of listings that include some kind of virtual home tour doubled to just under 20%.) That’s a good sign for the virtual tour business; Incorporating a virtual home tour into real estate marketing is catching on!

After I found my target listings I went to each one and viewed the tour. Tours can vary a lot for a number of reasons including brand, features, camera and lens, and the skill and experience of the photographer. Even within the same brand you will notice a difference so, to be fair, I took the time to look at each one. I made a list including these variables: Tour type, Number of tours of that type, Pass/ Fail and MLS #. When I saw a new brand of tour I added it to the list. If a tour got a fail I just added it to the “Number of tours’ column. If a tour got a Pass then I also marked down the MLS number so I could go back to it for a final review.

It soon became very clear based on my empirical data and thorough testing that Real Tour Vision had the nicest looking tours and the best virtual tour software! I rejected the tours that were just still photographs or slide shows that were put in motion as nearly every 360 tour offers a slide show but slide shows did not offer 360 tours. I did not like the way the fish eye tours looked either. Any tour that I got frustrated with because it was hard to use or did not load quickly was disqualified too.

In the end, I looked at the 11 tours that were left and evaluated them from the point of view of my initial question – “what does a person looking for a home on the internet want from a virtual tour?” It seemed to me then and it does now that they want a tour that tells the story of the property and gives them a feel for being there. They want to get a good sense that it will be worth the time to see it in person. They want it to function easily and intuitively, and they want to be able to download and store the home tour for easy reference while they are searching for their new home. The Real Tour Vision virtual tours are easy to use, look great, and put the property into context inside and out. They are feature packed without being complicated and they are easy to download, store and email. I was on the phone to RTV to get more information about becoming a tour provider that same day.

Take the time to evaluate the options available in your area! I believe you will see the value in a real virtual tour and that you will select Real Tour Vision as your virtual tour provider. When you do, if you are in the Portland, Maine area give me a call.

Ross Goldberg
Level Best Interactive Virtual Tours
Scarborough, ME 04074
www.lvlbst.com
levelbest@maine.rr.com


Single Property Website and 360 Tours

It is great to see articles such as the one below published by RISMEDIA today regarding single property websites. Many of our Real Tour Vision virtual tour providers have been purchasing domain names of their addresses and forwarding the virtual tour to the web address now for years. It is just now starting to go mainstream. It is great to see that our virtual tour providers are always staying ahead of the curve out there.

RISMEDIA, June 5, 2007-Per an article dated May 31, 2007 by Robin Morgan, published on RISMedia, “Eighty percent of all home buyers are searching online, and are looking for more information than ever before. The most important thing that a potential buyer wants to see is photographs, followed closely by detailed property information. Individual property Web sites allow sellers to provide exactly what these buyers are looking for.”

Dennis Handa, the owner of a site dedicated to developing individual property Web sites explained, “I was glad to see the article as it really reinforces this new concept.” He continued, “We are in a tough real estate market. There are fewer buyers and today’s seller really does need to market their home differently.”

“There are four primary reasons that an individual home Web site gives a home seller an advantage,” says Dennis.

1. They really attract buyers. For example: Most buyers will drive by a home and may like what they see, but don’t want to call and get involved. With our home Web sites, when a prospective buyer drives by, they only need to remember the www.homeaddress.com from the sign rider. They can then log onto the Web easily, privately and see a complete presentation.

2. A home Web site is a 24/7 presentation. Buyers can access these Web sites whenever and wherever. An individual home Web site is first and foremost a live sales presentation, much better than just a flyer or show sheet.

3. A home Web site is both inexpensive and easy to promote and advertise. A Classified ad example: Incredible Florida Keys Estate, visit www.yourhome.com. Nothing more needs to be said. Just a strong headline is required.

4. Individual home Web sites allow sellers to feature photos, virtual tours, Google maps and unlimited text in their property descriptions. When a buyer logs onto one of these Web-sites, he sees a complete description of the home and its features and benefits, plus he has the sellers contact info and e-mail address to ask further questions.

Using today’s technology to get to today’s buyer, Dennis concludes, “If you combine all the features and benefits of a home Web site, the benefits for a seller are incredible.”

By Real Tour Vision
Grand Traverse Virtual Tours
www.realtourvision.com
Order Virtual Tours NOW – 866-947-8687


No Virtual Tours Require more luck!

Are you feeling Lucky?

I have a friend who is moving to North Carolina. He made the trip to shop for his home since the area he was moving to apparently did not utilize virtual tour technology and he couldn’t find much online. He needed to finalize the purchase over the weekend giving him only 3 days to locate, inspect, and close. After a disappointing search he decided to give up and head back when driving down a side road he happend to pass a ‘For Sale By Owner’ sign and decided to stop in and look at the home.

The house was the best option he had seen all weekend and would suite his needs. He decided to go forward and close on the home and come to find out the family in the home had to move and they had been hoping their home would sell for quite some time. Now if the home would have been listed on a website with a 360 virtual tour the home may have sold more quickly and they would have had a much larger group of potential customers than just the traffic on their road. I wonder how many other potential buyers may have purchased this home except they never knew it was there. The family that was selling got really lucky that my friend happened to drive down their street.

By Ben Knorr
Real Tour Vision Lens Engineer


The Virtual Teaser

About a year ago, I dropped off one of my cards to a real estate kiosk in our local mall and chatted with the agent there. This week, she called to order a tour of a $1,875,000 property with stunning views of the Columbian River.

See the 360 Virtual Tour here:
https://www.realtourvision.com/tour/RE/rst.view.new.php?utl=RE-4935-K6IFIS-02

What makes this a unique story is the real estate agent’s philosophy. She feels it is best to show buyers just enough of the home to stir their interest. Our job as a virtual tour provider is to create real estate virtual tours based on the information the client gives us prior to the tour. If your virtual tour provider is unable to take the time to get to know you–and help you represent their property how they would like–perhaps it is best to call in a professional.

Dawn Shaffer
All About Virtual Tours
www.allaboutvirtaultours.com


Marketing Virtual Tours 101

Here are a few things I have learned about marketing my 360 virtual tours.

1. Established customers already know the value of virtual tours. They also know that Real Tour Vision Tours are the best. I work closely with established customers to make VT’s an integral part of their marketing plans. They all look up to me as being the local online marketing expert that Real Tour Vision has taught me to become. These agents naturally order a virtual tour for all of their listings. Keeping them is a matter of communicating with them about what their needs and expectations are. If you ask your customers what they like about their 360 tours, you will be surprised what they say. More importantly you will learn things that you can use when marketing to new customers.

2. New customers don’t know the difference between Real Tour Vision , and other virtual tour technology until you show them. Most agents don’t have a lot of time, I like to use large venues such as sales meetings and such to educate potential customers about why our virtual tours are better. This works pretty well, but one on one is really the best way to market tours. Once “potential” customers see the difference, and realize the extra quality and service that Real Tour Vision tours provide, they convert to “established” customers. The trick is to get them to “see” a few key points about our tours, you will learn what the key points are by asking your already established customers.

3. Our local MLS site offers a saved search function that will send an email to me each time a listing meeting my criteria is added to the database. I built a search that targets a price range above 350K and includes such key words as “custom” ,”views”, “model home” and “remodeled” When I get a hit, I contact the listing agent for a tour. I sell about 50% of the contacts I make in this manner, and convert them to “established” customers.

4. Don’t be afraid to have a higher price than your competition, Somebody has to be the most expensive. in my market we are the most expensive, however, along with being the most expensive comes the responsibility of being the best, and offering the best service. This business model works. The other day, I was faced with a competitor that was selling Real Tour Vision tours in an adjoining market for about 30% of my price. I told the customer that we had stabilized our prices at the current level because it would do nobody any good if we could not afford to stay in business. I also told the customer that I wished to provide a higher level of service than the competition and needed to charge a higher price. She understood, and gave me her continued business.

5. Publish a list of standards that all tours will adhere too. Show that list to the customer. Customers feel more secure if you provide a list of exactly what you are doing for them. It looks impressive to the customer that you provide consistency.

Here is something I tell my sales people when they need a little boost.

“Our virtual tour company sells a valuable product. Real Tour Vision virtual tours offer listing agents a quantifiable marketing tool for their listings, and a competitive marketing advantage for getting listings. Like us, our customers are very busy, how many people have the business card of a very important lead or resource sitting on their desk but never seem to get around to making contact? I believe our customers are the same way and I prove it every time I do a follow up call. Our service is not just about providing the best 360 virtual tour on the Internet, it is also about making contact with customers and potential customers and becoming the local online marketing expert they can look up to and depend on. Make those calls, chances are you will catch somebody that has been “meaning to call you for a virtual tour” By doing a friendly follow up call you just saved them the effort.

Kurt Steiner
Alaska Virtual Tours
www.akvirtualtours.com