Blog Tag: 360 tours

Free Blogs for Realtors!

Blogging is not only a great way to keep a very large group of people up to date on your products and company it also drives mass amounts of traffic back to your website and business. If you are a Real Tour Vision provider and have a virtual tour company or, if you are an In-house virtual tour provider, you should all recognized the power behind the blog.

Be sure to encourage your customers to create blogs. If they do not know how to, take it upon yourself as the local online marketing experts to show them how. As an in-house provider you should be able to read the article below and sign up for your free blogging software and start writing today. Whether you are an in-house provider or a full-service provider or someone out there reading this who has not signed up with us yet please take a moment of your time to read the article below. Showing your expertise in your field by blogging is proven to work which is exactly why Realtor.com is offering it now for free. The more you write on as an expert in your field the more traffic will be driven to your site. Now…if there were only more time in our day.

Here is the article:

REALTOR.COM ROLLS OUT FREE BLOGS FOR REALTORS

Friday, May 18, 2007

By Glenn Roberts Jr.
Inman News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Realtor.com President Errol Samuelson today announced the availability of free blog sites for all Realtors and also announced several new and planned features for the popular property-search Web site, which is operated by Move Inc. and is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors trade group.

The retooled site, he said, is incorporating Web 2.0 principals such as consumer interaction, richer data and online video.

Realtors can sign up for a free Realtor.com blog at http://www.featuredblogsignup.com. A planned section at the Realtor.com site will allow consumers to view an assortment of blog posts individually chosen by site editors for inclusion on a featured blogs page at the site. These blog posts can direct traffic back to the Web sites of participating Realtor.com bloggers.

The full article is here


Chipping Away At Realtors’ Six Percent

Here is a great article that we came across today from CBS News 60 Minutes.

Chipping Away At Realtors’ Six Percent
Lesley Stahl Reports How Realtors’ Commission Fees Are Under Assault

Even with today’s housing slump, real estate agents will pull in about $60 billion this year. And the reason is, as any homeowner knows, they charge a six percent commission on the price of every house they sell. So, for instance, a home that goes for a half a million dollars will net agents $30,000 right off the top.

For Realtors, the six percent commission is sacrosanct. It’s remained in place, even as the price of homes has quadrupled over the past 25 years.

But as correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, things are beginning to change. What happened to travel agents, stock brokers and book sellers – the encroachment of the Internet – is beginning to affect real estate agents. And the sacred six percent is under assault from online discounters.

Lehrer Willis and his fiancée Bridgette Takeuchi of Seattle, young and Internet savvy, took a big chance when they decided not to hire a traditional real estate agent. Instead, they both sold their old house and bought a new one online.

“What did you have to do yourselves that the traditional real estate agent would have done for you?” Stahl asks.

“Print out the flyers, you know, that would go on our signposts, and describe our house to potential buyers. And then we held an open house ourselves,” Willis recalls.

What did they didn’t get, says Takeuchi, was having a real estate agent to show the house and actively sell the property.

“Who’s out there, really pushing for us?” Stahl remarks.

“And that’s what I kept saying,” Takeuchi acknowledges. “Those insecurities started to really seep in for me and I started to really question. It wasn’t until the ink was dry on the paper that I was a hundred percent sold, to be honest.”

Willis says they saved $26,000 by not going through a traditional realtor and paying a commission. “Now we can walk down the aisle. Actually, pay for people to eat at the wedding,” Takeuchi adds.

They used a real estate company called Redfin, an online discounter based in Seattle. It has a cadre of e-agents who, for the most part, do their work on computers and on phones. Rob McGarty says early on a number of people called who were skeptical about the whole idea.

“Are there real people there? Is this just some shop in Bangalore! A call center taking real estate transactions? And, you know, after they talked to us [they] realize we were real agents in the same city they were in … they were like: ‘Whoa, this is for real!'” McGarty explains.

Willis and Takeuchi’s agent, Kelly Engel, used to be a traditional agent. “I had done quite a few deals where I spent maybe five hours total working on the deal. I never saw the house. My client found it online and, you know, I would make $12,000 for four hours of work. And I thought this cannot keep going on like this. Someone, I felt like I was going to get caught! You know, someone’s going to see that this is happening and I think a lot of them hold that truth inside of them right now. They’ve got the clients that are finding houses on their own. They make $20,000 and did 10 hours of work,” she says.

Read the rest of the story here


The Realtor® Lowdown

Brand recognition is one of the elusive goals that all businesses strive for. The ability to bring into someone’s mind the image of a product or service by simply saying its name is a powerful marketing tour. Some brand names have become so synonymous with a product that the name is used to describe a product regardless of who makes it. When you have a runny nose, do you ask for a facial tissue or do you ask for a Kleenex®?

An organization that has beyond any doubt accomplished this goal is The National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Anyone looking to buy or sell a home will say they are working with a Realtor®. Rarely do they say they are working with a real estate agent. So what is the big deal with the word Realtor®?

The word has become such a part of our vocabulary that we forget that not all real estate agents are Realtors® and not all Realtors® are real estate agents. Confused? Here is the NAR definition of a Realtor®:”NAR is composed of REALTORS® who are involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry”. NAR is an organization that someone in the real estate profession can join.

So, what does this have to do with us? Many Real Tour Vision virtual tour providers are participating in public forums and blogs that we fully expect to have people from the real estate industry read. We all pride ourselves in delivering that extra little bit that will make us stand apart from all others. One extra little bit that takes very little effort would be the use of the word Realtor®

I rarely use Realtor®; I prefer real estate agent or real estate professional. When I first started as a mortgage broker, I had a few agents correct me about the use of Realtor®. Several went to great lengths to let me know they belonged to NAR, but were in fact real estate agents. Some agents will not care one way or the other how the word is used. Others are like I was. When a service provider came into the office, the first question was always “Are you a Realtor®”. I would say “Yep, I am also a real estate agent”. That would always slow them down.

The point I am trying to get across is simple. Set yourself apart from others by using the word Realtor® correctly. When you write something that potential clients are going to read, I know you carefully craft the sentences and check for misspelling. Why not go that little extra distance and write the word as it is registered? One last little bit. Try not to pronounce it “relitter”. Think about how RTV is pronounced. Real Tour said fast sounds a lot like Realtor®.

Roger Hall
Sunwheel Consulting


The Best Virtual Tour Needs Great Stills

Quality is a must when it comes to a product like Real Tour Vision virtual tours. Good still pictures are just as important as taking good panoramic images. I have noticed some tour track orders (National Accounts for Real Tour Vision), as well other tours have fuzzy stills. I have a feeling that many virtual tour providers are shooting their stills by hand. This may be ok for vacations but when it comes to shooting as a professional you should offer top quality stills. First of all, you need to make sure the camera is in focus. If the camera auto focus is not focusing well on a particular shot then use the manual focus mode and make sure the picture looks great. Next make sure that the camera is still and not shaking when the shutter is pressed. Property re-shoots are expensive so make sure to capture the images correctly the first time. Many digital cameras have either digital or mechanical image stabilization to aid in shooting. Do not rely solely on these features to shoot great stills.

The lighting conditions for virtual tours often force the camera’s shutter to stay open longer than normal to capture adequate light and if you are not 100% stable when you take the picture then your shot will come out fuzzy. The clearest pictures are taken using a tripod. When your camera is mounted on the tripod it sits completely stable and you are pretty much guaranteed to get a clear picture as far as stabilization goes. For the widest angle still the camera should be mounted horizontally, not vertically like when panorama photos are taken. If a tripod is too cumbersome for you to carry around the shoot or you would like something that is lighter and quicker to setup for each still shot then I would strongly suggest that you invest in a monopod.

A monopod is a single support leg that has a quick release plate that attaches to the bottom of your camera. The plate with the camera attached to it then locks in place on top of the monopod. The monopod stabilizes your camera from moving up and down and doesn’t require as much setup time as tripod does. You can extend the monopod out to the desired shooting height and you are ready to go. It has a light and slender design that makes it easy to carry from shot to shot. If you are interested you can search online for monopods. There are many different brands available but most will have the features listed above and would work for camera stabilization. Good luck on the still images and keep the great looking virtual tours coming!

By Ben Knorr
Real Tour Vision Lens Engineer


Virtual Tour Websites!

Summer is coming! Make sure you have your virtual tour company website up and running! Having a virtual tour company website is only one of the many credibility boosters that you should have for your virtual tour company. You have four options when choosing a website:

You can design your own website. You can pay someone to have one created for you.
You are free to use the recently updated website available for download in the RTV Business Resource Center at no charge to you. Finally, you can purchase one of our template based sites that Real Tour Vision has recently has deployed.

No matter who you might currently have your website through now our new and improved Real Tour Vision virtual tour provider sites deliver the perfect marketing punch at the right price. Our new sites are now offering continual updates, back end access, and Search Engine Optimization.

We are even currently offering a rollover program for anyone with an old Real Tour Vision template site. Call your sales representative right away and make the rollover happen with no downtime and no cancellation fees.