Blog Tag: slide show

Rake N Take

I have been in the situation where I have been taking pictures for a virtual tour in an unfurnished house that is painted pretty much beige from ceiling to floor. Of course my digital camera can’t auto focus on a blank wall under these circumstances and manual focus is a crapshoot.

What I have found that works is to take a leaf rake along with me. Put the rake against the wall with the tines facing up and in the center of the area of focus for the camera lens. Fortunately, a leaf rake is just about perfect height for this. I let the camera auto focus on the rake tines and then switch it to manual from there to freeze the focus. Remove the rake and take your shot. Rake-N-Take works every time with no fuzzy pictures!

Wayne Hobin
1st Choice Realty, Keowee Key

Commonalities of Top Real Estate Agents

BakerB Solutions, LLC is one of the preeminent Virtual Tour Providers in the Washington DC Metro region. One of the elements that makes our virtual tour business so successful is the technology we license from Real Tour Vision. The other is our understanding of real estate marketing in our area and in general. By becoming and hiring licensed real estate agents (non-practicing), we have been able to build an understanding of the local market like no other company around. In fact I myself have been in over 500 homes in just the past year alone. Most agents will not have seen that many homes in 5 years. While this helps us to understand the market, it also gives us insight as to which homes will sell fast and for what price point, and which agents control them. So you could say we are equally educated on the market conditions and can provide our clients (real estate agents) with a strong backing to their pricing strategy in general.

As a result of this market experience on an annual basis, several elements in our experience have surfaced that illustrate what makes an agent a TOP AGENT in our market. Here are the top (in no particular order):

* Charisma with Understanding and Intelligence
* Taking Command of the Listing
* Preparing the Home for the Market
* A firm Grasp of Marketing

Let’s examine each of these briefly. First, you will notice that all agents that are in the Top 1% nationwide are charismatic, intelligent and knowledgeable. These are people with a welcoming smile, a friendly dimeanor and an ability of making you feel comfortable with them from the first hand shake. In addition, they know enough about their profession to have answers to most difficult questions, and have the integrity to tell you if they don’t. These are people that are not run-of-the-mill agents, but rather people that others admire for their success.

Being charismatic is great, but alone is not a quality that pays the bills. In order to win business top agents must take control of the listing from the very first phone call or face-to-face meeting. These people are in command with what will transpire in the transaction and guide the timing of each phase. This does not mean they do not listen to their clients, it just means they take their clients (sellers) down the road they want to take.

One of these roads is the condition of the property. There are two strategies in play here: 1) as-is, and 2) fix it to sell. With the As-Is model (which works well for older couples or a widowed spouse), the idea is to be more generous with the starting sales price, making it lower to attract more buyers, knowing they will have to spend money to fix the home up to their personal standards. The second is to get the property into as close to “move-in” condition as possible. This means new Carpet, Refinishing floors, installing granite counters, painting the interior, replacing out dated light fixtures and faucets (especially in bathrooms). Not all of these are always done, but they are common in the homes of successful sales for top agents.

Finally is a firm grasp on marketing. It is our belief that the real estate market is at least 50% marketing. That is, half of the work of the agent and winning business depends on the marketing they do to secure business and promote their listings. The agents that understand this and don’t necessarily “pinch-pennies” with regard to their marketing are typically MUCH MORE successful in the business. The catch here is that you have to have money to make money. Marketing is not cheap, but it IS THE source of the bulk of business for the Top agents.

One of the elements that ties several of the characteristics of the Top Agents together is the Virtual Tour! Charismatic agents have no problem selling the benefits of a strong Virtual Tour for their listings. And with their command of the listing they always secure the tour. Making sure that the home is ready for the market pays off not only in showing the property in person, but even more so in the virtual tour. Homes that are ready when we go in to do photographs SELL THEMSELVES!!! In fact we even had a situation where an out of town buyer put an offer on a well prepared home STRICTLY based on the Virtual Tour BakerB Solutions provided. Finally, a strong grasp on marketing is essential. The Interactive Virtual Tour we provide our agents surpasses the competition in spades. In fact one broker told me on several occasions, “I would hate to be your competition, because your tours blow them away.” Why? Because of the RTV technology and the way we deliver the service. But for the agent that same technology is exactly their own selling tool. Instead of getting a “slide show” that is glorified as a virtual tour, we deliver a fully interactive experience allowing the user to navigate through the property by way of hot spots, next and back buttons or just through an auto play option. No other virtual tour system offers this level of navigation with such ease as a full service offering to Realtors.

To see what I am talking about, just visit one of my client’s galleries:

You will see the condition of the properties and the volume he does on an annual basis. He exhibits all the qualities discussed and is a strong competitor at listing appointments. Just see for yourself.

Alex Saenger
Baker B Solutions

Curb Appeal on the Internet

Think good photos and an accompanying 360 tour don’t make a difference when selling a property? Think again.

An recent article appearing in the Nashville Tennessean Newspaper supports the return on investment to be realized from the utilization of a virtual tour – emphasizing quality of photos as a key necessity successfully sell a property –

GOOD PHOTOS and VIRTUAL TOURS…”It’s everything,” says Trish Woolwine, a broker with Fridrich & Clark about posting good Internet photos. Last year she sold a house to a California couple, sight unseen, based solely on the Web photos. “People see the houses on the Internet, and a lot of them have told me if there aren’t a lot of pictures they just pass that one over and go to the next. You have to compete, and you need to have the best pictures you can — and as many as you can — and just really showcase that property.” If yours don’t make the grade, potential buyers may never knock on the door. When the home looks photogenic and the professional-looking photos are posted online, sellers will reap an important benefit: Eliminating people who aren’t serious about buying. And that means you don’t have to pack up the family and leave every time someone wants to check out your digs. – Curb Appeal Moves to the Internet – The Nashville Tennessian – 05/20/07.

As the article states – “Potential buyers may never see house if pictures fail to impress”
This is why more and more successful real estate agents are turning to a professional online marketing expert and virtual tour provider to provide their listing shots and virtual tours.

Here is the full article: FULL ARTICLE

Quality Counts!
Jason Bennett
Nashville Virtual Tours & Photography

Video Tours Exposed

Recently I have noticed that a lot of companies (large and small) are desperately trying to take advantage of the nuance of the video tour ‘rave’ by offering slide shows disguised as ‘video tours’. It seems the Jack-in-the-box law is now in effect. ‘Virtual tour’ companies are popping up all over the place offering ‘video tours’ that are nothing more than glorified slide shows.

Here’s the deal. Pretty much anyone can start one of these supposed ‘video tour’ services using slide show software for next to nothing and charge whatever they want for it. That’s fine. This is America.. whatever… but why lie?

I am going to go out on a limb here and let the secret out. I may get sued, but I think it is worth it if I can save just one agent form the death grips of a video tour bait-switch deal. Here’s the secret that they DON’T want you to know…. If the image is static (no movement) it’s a still picture, not a video. So, if the trees aren’t moving and the dog stopped breathing, chances are you didn’t get a video. So, what do you get when you take a bunch of images and make them fade in and out and side-to-side? Ummm, I am not sure, but I believe that may be a slide show. You can fancy it up any which way, but it is still not a video.

I was sitting here writing an article about the differences between slide show tours, virtual tours and video tours when it dawned on me… I have never had a real estate agent ask me if they could link their video tour to MLS. So here’s my question…

Have any of you ever linked a video tour (not a slide show) to MLS and if so, have you ran into any problems with IDX rules?

With virtual tours and slide shows (depending on your virtual tour provider), you have the option of using a different link that automatically removes the branding and audio using the same tour. But with a video, this is not an option. It would seem to me that you would have to produce two separate videos (one with branding & audio and one without) in order to take advantage of full exposure for the listing. This would incur additional expense and time (even if you produced your own). Thoughts?

Cheryl Waller
Treasure Coast Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours = Fewer Showings

Virtual tours save home buyers countless hours driving around looking at houses. We value our time, and visit half as many homes if we take virtual tours first. When the virtual tour allows viewers to go between panoramas by clicking on icons, we’ve really done our job:

Selling the house with as few “curious viewings” as possible. It’s frustrating to “pack up the family for half an hour” .. and then experience the roller coaster of feelings afterwards.

Research what’s available and choose a tour you would have on your personal residence. Several Realtors have called us to have a Real Tour Vision virtual tour of their personal residences because they know they work!

Dawn Shaffer