Many strategies in real estate are effective. Private showings, open houses, direct mailing efforts, and the like each have their advantages. That is why they are used. But that does not mean they are equally convenient for everyone involved. Include a 3D virtual tour in your listings, and you provide a solution that works for both your buyers and sellers – and for you. 

Showing a home to potential buyers in person has its advantages. You can walk them through a home, point out all of the great features, and gauge whether the property is aligned to their needs and wants. Buyers like private showings because they can get a sense of what it might be like to live in the home and see for themselves many of the property details. For sellers, it is effective, but it is kind of a pain having their home ready at a moment’s notice to be invaded by strangers. 

Open houses are a great tool for agents to generate potential leads. Sellers agree to them because they get the sense that they are effective and because it seems like an agent is earning their commission. But an open house is not convenient for sellers; it is more of a home invasion. And for buyers, an open house is not nearly so personal as a private showing.

A 3D virtual tour, on the other hand, offers benefits and alleviates anxieties for all parties. And now, at a time when agents are adapting to stay-at-home orders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an efficient and engaging tool is just what an agent needs in the toolbox.

What Is a 3D Virtual Tour?

A virtual tour (such as the Matterport 3D Showcase) is an authentic and immersive digital twin of a physical location that can be streamed across the web and viewed on almost any computer or mobile device. With the addition of sound effects, music, narration, text, measurements, and more, you can offer your clients a fully interactive and completely immersive 3D experience in the comfort of their own homes or in the corner of a coffee shop.

A Matterport 3D virtual twin, for example, allows navigation of a property step by step, floor by floor, and room by room. Using infrared scanning technology, a Matterport tour collects accurate visual and spatial data to create a 3D representation with which clients can interact. They can take in 360 degree views of any included spaces, click on tags that highlight property features, measure walls, doors, and other surfaces, leave comments, and ask questions.

You can embed the tour on your website, share it across your social media platforms, and integrate them into your Google business listing. 3D virtual tours are completely discoverable and add to the SEO value of your website. You can also interact with your clients, answer their questions, and give them a custom “walk-through” of the property in realtime.

With a 3D virtual tour, you can give your clients a realistic sense of the look and feel of a property in high-resolution, high-definition imagery long before they venture out to see it in person.

Benefits for Buyers and Sellers

Your clients appreciate the benefits of a 3D virtual tour. This is evidenced by the fact that more than ninety percent of home buyers use the internet as part of the home buying process. And more than half of them buy homes they found online. Young buyers are especially interested in the use of virtual reality in real estate (71% of those Millennials who make up most of the market) and more than three quarters of clients want to see a virtual tour of a property before they see it for real. Add to that, more than sixty percent of Americans decide to go with a real estate agency that offers 3D virtual tours. And why not? Homes with listings that feature a 3D virtual tour sell faster and at a higher price than those without.

Some other reasons why buyers and sellers like 3D tours?

  • It saves valuable time for both buyers and sellers. Buyers spend less time visiting properties that end up being a poor fit for them; sellers spend less time straightening up their houses every time a buyer wants to visit – sometimes only to find out the buyer wasn’t all that interested anyways. Instead, buyers want to get a more accurate impression of a home before they visit, and sellers want to waste less time on showings that do not produce results.
  • Buyers can take their time viewing a home. There is no rush with a 3D virtual tour. And no rush translates into less anxiety. Nobody is standing over their shoulders while they take their third trip to view the kitchen or the master bath. Instead, shoppers can virtually tour a home in the comfort of their own home and in their own timing. And they can communicate with their agent during or after the process.
  • A virtual tour is like a full-time open house. While a 3D virtual tour is available 24/7, it is captured as a single event. That means their home is available for buyers to tour anytime, and yet the sellers do not need to prepare for or try to schedule all of those visits.
  • Staging a home can be less of a chore. Sellers do not need to worry about cleaning up and staging their home quite as often as they might if their listing did not feature a 3D virtual tour (which can really help when a family is still living in their home while it is listed for sale). There is no need to maintain the house in pristine condition for frequent showings – one of the more stressful components for many sellers. A virtual tour alleviates some of that stress and increases the likelihood that buyers who do visit are serious about the property.

It is no wonder that buyers and sellers prefer listings with 3D virtual tours.

Advantages for Agents

When it comes to 3D virtual tours, there are many upsides for an agent. Imagine having a home you listed available for viewing any time day or night, not just when you and the seller are available to schedule a showing or an open house. Or being able to filter or pre-qualify a buyer for a property before you schedule a showing. If and when buyers decide they would like to physically visit a property, they are already “primed” for the occasion.

There are more advantages. Here are a few.

  • A 3D virtual tour also saves time for an agent. How many occasions have you taken a client to see a property only to discover rather quickly that there is something that turned them off? Something that would have ruled out the visit altogether had they known of it in advance? A virtual tour serves as a filter to match the right buyer to the right property before a live showing. This can be especially helpful if the property is in a remote, rural location. Then there is less time staging and scheduling, and more time for communicating with your clients.
  • You will increase your online engagement. You gain a stronger channel of online communication with your clients when you offer a 3D virtual tour. Buyers can comment on any aspect of a listing when they make their virtual walk-through. You can respond to their questions and comments in real time, but you don’t have to. Instead, you can reply to your clients when you are available. If they have a question during their midnight 3D tour, they can contact you, and you can respond the next day. With a virtual tour, you have also invited your clients to engage online. Once they are there, you can direct them to other resources, including your website.
  • 3D virtual tours bring results. Studies have shown that the use of virtual technology for real estate has had positive results. Consider that a listing with a 3D virtual tour can net four times more leads, and capture a greater number (49%) of qualified leads. Your online listings get forty percent more clicks when they feature a 3D tour. Add to that ninety percent more phone inquiries and sixty-five percent more email inquiries. That is a lot of bang for your buck. It doesn’t stop there. Younger buyers are 130% more likely to book a showing if they have viewed a virtual tour first. And of all buyers, nearly seventy percent would like to see more virtual tours. Oh, and your return on investment? Four weeks or less.

A Solution For Social Distancing

Another way that 3D virtual tours benefit buyers, sellers, and agents alike is when it is necessary to observe principles of social distancing, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. How else do you highlight a home when a coronavirus is on the loose and a stay-at-home order is in place?

Sure, impressive professional pictures (such as those produced by high dynamic range photography) are an essential component of your print and digital efforts. Direct mail campaigns of real estate postcards and brochures, as with any print advertising, remain an important part of your marketing mix. Your social media presence is vital to your customers who are looking for a reassuring voice in an uncertain time. But including 3D virtual tours to your listings is your best bet for getting buyers into the homes of sellers when they cannot physically visit.

Give your clients an avenue to explore their home buying and selling options with a Matterport 3D Virtual Tour, a home’s digital twin, viewable from the comfort of their living rooms and kitchens. Give yourself the advantage of communicating with them from the security of your own home or office. Capitalize on the tendency to be online while everyone stays at home. And set yourself apart from the crowd in a highly competitive marketplace.

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