As real estate agents, sellers, and buyers negotiate a world turned upside down by the coronavirus, technology that until now had been an added bonus in the home buying process is now a necessity.
Although some states are easing stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines remain in place and open houses are off the table in most places. For this reason, virtual tours of homes are becoming the go-to choice for showing homes to prospective buyers.
There are ways to create virtual walkthroughs that are free, or very low cost, as we covered in a previous post. More advanced options include 3D renderings.
But if you want to set yourself apart and give your prospective buyers a home buying experience that has adapted to our current conditions, investing in creating a stunning virtual showing experience will do just that.
A study cited on Matterport.com showed that listings with 3D tours sold for, on average, 9% higher price and 31% faster.
Estate Agent research revealed that 75% of the interviewed potential real estate buyers stated that they preferred interactive virtual tours over normal photographs. Further, these virtual tours had a significant influence on their purchasing decision.
Virtual Tour Creation
There are a number of companies that are offering 3D modeling and virtual tour creation for real estate listings. These companies offer a variety of pricing options and supported cameras – some requiring only an iPhone to capture images of the home.
If you decide to create a virtual showing on your own, there are many tools that can help you produce professional quality videos and 3D virtual walkthroughs.
With Ricoh Tours, you can create a 3D virtual showing of the home that allows buyers to navigate through the home at their own pace. A monthly subscription is $45/month, and an annual subscription is $495/year (saving you the equivalent of one month). In addition to the cost of the plan, you will need to purchase the Ricoh kit that includes a Ricoh Theta V camera and VR camera stand.
Matterport is one option that offers a 3D rendering of the home, allowing home buyers to “walk through” the property, see a dollhouse view and includes a floor plan. Matterports can even utilize 3D goggles for a truly immersive experience.
Plans start at $0 with limited options. From there you can choose from $9.99/mo, $69/mo, or $309/mo, depending on your needs and number of listings. One benefit to Matterport is that you can use an iPhone or 360 camera (uses supported cameras– Insta360 ONEX, Ricoh Theta V, or Ricoh Theta Z1).
According to a study conducted by Sebastian Diessel, a real estate technology consultant, listings with a Matterport 3D tour sold 20% faster for a 4.8% higher price than listings without.
One option is EyeSpy360 service. This service allows you to hire a professional, or you can do-it-yourself using a 360-degree, DSLR, or smartphone camera to capture images of the home and turn them into a virtual tour.
EyeSpy360 has a free plan along with paid plans that give you more options and capabilities.
The company charges $21 to create one virtual tour + 3D model and floor plan (upload up to 15 360-degree photos and they do the rest) or $27.99 for a monthly subscription which includes all features and unlimited hosting.
The Right Gear
While it is possible to create a virtual walkthrough at a low cost using your existing iPhone, taking it to the next level and creating a walkthrough that is truly stunning may require more specialized gear. This gear includes a 360º camera, high-quality camera stand, and an investment in video creation software.
Some companies can use the video from an iPhone, but many recommend using a 360-degree camera. The most commonly recommended are the Insta360 ONEX ($449.95), Ricoh Theta V ($379.95), or Ricoh Theta Z1 ($999.95).
If you’re looking to keep costs a little lower, consider borrowing the necessary equipment from another agent or splitting the cost of the camera with other agents in your office.
Either way, choosing the right gear can mean the difference between a mediocre creation and one that leaves no doubt in the buyer’s mind that this is the property for them.
Hire an expert
Choosing an expert will require doing some research in your specific location. Many experts and companies offer creation of 3D virtual tours along with photography packages.
Companies such as VPiX and Real Estate Exposures have professionals that can create incredible walkthrough videos of the home. Many of these companies also offer creation of 3D walkthroughs, meaning that you won’t have to pay for a subscription or plan as it is included in the professional’s cost.
Hiring a professional could also be the right move if you’re looking to be efficient. Since this is their area of expertise, they will be able to get the necessary photographs and scans from the most optimal angles without the learning curve of doing it yourself.
Some 3D and virtual tour companies also offer their own professional services. Matterport, for instance, offers an option to hire a professional to capture your images if you want to save time and upfront costs.
Keep in mind that professional companies are location specific, so you’ll have to research professionals in your area.
Today, virtual tours and showings are essential to continuing to do business during the time of the coronavirus. Creating an experience for potential buyers that highlights the home and gives them freedom to view it at their pace serves to increase the home’s appeal and ultimately lead to a sale.
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