While Australia is opening up from COVID-19 restrictions in some states, the pandemic will still be with us for many months to come. One of the most effective ways for real estate agents to adapt to the new normal and keep sales rolling in is to offer virtual property tours and open houses. Here’s some insight into the effectiveness of video as a medium and how to plan and create high-impact virtual tours.
Are Virtual Tours Effective?
Virtual tours, often called 3D tours, existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic but were seen as more of a fun gimmick – a way to appeal to a younger, tech-savvy generation. The reality is that this tool was already becoming one of the most effective real estate marketing tools available, and has become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to research, virtual tours were already having a marked impact on Australian buyers looking for property. Listings with virtual tours saw 40% more interest from buyers, attracting 78% of buyers in the 30-49 age group. A 2016 study revealed that visitors tend to spend 52% longer on listings with virtual tours, resulting in an 80% overall increase in enquires with virtual tours – a substantial result!
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the combination of restrictions and health concerns has made virtual tours essential to the real estate industry. They ensure buyers can browse homes safely in detail, without inconveniencing or concerning sellers, and ensuring that in-person viewings are limited to the most serious buyers. It’s not just an appealing medium, it’s effective selling while socially distancing – when it’s done right.
How to Make and Market a High Impact Virtual Tour
- Plan – Work with the seller to plan the perfect video. The home should be deep cleaned, clutter-free and staged for buyers, showing off its best features and letting the space speak for itself. Film your virtual tour at the time of day when the light is best, and mark off the best positions from which to shoot each room.
- Detail – The great thing about virtual tours is that they aren’t video walkthroughs. Viewers can stop and zoom in on details, change the viewing angle and look through a room at their own pace – it’s a bit like Google Street View. So, the important thing is to capture all the detail potential buyers would be interested in – renovations, wardrobe space, finishes, and great extras like views and gardens – just as if you were doing an in-person tour.
- Tech – We live in a great age for tech, and it’s easy to film a virtual tour using a smartphone app like Zillow 3D Home app, Roundme, Tourwizard or EyeSpy360 – but don’t be afraid to elevate your tech for virtual tours. If you are planning to do virtual tours on a regular basis (which makes sense during COVID-19), then it may be a good idea to bring in a partner who can optimize lighting, bring in high-tech equipment and even manage live streaming.
- Marketing – People are more active and more reliant on social media than ever before, so it’s important that you take advantage of this and market extensively in advance of your virtual open house. Market it just as you would an open house day, using email blasts, teasers on social media, Facebook ads and information on your website. Set it up so that potential buyers can subscribe to these tours, so it’s easy and convenient for them to take a look at your listing. You can also plan a one-on-one live video Q&A on Facebook to chat to buyers about the listing.
- Make it work – Virtual tour content should be repurposed and used for multiple digital marketing purposes in order to get the most value from your content. After you’ve live streamed your tour, set the content up on YouTube or Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook and your website. Send out follow up emails to potential buyers who may have missed the live event, share it on your network and send out links in social updates.
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