Brokers are all in the same boat right now. Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have made it difficult to market, show, and sell properties. As folks try to self-isolate, they’re shying away from conferences, showrooms, meetings, and other public places. Some areas have even discouraged open houses to be held at all.
But when one door closes, another door opens. The property industry has rapidly embraced virtual real estate 360 tours—an immersive online experience that replicates the feel of being on-site, but without needing to touch a doorknob. This technology enables your potential buyers to visit and explore physical spaces from home with a computer or mobile phone.
It’s simple to do, is an efficient use of resources, and is tremendously valuable in the long term.
Not only are virtual reality tours pandemic-proof, but they’re incredibly easy to create and operate, too.
The most straightforward and popular walkthroughs of 360 space start as photographs. Your VR service provider shows up on-site with a 360 camera, takes a series of panoramic photos, and stitches them together into a full tour. Once it’s made, the tour can be put up online or stored in a presentation to share as needed.
Virtual reality may sound complicated, but it’s no more difficult to operate than a PowerPoint or a mobile app—and much more impactful. Realtor.com® has reported that listings with virtual real estate 360 tours receive 87% more views than those with still photos alone. That’s a huge advantage when you can lead stunning 360 tours with a couple of mouse clicks or even from the palm of your hand.
All it takes to control the tour is a mouse or touch-screen to rotate the 360 tour view, and a few clicks to move from room to room (i.e., from panorama to panorama). VR goggles can also make for a truly immersive experience if your chosen service provides them. They aren’t difficult to use, either. Just think of the goggles as an alternative computer screen.
Real estate 360 tours are a sleek alternative to live tours in a time when prospects and decision-makers are hesitant to leave home. But they also save time and money more generally. A report from Property Week found that virtual 360 tours have reduced the number of wasted viewings by 40%.
Rejections after live tours take a considerable toll on time and resources (to arrange, travel, and individually handle each tour that doesn’t sell). Virtual tours, by contrast, let your prospects carefully inspect a location before any physical effort is invested.
A quality VR tour differentiates you from the competition and gets the most possible mileage out of your investment. You can save a lot by allowing the warmest prospects to self-filter. Consider the ongoing value of an asset such as this tour of a commercial space:
The turnaround time from the moment a photographer arrives to an end product like this can be incredibly fast—often only a matter of days. Each provider will be different. And of course, the more immersive the experience, the more time your provider will spend on creating the details. It’s even possible to render moving 3D animations in the panoramas (people and cars walking by), add ambient sounds, and other features and details if you like.
For example, check out this real estate 360 visualization of a streetscape in the city of Watsonville. Tangram 3DS has embedded guided audio narration, ambient SFX, and animated vehicles, birds, and pedestrian traffic into the VR 360 panorama. These sights and sounds truly immerse you in the experience.
Best of all, they’ll do the job before, during, and after COVID-19 has run its course. Whether you opt for intricate animations like Watsonville, or simply for attractive marketing panoramas like the Skygarden, real estate 360 tours will give your properties their best look.