Virtual Tours – Why You Need Them
Virtual tours are a must for every real estate listing. In today’s market 80% of people looking for a new home are doing it online. It is extremely frustrating when you go to see a listing of a property that sounds fantastic, but there are no photos or virtual tour to show the layout of the home, the colors, the cleanliness, the style, etc virtual tours . I am actually suspicious of homes that do not use virtual tours or photos. What are they trying to hide? I personally do not want to drive clear across town to see a home that sounds great on paper but is horrible in reality.
There are basically 2 reasons why an agent does not have a tour done on one of his/her listings. The main reason is they don’t understand the value of the tour, and their seller is inexperienced and doesn’t understand the value either. The second reason is the agent is trying to stay on a budget and tries to cut costs in every possible way. Unfortunately, when money is the issue, the seller suffers and the agent usually suffers because the house sits on the market longer and the seller is not a happy camper to work with.
Many brokers require their agents to do virtual tours on all their listings, yet many agents do not understand the value of this. The agents are basically doing the tour because it is free to them. Since those agents do not appreciate the value, they do not properly market the tour in all their advertising endeavors.
I personally know Real Estate Agents who do a virtual tour on every listing they take no matter how low or how high the listing price is. After having the tour done, they make sure that all of their advertising materials show the tour address, web site address, etc. so anyone viewing the advertisement can immediately have access to the photos and tour if they are online.
One thing that always perplexes me is that some agents order virtual tours and then do not promote them. I review many real estate magazines in our area, and I see agents using beautiful pictures to promote their listing, but they never mention their virtual tour in the ad. With consumers looking for Internet information, it amazes me that agents do not cross advertise.
Advertising rarely stands alone, but works synergistically with other marketing methods. If you are advertising in a newspaper or magazine, you should provide links that would ultimately drive traffic to your web site and virtual tour.
Another way to advertise the virtual tour is through yard signs. When an agent acquires a listing, he/she should place a rider on their lawn sign that says check out our virtual tour online. Every flyer placed in the “Take One” boxes should also have the web site address of the virtual tour and make mention that a virtual tour is online. Many people drive through neighborhoods on their own taking flyers and checking out homes. Those flyers that have beautiful photos and an web site address to view additional photos and a virtual tour are the ones that will be kept for later when the home buyer is at their computer.
If you compare a virtual tour with a business card, you can summarize that if you keep the cards in the box, they will not do you any good. Cards only bring business back to you when they are utilized by the agent and given to as many people as possible. Yet agents spend thousands every day on websites that few consumers see. The agents that don’t market their website, do not see results and therefore conclude that websites don’t work. and tours won’t work either.
If a virtual tour is a tool to help promote a listing, then it stands to reason that broadcasting this is the best way to use it.
Some of the most effective ways to use these are:
- On an agent’s personal website
- Used for listing presentations that illustrate what the agent can do to market the home online and to show where the home will be marketed online, i.e. Realtor.com, MLS, franchise websites, personal websites, newspaper and other media sites.
- Email alerts – to inform prospects and other Realtors of new listings
- Email signature lines
- The address posted in an agents newsletter
- As a competitive edge in marketing – that all the agent”s listings get a virtual tour regardless of the home’s price
- Sign riders to invite drive-by consumers to the agents website
- “Just Listed” cards and “Just Sold” cards
In conclusion, skilled real estate agents know how to use virtual tours to full advantage, making them into a tool that distinguishes their marketing from their competitors.