Guest Author: Paula Hernandez
When virtual tours were a shiny new sales tactic, the cost was high enough that it was only realistic for real estate agents selling multi-million dollar, ultra-high-end listings. The price tag was worth it because the tours were so effective, but it wasn’t realistic for all homes on the market.
The good news is that virtual tours have stayed just as impactful for selling homes, but the cost of creating them has dramatically dropped.
With some easily accessible gear, you’ll be on your way to using real estate photography to make your first virtual tour.
Choose Your Equipment
Video tours use a compilation of photos taken with a 360-degree camera to create a seamless video tour that simulates an in-person walkthrough.
There are a variety of brands and styles of 360-degree cameras on the market these days, and what one works best for you will depend on a couple of important factors.
First, your budget. Camera technology has come a long way in the past several years, meaning you don’t need to spend the big bucks to get a high-quality final product.
There will be some noticeable differences as you go from entry-level cameras in the $300 to $500 price range to high-end cameras that can be well over $10,000 or more.
Second, consider how much you’ll use the camera and equipment. If you’re planning to do a video tour for each client, spending more initially may be a worthy investment.
Conversely, choosing less expensive gear is a wise option if you want to test the waters before committing to multiple video tours.
Despite the dropping costs and rising quality of 360-degree video gear, it does still come with a price tag. If you’re planning on privately listing, where you sell your house without a real estate agent, you can still create a virtual tour.
If you’re feeling creative and want to invest in video gear to re-sell, you can offset some of the cost for one-time use.
Choose Your Platform
Virtual real estate tours are simple to edit and host if you choose the right platform.
An app or a website will let you upload files from your camera, edit, and give you a link to the final product that potential buyers can use to see the tour.
Some platforms will offer premade templates for virtual home tours, which reduces the editing you have to do even more. Drop your files in, choose your template, and the platform will edit and process them.
For private sellers, check out platforms that have a free trial period. If you’re only creating and hosting one video, you may be able to leverage a free trial to save costs while ticking another task off your home-selling checklist.
Photography and Light
Lighting is a critical part of great real estate photography. For video tours, this element includes photography lighting and taking videos at multiple exposure levels, so you can edit them together in your final product to create the most polished look.
With the right editing platform, this isn’t as tricky as it sounds!
Most major online marketplaces and local photography stores sell inexpensive lighting kits that are wonderful options to get you started. Editing can help you correct lighting issues, but starting with a well-lit space is much simpler.
Another handy tip for leveling up your videos is to use a virtual room design app to give you inspiration for things you can do using the furniture and decor items in the home in the best way.
Making minor adjustments to pieces in the home can make a significant visual impact without investing in a staging company.
Upload the Tour
Once you have your video taken on your 360-degree camera, it’s time to upload it to your chosen platform for editing and publishing.
Depending on the type of camera you use and your internet connection, you can expect this to take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours for more complex, high-resolution video.
When your video is uploaded, you can begin the editing process. Be kind to yourself when you’re getting started — you’ll get faster and better at editing virtual tours in no time.
When you’re done editing and feeling great about your virtual walkthrough, take the link your platform will create for you and add it to your MLS listing and promote it elsewhere. More on that below!
One of the golden rules of marketing content creation is that if you don’t tell people about your content, it will just sit there with no audience.
The last thing you want is for your careful planning, camera work, and editing to go unnoticed, so once you complete your video, be sure to promote it!
Doing this can mean posting on personal or professional social media accounts, and adding a link to a newsletter.
Or even investing in having it played on advertising screens, like the ones often seen in the seatbacks of taxi cabs and restaurant restrooms.
Other Selling Tips
Buying, selling, and moving houses is a complicated process. But you can do many things to make your life simpler, whether you’re a real estate agent or homeowner.
- Plan ahead — Almost everything to do with home sales will go more smoothly if you plan accordingly. From creating video tours to booking movers, giving yourself as much lead time as possible will help avoid stress.
- Leverage your network — Sharing your virtual home tour and real estate listing with your network is a great way to get the word out. Share your news on social media, and ask your network to share it. Pretty quickly, you can exponentially multiply the number of people who see your home for sale.
- Use a staging company — People pay staging companies to come into an empty home on the market and bring furniture and decor that will appeal to the target buyers. So much perceived value relies on first impressions that having a well-staged home can make a huge difference in your sales value.
- Keep the design simple — If you’re a real estate agent making recommendations to a client or a homeowner looking for tips to increase your market value, the best choice is to keep things simple. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color allows potential buyers to picture how they would design the space, whereas strong colors and design features can be distracting.
Adding a new element to your real estate marketing can be daunting. Still, with some planning and preparation, you can incorporate video tours into your routine without disrupting your busy schedule.
Before you know it, it’ll be lights, camera, sold!