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Women in Real Estate: From Tours to Detours to 3D Tours
Women have been in the real estate game since the late 1800s. This long line of strong working women has seen it all, or at least a good part of the all when it comes to pay gaps, glass ceilings, "the good ol' boys club," and more. Women have succeeded in making the real estate industry one of the best professions to build a life from, but it has not been without trials and tribulations along the way. There are still a few obstacles that require close attention, diligent planning, and more than a second thought. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly, and "what to do about it now" situations that every female Realtor needs to pay attention to. How Safe Is It to Be a Woman Realtor? Back in the day, a cold call was exactly that—pick up the telephone and try to persuade the person on the other end to meet up to discuss the possibility of listing their property for sale. Showing up to tour an unfamiliar home was the only way to get a listing. Every lesson about not talking to or meeting up with strangers was tossed out the window at this point. The way to sign the deal was to arrange a time and arrive at the alien residence ready to measure up the place. Listing signed, good job, next order of business, an open house or two, and schedule showings with some anonymous callers. But what about safety? Technology, like 3D tours, virtual tours, and accurate floor plan tools, did not exist when many women began their real estate careers. It was and still can be a scary, often life-changing experience to encounter stranger after stranger just to earn a living. Fortunately, today there are better ways to pre-qualify a buyer and limit risks. So how do women real estate professionals protect themselves from the possibility of assaults while performing their duties? Start with a facelift. Only use professional headshots on business-related accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other online media. You don't want to attract unnecessary attention, which does not drive business. Use the online platform for what it is designed for – real estate marketing and virtual tours. Share the Focus with a Real Estate Photographer Hiring someone to do your real estate photography can help prevent some risky situations. Square footage calculations, floor plans, and 360° tours can all be done during the photoshoot for your listing. Consumers get online access to all the specifications about a particular property without ever having to set foot in the home. Virtual open houses are a perfect way to showcase a home without having to sit in an empty space by yourself for the better part of the afternoon. Statistics show that sitting in an open house alone can be unsafe and often dangerous. Always consider safety in your working environment whenever possible. Work in teams, notify someone of your whereabouts, make sure your communication devices are sending/receiving correctly, and speak up if you feel uncomfortable in any situation. Given the challenging circumstances, you may ask yourself why women outnumber men when choosing real estate as a profession? The Glass Ceiling Is a Moonroof. If You Choose to Open It, The Sky's the Limit. According to NAR, women make up 67% of all Realtors, and the typical age is 54. That means there are about 1,300,000 women Realtors as of 2020. Why do women find the profession of Realtor so attractive? Perhaps the flexible schedule, high potential earnings, and the challenges of the industry are a big draw for them. Real estate careers offer opportunities to work alongside peers, both male and female, without having to struggle with the pay gap that many industries face today. Because the income is based on commissions, and commissions are determined by dedication to the profession, the only real competition is against yourself. The sky's the limit because, in real estate, the glass ceiling is actually an opening moonroof. When real estate courses were developed many years ago, everyone was taught how to create floor plans, add room dimensions, and use square footage calculations correctly. With current property tech tools like virtual tours, 3D tours, and some excellent real estate photography, it is much easier today. Armed with the most accurate measurement tools of the trade, being your own boss and sharing your experiences with other women leads to a fulfilling career individually, as well as collectively. Women have come a long way since 1910 when the first woman officially was permitted to join the National Association of Realtors. Today, there are some great organizations like the Women's Council of Realtors that champion women in the real estate profession. Female Realtors certainly have traversed some steep boundaries to get where they are today and have an equal playing field in real estate. Whether working in left field, right field, or center field, it's the collaboration, inspiration, and dedication that make all the difference. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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How to Create a Virtual Tour
They're increasingly popular and incredibly effective: virtual tours are changing the real estate landscape and the way potential buyers research properties. While there's no doubting their effectiveness, for many agents, the idea of creating a virtual tour can seem pretty daunting, time-consuming and expensive--but it doesn't have to be that way. Unsure of what we mean by virtual tour? Check out an example tour here. In this blog, we're going to walk you through how to create a virtual tour—from understanding which camera and tripod to buy to shooting the property, having the images edited and building the tour itself. And the best part? You don't have to be tech-savvy or spend a fortune on expensive equipment. So let's get started! Step 1: Which 360 Camera and Tripod to Buy While technology is constantly changing and new awesome products are continually being released, currently, we can't go past the Ricoh Theta Z1 camera for quality. If you're shopping on a budget or just want to dip your toe in the water, you could also try the Ricoh Theta V. When it comes to the tripod, we recommend the Neewer light stand, which will set you back just $40. This stand is sturdy and won't easily fall over unlike many more expensive monopods on the market today. We also use the Neewer ball-head attachment between the tripod and the 360° camera to make it easier to get the angle right when shooting on sloped surfaces. Step 2: Setting Up Your 360° Camera This step is going to vary depending on the camera you're using. However, there are some universal settings which we can get started with. The first step for all cameras will be to pair it with your smartphone using the dedicated app the camera comes with. Set your ISO to the lowest number possible. In the case of the Ricoh Theta Z1, this will be 100. Always avoid setting your ISO on high or leaving it on 'automatic' as this will likely produce a grainy image. As with the ISO, set your image size or resolution to the highest setting possible. Again, for the Ricoh, this is 6720 x 3360. Some cameras will give you the option to turn on the HDR function. This will make a massive difference to the detail and clarity of the shot. Step 3: How to Prepare the Property This might sound like a no-brainer, but it's amazing the difference these simple tricks can make to the final result. Always turn on all the lights, including the kitchen rangehood, and straighten the furniture and bed spreads. We recommend you open up all the doors, curtains and blinds to create a sense of space and flow in the shot. By removing any unnecessary clutter, you can help create a clean and inviting home. This can include things like bath mats, shampoo bottles and bins, etc. Less is always more when it comes to real estate photography. If you'd like to learn more about preparing a property to be shot, you can check out our FREE Pre-Photography Checklist. Step 4: How to Shoot a Property with a 360° Camera Now that the house is prepared, it's time to get to the fun part – shooting the property. We're all time-poor and efficiency is important, so to get started, place the camera in the center of the room making sure the tripod is sturdy. Hide out of frame and then use your phone to scan around the room and ensure the shot looks good and nothing is in the way. If you find the image is too bright or dark, simply adjust your exposure value accordingly so it looks good to the eye. Then press the shutter to take the photo. Important note: if you're new to 360° photography, just be aware the image looks stretched out compared to a conventional photo. This is completely normal. Once you've done the first room, repeat this process throughout the house. Be sure to capture key areas like the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and outdoor areas, but also don't forget the hallways. This helps to create a consistent flow in the virtual tour. Depending on the property, this process should only take roughly 20 minutes. If you'd like to learn more about capturing window detail and how to use bracketing in your virtual tours, you can visit our previous blog here. Step 5: Getting Your Images Edited Having the 360° images edited is not essential in the creation of a virtual tour, but it is highly recommended. From just $4 an image, BoxBrownie.com's team of professional editors can green up the grass, replace the skies and remove any unnecessary items. As you can see below, editing makes a huge difference to the finished product and can help showcase your listing in the best possible light. To have your images edited, you simply have to log in to BoxBrownie.com and choose '360° Image Enhancement.' Then upload your images and submit your job. The images will be edited by our team of professional editors and sent back to you within 24 hours. It's that simple. Step 6: Building Your Virtual Tour Now this is where the magic happens, but don't worry—we will handle all the hard work for you. Log in to BoxBrownie.com and select '360° Virtual Tours.' Upload your images and be sure to name each image with the area that is captured, i.e., kitchen. You also have the option to upload the property's floorplan which can show in the final product in the bottom left corner. Once you've uploaded all your images, simply select 'Submit' and you're done. Within 24 hours of submitting, you'll receive a link to your very own and completely interactive virtual tour. Your potential buyers can click from hotspot to hotspot while also having the option to spin around and virtually inspect each room. If you've also uploaded a floorplan, you can select to view it from the tour or you can jump from room to room based on the thumbnail images. You can share the link anywhere from social media to your email and, of course, your MLS or property portal. Conclusion And there you have it. It really is as simple as that. As we've shown you in this blog, creating a professional virtual tour for your listing doesn't have to be an expensive, time consuming or difficult task. In case you missed it earlier, here's an example of a completed tour to give you a feel for how your own tour could look. If you've never created a virtual tour before, why not get started at BoxBrownie.com? Or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at [email protected] BoxBrownie.com is currently offering a free virtual staging edit (worth $32) to every RE Technology member (new accounts only). This offer does expire on September 18, 2020. Click here to claim your free virtual staging edit. To view the original article, visit the BoxBrownie blog.
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Tips for Launching a Virtual Open House
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Real Estate Technology to the Rescue: iGUIDE Virtual Showing is a Free Tool to Assist with Physical Distancing
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate has been considered essential in most areas. This has meant that real estate agents have had to adapt some of their regular practices to accommodate social distancing and less in-person contact. Technology has been a life-saver during these past few months where we have been encouraged to #stayhome – from work, from school and away from family and friends. Social media platform use has skyrocketed, video chatting software platforms have seen exponential growth, we are consuming more media and, at the very least, we are using text messaging and video chatting to keep in touch personally and professionally. On June 17, Planitar, maker of the iGUIDE, announced the release of a free feature called iGUIDE Virtual Showing to help those buying and selling homes stay safe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is releasing a key partnership with floorplanner later next week, and virtual staging abilities were announced earlier this spring.   The company's iGUIDE technology already creates 3D tours of homes that buyers can tour virtually, without the risk of spreading germs. This new feature allows agents to guide homebuyers through the tour together as if they were conducting an in-person tour. This screen-sharing technology showcases the virtual tour smoothly, so there's no interruptions or confusion over which feature participants are discussing. Homebuyers will no longer have to choose between having the expert guidance of their agent and following safety protocols. Michael Vervena, VP of Sales and Marketing at iGUIDE, says this technology will help homebuyers move confidently in the homebuying process, and will also benefit real estate agents. "For a Realtor, showing a property means communicating the best and most relevant information about that property to prospective buyers or to other agents. iGUIDE Virtual Showing empowers Realtors to do that online. It connects people with the information they are looking for while maintaining the role and value of the Realtor to give guidance and advice," he said. Real estate agents can host the tour and invite their clients through text, email, or social media. In Ontario, iGUIDE can be imported directly into BrokerBay's online bookings through the MLS with participating brokerages. They can then guide the tour and talk to their client through a compatible voice client such as Zoom, Facebook, GoToMeeting or Google Meet. While the technology has obvious application during a pandemic, it has other uses as well. Home buyers have modified their wishlist for their next property purchase. With this guided virtual tour, those who can't easily visit the homes they intend to purchase in person can experience the home as if they are in it with their real estate agent before they make their final decision—COVID or no COVID. Provinces and states across North America are slowly re-opening (or closing again), so the only thing that is clear is that the future is uncertain. Regardless of what continues to unfold in the coming months, real estate has changed. Virtual showings are here to stay, along with many other key technologies that have helped us get through recent challenging circumstances and will help us get through whatever lies ahead. For more information, please visit goiguide.com/virtual-showing. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Your Guide to Hosting Virtual Open Houses
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I Can't Quite Picture It: Why virtual staging has taken the real estate world by storm
We've all seen those HGTV show--the ones where the perky designers turn a total dump into a shiplap palace, complete with cozy furniture, crackling fire, and tray of cupcakes on the counter. Recently, thanks to some Realtor friends who shall remain nameless, I have learned a few things about how those shows really work. Spoiler alert – they don't get to keep the furniture. In fact, they don't get to keep anything other than the house itself. In real estate talk, those homes are staged, y'all. In the biz, staging means that furniture, art, rugs, and lamps have been added to make the empty house feel like a home. And you know what? It works. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 83% of buyers' agents say staging makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Not only that, but one-quarter of buyer's agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged. The downside of staging is that it can be pricey, with costs ranging in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Not to mention, you have to move the actual furniture in and out. Ugh. (Anyone else remembering the couch moving episode from Friends? PIVOT!) But there is another option. Virtual staging has become a big business in recent years, and has grown from cheap cut-and-paste jobs to gorgeous, realistic renderings that are highly appealing to buyers. Take this property, for example. Before virtual staging: After virtual staging: Photos courtesy Tiffany Kjellander, Better Homes & Gardens Porchlight Properties Tiffany Kjellander, of New Jersey based Better Homes & Gardens Porchlight Properties, uses virtual staging whenever she lists a home. "Virtual staging is a big differentiator for me," she says. "It's an absolute must on every home I help to sell – no matter the price point. We've had clients even use virtual staging for foreclosures to help investors see the possible end result." According to Stacie Staub of West + Main homes in Denver, CO, "Virtual staging has made all of the difference for listings that we knew wouldn't stay on the market long enough to make traditional staging worth the time or investment. This technology has come such a long way since the days of amateurish furniture photoshopped on top of vacant rooms." And it's not just about marketing. Many buyers suffer from an acute lack of imagination when it comes to mentally moving into a home. Buyers are constantly asking, "Where will my furniture go and how will I use this room?" (Random fact: some people are actually unable to picture things in their heads. Aphantasia is a real thing!) "Virtual staging has had a huge impact on many of my listings, especially ones with really odd layouts," says Katie Clancy of The Cape House at William Raevis Real Estate. "When a buyer can't picture what to do with a space, the virtual staging solves the problem. Once the buyer can visualize the potential function of a space, they are one step closer to making it theirs." One of the biggest draws of virtual staging? The price. It runs a fraction of the cost of actual staging, and requires no actual lugging of couches or beds into or out of the home. "Organizing and staging a home with furnishings and accessories isn't always convenient or cost effective," Heather Elias, of LoCo Real Estate in Virginia says. "Virtual staging gives potential buyers a glimpse into how it would look with furniture and accessories, but without the time and financial investment of physically staging each space." As a cost effective and easy way to make a buyer feel at home, one thing is for sure – virtual staging is definitely here to stay. There is one small downside, however. Just like on those HGTV shows, you don't get to keep the furniture. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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3 Ways to Make Open Houses One of Your Most Valuable Marketing Tools
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Simple, Proven Tips for Breaking through with Virtual Open Houses
Virtual open houses are here to stay! They provide a great way for consumers to view a whole slew of houses before they decide which ones they would like to see in person. A virtual open house allows an agent to demonstrate their selling skills and highlight every strong feature of the property they are representing. And a virtual open houses even helps the environment and keeps homeowners and potential buyers safer—win, win all the way around! Patty McNease, VP of Marketing at Homes.com, shared some simple, but effective ways to make your virtual open houses the best they can be during a recent Coffee Chat. Here are three key takeaways to help you become an expert at virtual open houses: 1. Get high quality, yet affordable equipment Patty recommends investing in some core photography equipment that will make your life a whole lot easier: Tripod – They make it a lot easier to hold the camera steady and avoid the jumpiness you sometimes see in videos. She recommends the UBeesize Tripod S, available on Amazon for $21.99. Microphone – Patty also recommends a lavalier microphone you can attach to your clothing to keep your hands free, also available at Amazon here for $25.99. 2. Tips for better virtual tours Create a shot list Angles matter Start outside or at the home's best feature Natural viewpoints Lighting Time of day Lights on/off Stage furniture/objects Show off outside spaces Clean! Conform to MLS rules for branding 3. Tips for virtual open houses Test software before you go live or host a tour Practice (your route in the house, etc.) Create a story Prepare questions to answer about the home Dress the part Open all doors prior to starting Open the platform a minimum of five minutes before start time Start at the best feature OR on the outside of the house with the door open Walk slowly and talk clearly If on Facebook, use a public setting If possible, record the event Watch the full recording here: Don't Miss These Upcoming Coffee Chats! Monday, June 8 Learn all about the new Virtual Real Estate Certification with Verl Workman of Workman Success Systems Tuesday, June 9 Virtual Listing Presentations with the New Cloud CMA Live with Greg Robertson of W+R Studios Wednesday, June 10 How to Become a Listing Boss with Hoss Pratt Thursday, June 11 Communication: The 'OneKey' to a Successful Launch with Jim Speer of OneKey MLS Friday, June 12 The Shift: Leaning into Technology and Data to Market-Proof Your Business with Sheldon Rapoza of Market Leader If you would like us to sign you up for all upcoming coffee chats, email [email protected] and she will get you signed up. If you would like to get notifications every time a Coffee Chat recording is published, subscribe to our YouTube channel, RETechnologyInc. Then hit the bell next to the Subscribe button and receive notifications every time we publish new educational videos. Get Recordings of All Coffee Chats If you would like to binge watch all of the Coffee Chat recordings, click here. If you would like a FREE 3-month trial of RE Technology, go to retechnology.com, click Create Account and then use one of these coupon codes: COVID-19A COVID-19B COVID-19M
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Selling a Property Online? Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Tours
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5 Reasons to Safeguard Your Seller With Virtual Tours
Safety is not a trend, it's a necessity. Home sellers put an enormous amount of trust in you, their real estate agent, to ensure their property gets exposure to prospective buyers while providing safeguards against mishaps. Protecting your clients against safety concerns when implementing your real estate marketing plan is and always has been a top priority. Your clients value privacy, cleanliness, flexible schedules, and security. When considering your real estate marketing plan now and in the future, you need to re-consider how you provide your services while giving your seller a safety net. 1. Trust The seller trusts that when they take the leap to put their home for sale, their Realtor will provide their safety net. A substantial amount of trust is placed in the real estate agent to protect the seller and their belongings against potential theft, security breaches, and disruption of their lives. The process of physically showing properties and hosting regular open houses lends itself to many possible hazards. Sellers need to feel confident in how their property is presented and they want to minimize risk. 2. Restricted Access It is not always easy to restrict access to every person who enters a home and much more difficult to monitor access during an open house. People tend to scatter into different spaces within the home, unaccompanied and unrestrained. Theft can, and does, occur; a small-time thief, posing as a buyer, can make off with great grandma's wedding rings from the top dresser drawer. Out of sight does not always mean out of pocket. This type of incident can be reduced by using current technology. You can increase traffic to your listing as well as reduce risk by incorporating online virtual tours in place of an open house. 3. Germ Free It's not just petty theft that causes safety concerns. The likelihood of germs and viruses spreading to multiple surfaces increases with the volume of people entering a home. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons you may want to re-think your real estate marketing plan. Health concerns are valid and you can provide a way to ease home owner's stress. How can you give your seller the confidence they desire and still get their home sold? Use tools available to you like high quality real estate photography and 3D tours. Allowing virtual access to a listing decreases foot traffic while increasing qualified leads. 4. Reasons to Sell While postponing listing their house may be an option for some sellers, the necessity to sell their home may be the top priority for others. External factors such as a loss of employment or entering a new phase of life with the need to downsize means the sale must go on. Help your client get comfortable with the listing process by giving them all the benefits of current technology, including 360° tours. The seller's journey can take a new road, definitely, one less traveled. Stop disrupting the weekends with open houses and start using a real estate marketing plan that works. What is the best way to limit the sheer volume of traffic in and out of a seller's property and still produce the desired results? Use an online platform to support the way buyers want to browse through a listing. 5. No Risky Business Give your seller the peace of mind they need by using virtual tours to market their home. Providing a 360° tour of a property gives everyone access 24 hours a day. Imagine, you get to host an open house without using signs, brochures, business cards, and without bothering the seller. When a property can be visited multiple times from a cell phone, laptop or computer, it's like offering insurance against the perils of home selling. By limiting the number of inconveniences caused by physical visits, you also limit risky behaviour. Aside from the convenience and safety benefits, using online real estate marketing reaches potential buyers quickly. More than 80% of buyers start their search for a home by using an app. So if you are not taking advantage of this technology, you are doing a disservice to your client and opening their doors too often to unnecessary risks. Some losses you can recover from through your local real estate association's insurance policies, but limiting your client's liability is a no-brainer. Take the leap into virtual tours for real estate marketing—the net is already here. To view the original article, visit the iGUIDE blog.
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Jump into Digital Marketing Right Now to Fill that Buyer Funnel
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Video Tours: How to Have Confidence in Front of the Camera
Video marketing has become a more vital tool for real estate sales associates than ever before, as the coronavirus disrupts how the real estate industry normally does business. But speaking on camera can also be intimidating, especially if you haven't done it before. Nobody handles video marketing flawlessly the first time they try, and that's okay! With the right tips and a bit of practice, your intelligence, integrity, and honesty will shine through for your audience to see.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Homesnap Stories for Virtual Tours
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Pivot Traditional Showings and Open Houses to Virtual Experiences
We live in a different world, but that has not stopped buyers and sellers from wanting to engage with the real estate market. The economic realities of the COVID-19 crisis are giving some sellers reason to close the deal, and many buyers see "shelter in place" orders as motivation to find a home that they truly love. While coronavirus precautions have made it impossible to conduct business in the traditional way in many markets, innovative sales associates are pivoting to virtual showings and open houses to keep business moving.
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Real Estate: The Virtual Way
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Video Tours: Buyer Tested, Social Distance Approved
Listing photos are a great way to highlight the best and most important features of a home, but the showing is when buyers get a true feeling for whether or not they want to purchase a particular home. Showing a home is one of the most important steps in selling, but arranging a time when the house can be clean, the sellers can be out, and the buyers and their agent can view can be a handful. However, a lot of the logistics involved with showing your listings can be solved by creating a video tour. With a video tour, buyers and agents can get a good feel of a house without interrupting the homeowner or current renter. It also helps promote safe physical distance and reduces the opportunity to spread germs.
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BoxBrownie Now Offering 360° Virtual Reality Tour Platform
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Real Estate Is Now Considered an Essential Service According to U.S. Government
On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its list of essential services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and expressly included residential real estate. The order now includes residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, as essential services. However, if a state, city or county has an order with a more restrictive standard regarding what qualifies as an essential service, or more restrictions on activities, those guidelines will still govern the activities of a licensee. Here's the official notification in you want to read it in full.
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How Proptech Is Helping to Keep Businesses Going During the Coronavirus Outbreak
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With 3D Tours, Properties Sell Up to 31% Faster and at a Higher Price
For the past five years, agents and brokers worldwide have used the Matterport 3D virtual walkthrough to differentiate their real estate services and bring the concept of a 24/7 virtual open house into the mainstream. Now, preliminary results from two separate studies indicate that listings with a Matterport 3D virtual walkthrough sell for a higher price and can spend less time on market than homes listed using a traditional marketing package.
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Growing Your Business with Advanced Virtual Tours
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3D Walk-throughs Aren't Just for Listings: Capture These 6 Local Spaces to Boost Engagement and Business Opportunity
As a real estate professional, a meaningful connection to your community is vital to the success of your business. But we know you've heard the same advice on the subject over and over--host events, be a source of community information, volunteer, etc. Today, however, we're going to introduce you to a high-tech way to connect to your local market--and, bonus, it's sure to dazzle and engage consumers in your area. That strategy? Capturing community spaces in 3D walk-throughs. Not only does this help relocating buyers become more familiar (not to mention creating sight-unseen opportunities) with your community, but it also adds confidence and comfort to the home search through knowledge of local establishments, helping real estate consumers decide which neighborhood suits them best. "Increasingly, especially when we're talking about suburban redevelopment, you're not only choosing the house, you're choosing the neighborhood and the places that are part of that neighborhood," says Charles Nitschke, Chief Integration Officer, Sotheby's Tomlinson Group. Nitschke is part of a growing group of savvy real estate professionals around the country who are tapping into the power of Matterport's technology to capture three-dimensional models, or "digital twins," of various community establishments and businesses in their market areas. Here are examples of six local spaces you can capture in your community to boost consumer engagement, lead generation and awareness of your real estate brand. Schools So you've got school ratings, school district zoning, and other information on your real estate website. That's a great start, but you can take things to a whole other level by including 3D walk throughs of those schools where people can virtually experience and learn about the facility for themselves. Nitschke finds that this is especially useful for markets with colleges or universities. "[Institutions] are tremendously interested in being able to show off their space to attract students, to be able to walk the parents and students through the facility, to get comfortable with it before they start travelling to narrow down their final school selection." After scanning their first school, Nitschke's brokerage, Sotheby's Tomlinson Group, approached another. Next summer, they will scan Idaho College's athletic department and then scale out into dorms, classrooms, and eventually the whole college. The 3D scan will be available on the college's website and on their brokerage's site, said Nitschke. "It's a big part of becoming that digital mayor, becoming that tour guide for the community." Local art galleries Lisa Larkin is the designated broker for RE/MAX Select in Tucson, Ariz., and she has long understood the power of co-branding with influential local figures. For years, her team has worked with Diana Madaras, a high-profile local artist, to host client appreciation events at her gallery, license her art on their marketing materials, and more. When Larkin and her team discovered Matterport, they offered to scan a new gallery space she had just purchased so that she could put it on her website. It's now featured prominently on her site's front page. They put the scan on their website too, under a relocation tab where people new to Tucson could see different places and businesses around town. The result is mutually beneficial: real estate consumers learn of an important local artist, and art consumers learn about a local real estate company that's differentiating themselves through the use of innovative technology. Event and recreational spaces Microbreweries are a big trend across the country, and they tend to attract a savvy, upwardly mobile clientele—an ideal real estate customer. A new agent at Sotheby's Tomlinson Group captured a local brewery as a way to break into the market and to introduce himself to the owner of the brewery. That introduction led him to listing the owner's house when the owner decided it was time to downsize. Theaters, concert venues, gyms, and other similar spaces are also excellent candidates for 3D reality capture. These popular locations service what equates to a large audience every year, many of whom will visit their website where your Matterport scan is located. That means this untapped audience will have the chance to see your 3D digital twin on a consistent basis and the opportunity to learn about your real estate business. Places of worship Sotheby's Tomlinson Group parlayed their digital twins of local schools into an opportunity to scan a 60,000 sq. ft. mega church and its 60,000 sq. ft. athletic facility. Along with building awareness for their brand, the scan is also connecting their community to church-facilitated services that they may not have otherwise known existed, such as substance abuse and domestic violence programs. "If you were to walk into this large church, try to figure out where to go to find those services, to familiarize yourself with what's available, or even to get the process started, it would be an intimidating process to go down that road," says Nitschke. The digital twins of the church helps community members understand what's offered, where to go within the church, and how to reach out. The church is even leveraging Matterport "Mattertags," to embed digital media (in this case video) into their digital twins. Every week, they add their sermons in a Mattertag for people who missed the service or want to listen again. Your office While creating 3D digital twins of local spaces is a great form of passive marketing, let's not forget one very important space you should also capture—your office. "It's fantastic to send out to clients so that they know where they're going to be going, where they're going to be meeting and take some of the apprehension out of that process," says Nitschke. Unlike your office, the digital twin is available 24/7, and it can help current and potential clients feel more comfortable with your business. Sotheby's Tomlinson Group has also scanned their title company and has future plans to scan their mortgage vendor's office, too. "When the consumer is getting ready to go to closing day, they're able to navigate the building where the title company is so they know where to go from the parking garage to the title company, what the reception desk looks like, what the conference room that they're going to be signing in looks like. It just takes a lot of that stress out of an already stressful situation by being able to walk them through," says Nitschke. How Can I Get Started? We've talked about capturing some very big, important spaces in your community. If that seems intimidating, it isn't. Starting with local businesses you're already familiar with will streamline the partnering process, but creating the digital twin itself is really quite simple. It's a natural step in building relationships for an industry that relies on that ability. "I'm finding the more that we get involved in these community spaces that are incredibly important to how and why and where people choose to live, the relationships start to build on one another," says Nitschke. "Shooting this facility ends up leading to an introduction to somebody to shoot another facility, and so we're kind of growing very naturally through collecting these spaces." Once you've captured your first community space, be sure to put it on your website and promote it wherever you can. Lisa Larkin's brokerage, RE/MAX Select, has even created a website dedicated solely to 3D tours of local spaces, as well as a Facebook page for that website. An easily accessible collection of 3D digital twins of community spaces also helps real estate consumers get a better sense of what a neighborhood's all about—far better than traditional real estate tools and MLS data can. Traditional tools offer "no depth to what a community is all about, and this allows us to give them a much better idea of what the difference is between some of these neighborhoods," says Nitschke. For more in-depth information about capturing community spaces, including marketing strategies, check out our recent webinar here. And try Matterport yourself with your free Matterport account to get started with 3D differentiation.
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4 Things to Consider When Evaluating Advanced Virtual Tours
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How 3D Tech Is Ensuring Accuracy and Transparency in the Transaction
A residential property was measured and photographed. The living room looked big enough to fit the new owner's suite of antique furniture. The staging photos certainly made it look like the right size. What's the worst that could happen? It's a story all to familiar to most and, as it turns out, a good deal can go wrong. Staging photos can give the impression of more space. Eyeballing a room's size (no surprise) isn't the most reliable system of measurement. Even legacy floor plans can prove to be suspect. There is no substitute for an accurate representation of the space itself, and physically being there has been the only way to get it—that is, until now.
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Virtual Tours: The New Qualification Tool
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Sell That Listing Using Virtual Reality
It seems that there are always new ways to sell your client's home. It started with listing books, and then taking great photos of the home. Soon after, effective agents produced video tours of their listings. And now there is a new way to showcase your clients' listings: virtual reality. There are plenty of ways that using virtual reality can help you sell your client's home. Hopefully, after reading some of the helpful tips we have for you, you'll feel ready to use virtual reality in your real estate business.
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Is Your 3D Property Tour TRULY 3D?
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Efficiency in the Closing Process with 3D Tours
Taking a property listing from posting to closing can be a complicated process. Creating efficiencies in each step can be simple and is essential to completing it with consistent success Whether you're an agent or client, the process of listing a home and searching for one is a multi-stage effort. This is something we realize at The Kite Team as a part of the larger Keller Williams Infinity Group, and in our first post of this series we covered maximizing the client and agent connection where they meet in the first stage of closing a deal.
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3 Lazy Listing Tours to Stand Out as the Expert Agent
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Kendall Jenner's House in 3D: How virtual walkthroughs give A-list celebrities anonymity
How do celebrities move home so secretly? Let's face it, they don't sit up all night trawling home listing websites or hurriedly tidy their house ahead of a full day of viewings. So how do they go about moving house?
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23 Resources to Grow Your Multimedia Marketing Skills
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The Ways Virtual Tours Improve SEO Strategy
Your website is your showcase, it represents what you sell, it represents your agency, and ultimately it represents you. As a result, it's essential to have a well-positioned website to generate more traffic from search engines like Google and increase your chances of drawing in new customers. What is SEO? Search engine optimization is about improving your position in a search engine results page (SERP). Google is the dominant search engine, accounting for over 90% of searches processed globally. There are some regional exceptions; in China, Baidu holds 66% of the market, Google represents only 10%. Bing, Yahoo and Yandex are other minority share search engines, but when we talk about SEO, we usually refer to Google search results. Why is SEO important? To increase the number of visitors and therefore gain greater brand awareness, prospects and sales, you have to look at the ranking of your website in terms of relevant keywords. Your ranking is very important because the first three positions on Google receive more than 60% of clicks. If you are not the first page, then you will receive very little traffic to your site. Keywords Optimization First you need to identify the strategic keywords that you want to rank for in Google's SERP. How do you identify them? By choosing from those that are regularly typed by internet users (search volume). You can use search tools such as Google Keyword Planner for that insight. You need a Google Ads account, but signing up is free. Once you have found the search terms that your potential customers use, you can include them in the structure and content strategy of your website. How virtual tours can help you Adding these keywords analysis to your navigable Matterport space, for instance, will help Google understand that the content of your pages where it's displayed should be shown in searches for those terms. You can add the keywords in the title, add links in the template and add the address of that analysis, all of which can be tracked in Google. Content (on the site) is king Google loves "content", especially new content that visitors to your website will spend time interacting with and sharing. Google's algorithms take into account parameters such as bounce rate, time spent on the page and shares. The more content your website has, the better Google will rank your pages. Backlinks Backlinks are external websites that want to reference your site by linking to it in their own content, directing visitors to your page. The more backlinks you get from high quality or "authority" websites, the better. Google considers these backlinks another key element of its algorithm in ensuring it displays relevant pages from authoritative websites. Google uses your backlinks profile to create an authority score for your website, a measure that allows you to determine which websites have a high value and should be included in the search results. If many high-authority websites direct their visitors to your website (via backlinks), it is a vote of confidence in your content. MOZ has created the domain authority score that is now widely used by SEOs. You can find out more about this here and see your DA score for free using this tool. Wrapping Up SEO is much more than what we've discussed here, but this article should provide a quick overview of how virtual tours can help you in your SEO strategy. Improving ranking in Google is a long-term process but the quality of your website content will always be fundamental to attracting more visitors to your website and converting them to customers as they find you an interesting and valuable resource. To view the original article, visit the Matterport blog.
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11 Reasons Why Agents Can't Ignore Virtual Walkthrough Marketing Strategy
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Get the Advantages of 3D Virtual Tours Working for You
Imagine having the ability to walk through a property without taking off your shoes! That's the beauty of a 3D virtual tour. Everyone wants to get a feel for a home, but the process can be expensive and time consuming. Sifting through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos to determine if a property is ideal to show your clients takes up valuable time.
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What Today's Buyers Are Looking for Online
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Don't Overlook These 4 Bonus Marketing Assets from Your 3D Property Tour
Have you noticed the following cube icon popping up everywhere lately? It started appearing on Realtor.com in 2017, and just this autumn, you may have noticed it on Homesnap, a property search app that's free to 900,000 Realtors nationwide through their MLS. It's the Matterport icon, and its appearance on a listing indicates that a 3D property tour is available. While 3D property tours are what Matterport is best known for, did you realize that this tool also offers a wealth of visual assets that you can use in your marketing? Here's a rundown of all that Matterport offers. 1. High-resolution Listing Photos Photographs are typically the very first thing most people see of your listing—and what draws them in or drives them away. If your listing photos are of poor quality, you risk turning off potential buyers. When your listing is scanned for a 3D property tour, Matterport also captures hundreds of high quality photographs. If you balked at "hundreds," don't worry. Matterport employs machine learning to automatically select the best photos for your listing in Matterport Instant Galleries. That means agents don't have to spend time collecting and curating photos—you have an MLS-ready gallery of photos once your 3D tour has been created. "[Instant Galleries] are great. We are using these for all our inside images," says Beth Riggs of Amanda Howard Real Estate, Sotheby’s International Realty. 2. Teaser Videos Want to cut through the noise of social media and capture the attention of local consumers? Try teaser videos or animated GIFs. Movement within GIFs and video stands out and draws the eye. Real estate professionals get automatic videos and GIFs with their Matterport 3D tours. You can share them on social media and in emails to drive greater interest in your listings. They're effective, too—a Matterport customer survey shows that 76 percent of respondents say they attract more home buyers on social media with Matterport 3D. 3. Virtual Reality Looking for a fresh way to 'wow' buyers? Let them tour listings via virtual reality. Not only does this position you as tech-savvy agent, it also potentially cuts down on in-person listing tours. Consumers who view listings via virtual reality are better able to narrow down which homes they'd like to see in person, saving agents time. Matterport 3D tours are automatically converted into virtual reality, and can be viewed via Google Cardboard, Daydream, Oculus, or Gear VR headsets. Keep headsets in your office to use with clients when selecting which properties to tour. Want to impress sellers? Take a VR headset to a listing presentation and show sellers a sample listing, mentioning that you'll do this for their home, as well. "Consumers get more discerning about their choices and sellers want to present their properties in the best light possible," says a representative from Greg Lynn Sotheby's. "Open houses are only a couple of hours a week, but when you have Matterport virtual reality, we can be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year." 4. Floor Plans Differentiate yourself from other agents by including floor plans in your marketing. This helps consumers better understand the layout of a home, and how their own furniture and belongings may fit. Matterport generates floor plans two business days after your 3D tour is created, using dimensional data captured during the scan. All you have to do is press 'Order' on the Matterport platform, and floor plans are automatically prepared for you. Live Examples of Matterport Marketing Assets Want to see what the visual collateral mentioned above looks like? Check out these two examples of homes that were captured with a Matterport camera, and the automated content that was created: http://sites.relahqdemo.com/1178carollane/?mls http://sites.relahqdemo.com/1234californiaway/?mls Visit Matterport.com to learn more.    
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Video Tour or Virtual Reality: Are Both Necessary?
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What Agents Need to Know about VR, AR, and MR
Real estate is a magnet for three new emerging technologies: Virtual Augmented Reality (VR) Augmented Reality (AR), and most recently, a hybrid being called Mixed Reality (MR). All of these technologies are either impacting – or have the potential to dramatically impact – the real estate industry. Let's take a look at what agents need to know about these exciting technologies. Please keep in mind that because it is new technology, it is possible that not all these are available throughout North America yet. First, let's define each technology and how they are different.
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4 Visual Extras to Give Your Property Marketing Plan a Boost
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Stand Out in Your Market and Win Listings for Less with All-in-one Marketing
Real estate agents - are you looking for new ways to differentiate yourself in 2018 and win listings for less? Top agents from RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Century21, and more are flocking to all-in-one marketing services like Matterport that provide both traditional and cutting-edge marketing at affordable rates. With Matterport, real estate agents can get HDR photos, teaser videos, floor plans, 3D walkthroughs, and virtual reality from one fast, easy 3D scan. By getting traditional and cutting-edge marketing assets from the same one-stop shop, they are able to reduce their per-listing marketing expenses and offer stand-out marketing like virtual reality for all of their clients (and not just a select few). This is helping them attract more home sellers and buyers alike. Learn how it all works in Matterport's most recent webinar. In fact, according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker, 62 percent of U.S. consumers would be more likely to choose an agent that offers virtual reality property tours over an agent that does not. What's more, virtual reality tours can save you and your clients time on unnecessary showings. The survey found that 84 percent of prospective buyers would like to see video footage of a home, and 77 percent would like to be able to take a virtual reality tour before visiting a listing.
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The Low-Cost Way to Generate More Real Estate Leads
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Friday Freebie: 10-Step Guide to Using Virtual Reality to Win More Listings
Are you feeling the heat this summer from increased competition? You're not alone. According to a recent survey from Matterport, 86 percent of real estate professionals feel that competition is greater than ever. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including low inventory, better marketing from competing agents, and seasonal slumps. If you're looking to beat the competition and thrive during low season, there's no better way to do it than by staying ahead of the technology curve. In fact, 91 percent of real estate professionals agree that technology is a highly effective way to stand out, and over three-quarters of agents say that they use or plan to soon use a trend that's on real estate's cutting edge—dynamic 3D tours and virtual reality. But knowing about a new technology is not the same as knowing how to leverage that technology for practical gains. That's why in this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a guide that will show you 10 ways you can use 3D virtual tours to win more listings.
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Win the Listing with the Perfect 3D Tour Script
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How to Get Started with 3D Property Tours (and 3 Hidden Features to Try)
Want an easy way to almost double consumer interest in your online listings? Consider creating a 3D property tour! According to 3D tour provider Matterport, consumers are 95 percent more likely to call about listings with 3D tours, and are 300 percent more engaged. While these stats are impressive, they're not surprising. 3D property tours offer consumers an immersive experience that gives buyers a much more realistic sense of a home than still photos, videos, or traditional virtual tours. The experience is so powerful that some agents even report using 3D tours as an effective way to help remote buyers find a home. But once an agent or brokerage decides they want to create a 3D tour for their listings, how do they go about it? Is there complicated equipment or technology to worry about? Read on for the answers.
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Six Ways 3D Property Tours Can Help You Sell More Homes
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Are 3D tours really going to change the game? Two listing experts on how Matterport maximizes convenience for buyers and sellers alike
If you've been to a real estate conference in the last few years, you've likely seen a demo or presentation on Matterport, the leading 3D home tour technology that allows buyers to virtually walk through any property from room to room (and beyond). While 3D home tours offer a significantly more immersive experience than virtual tours, plenty of agents have yet to integrate Matterport into their listing plans. But a recent study from realtor.com® shows that virtual tours are the #2 desired feature in their home search experience, second only to high-quality listing photos. If you're curious about how 3D home tours work, are received by buyers and sellers alike, and could change the frequency of in-person showings forever, read on for insights from two industry leaders whose firms are incorporating 3D showings as a "must-have" for seller clients. Attend this FREE webinar on June 2 to learn more: Powering Up Listings with 3D Virtual Walk-Throughs   Lisa Larkin Managing Partner, RE/MAX Excalibur, Tucson, Arizona Three offices across Arizona 28 certified luxury home marketing specialists Charles Nitschke Chief Marketing Officer, Tomlinson Real Estate, Spokane, Washington Three real estate brands representing the Tomlinson Group: 13 Coldwell Banker offices, two Sotheby's, two Century 21 How does a 3D tour differ from a virtual tour? In a virtual tour, you can pan from one side of the room to another to get a 360 degree view of any room. But you can't move from one room to the next, so your brain ends up piecing together the home's layout by paying attention to clues in each photo's background. In a 3D home tour, you can fully move from one room to the next, allowing you to understand the home's layout, the size of each room and how each level of the home relates to the others. With Matterport tours, you can also see alternative views, like the Floor Plan View (bird's eye) and Dollhouse view (see the full property, including all levels, with the facade of the home removed). Example of the Dollhouse View in a 3D tour from Matterport
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Get Ahead of the Virtual Reality Trend
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Learn to Convert 95% of Your Listing Appointments
Are you interested in elevating your marketing approach to win more listings and outsell the competition? Matterport's 3D tours and virtual reality walkthroughs are the key to engaging buyers and delighting sellers — while differentiating your services from the competition. Register for Matterport's webinar on Feb. 28 to learn how agents and brokers from RE/MAX, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's International Realty, and more, are using 3D and VR to win listings and outsell the competition. In a recent customer survey, 74 percent of real estate professionals agreed they win more listings, while 90 percent stated they have a stronger brand because of Matterport. It's true—real estate brokers and agents are seeing immediate results after using Matterport in their listing presentations and online marketing. Here's the proof: The Creig Northrop Team of Long and Foster Real Estate, the number one team in Maryland in transaction volume since 2006, improved their sales transactions by 10 percent after committing to use Matterport for all their listings. Cressy and Everett Real Estate, one of RealTrends' top 250 brokerages in the United States, receives an average of 10,000 visits monthly to Matterport 3D tours on their website. HomeVisit, a Matterport service partner, has seen a threefold increase in demand for 3D tours year-over-year. There's a reason brokers and agents are realizing such success: Home buyers are 65 percent more likely to email an agent and 95 percent more likely to call after seeing a property with Matterport 3D versus listings displayed only with pictures, according to realestate.com.au.
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Win More Listings and Outsell Your Competition
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InstaView Pioneers Structured Data in Virtual Tours
The nation's largest virtual tour company is empowering the half million agents it serves with the newest technology to reach consumers directly with visually-rich listing information and information about their businesses. InstaView 3.0, the newest release of Property Panorama's category-leading virtual tour platform, became the first virtual tour to publish listing data the form of new structured data in its tours and to distribute the visually rich packages to YouTube and syndicate them to realtor.com®, Facebook and Twitter. "By integrating rich listing data with lush visuals into a single package, InstaView 3.0 allows search engines and consumers to find what they are looking for in search results," said Property Panorama CEO Mike Barnett. InstaView 3.0 complies with RESO standards and Schema.org, a collaborative site sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. The technology also allows search engines like Google to render Agent Profiles, Office Profiles, Open Houses, and Property Detail summaries within search results, dramatically improving the search optimization of real estate listings. With structured data, agents can expand their "snippets"—the text that appears under or adjoining a search result on a major search engine like Google—to include graphics contact information, open houses and more. "Structured data makes it easier to find and deliver information and is driving more consumer engagement with our new InstaView tours. InstaView tours are already receiving six times more unique visitors than any other listing marketing tool," said Barnett.
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29 Resources to Help You Master Real Estate Video and Photography
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4 Ways to Use Virtual Reality for Real Estate
When you think of virtual reality, you probably think about games rather than real estate. But real estate is actually perfectly positioned for virtual reality, or VR for short—and visual marketing is the power tool of your marketing kit for real estate. Photos, videos, 3D models and floor plans are all ways to bring homes to buyers during the search phase. Before you can use VR to market your real estate business, you need the right VR content and the right hardware. Thankfully, VR options for real estate are readily available, and hardware is very affordable. The smart folks at Houselens recommend Matterport 3D models as your content source. They also have put together a very handy basic primer. Of course, you can always browse a reputable site such as C|Net for helpful reviews. 1. Use VR in Your Broker's Office This might be an obvious choice for a place to set up VR, but that's why many real estate agents would overlook it. Luxury brokerages started the trend, using high-end VR setups to help buyers tour luxury homes that were not open to regular showings (e.g., for privacy or security reasons). Now that affordable VR headsets are available, the average agent or brokerage can do the same for their buyers. You can even set aside a "showing room" dedicated to VR. Bring buyers in to preview homes that are not available for immediate showing, or to help them narrow down their list of choices.
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So You Got the Listing. Now What?
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Virtual Tour Provider Reveals Branding Makeover
The world of virtual tours just got a little bit prettier. On Friday, VirtualTourCafe launched version "3.0" of its platform, complete with a new logo, website, and product interface. As you can see in the side-by-side logo comparison, the new branding (on the right) is much stronger and more explicitly related to real estate than the old iteration: The website redesign is equally dramatic, but rather than show you screenshots, we'll direct you to the current site and then over to the Wayback Machine for comparison. Beyond the shiny new looks, the virtual tour provider also introduced a few new features, such as: The ability to add pictures, video clips, and panoramas Drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to arrange the order of images Prominent access to easy "how to" tutorials Responsive design for your tour's "listing website" (see an example) Full-screen view of tours now available Automated property website themes, print flyers and custom flyers Video only tours created automatically
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iGuide Digitally Tells – and Sells – a Home’s Story
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How to Decide Which Property Tour Technology is Right for You
Every so often, new technology comes along that improves the way we do things, and unless you've been living under a rock, you probably noticed Instagram recently introduced Hyperlapse, a free smartphone app that is going to be a game changer for real estate professionals who use audiovisual tools to market their listings. Agents are typically at the mercy of expensive professional videographers hauling thousands of dollars' worth of equipment if they want a truly professional video tour of their listing. How quickly things are changing with the release of Hyperlapse, which greatly increases the quality of phone-based video technology; enables any smartphone-equipped agent to walk through the property they're listing; and produces a smooth and professional-looking walk-through video, regardless of experience. It leaves a lot of room for error (by smoothing out the shakiness), and even my 7-year-old niece could use it and still come out looking like Stephanie Spielberg. What's the secret sauce? Built in image stabilization technology. So, while an ordinary video captured on a smartphone or tablet might be shaky and jittery, Hyperlapse technology helps create a smooth, cinematic feel, rivaling video shot with expensive Steadicams or Glidecams, which usually require an experienced (and pricey) operator. The result is a much more professional-looking video that can be shared not only on places like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, but also on an agent's website. In addition to saving time and money, the Hyperlapse app enables the agent to control the speed of the time-lapse feature and give viewers a sense of the home's floor plan and how all the rooms connect, in relation to the property photographs usually found on the listing detail page. It also allows the agent to quickly and efficiently focus on the flow of the listing's surrounding yard, neighborhood and community, without the need to do hours' worth of editing afterwards of all the separate shots obtained.
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Real Estate Marketing Is as Close as Your Mobile Phone
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Best Bang for Your Buck: Top 5 Types of Real Estate Videos on YouTube
The booming consumer appetite for YouTube videos brings myriad good news for real estate agents and brokerages, especially since it is the second most used search engine on the planet behind Google. But before you grab a camera and set up a tripod, let's talk about which type of video gives the best bang for your buck. Frankly, this is where many agents go astray. Some are under the impression that a homebuyer's top priority is to learn about an agent's experience or the history of their company. While "About Me" videos play a role in the overall decision of who to work with, there are three other video types that outrank them in the top 5, which are as follows: 1. Community/market-based videos - (86 percent of online house hunters watch videos to learn about a specific community.) Location. Location. Location. It's still the buyer's top priority. How's the local market? What's the area like? How does the school district rank among others in the state? Are there a variety of cultural activities available? Are shopping and restaurants within a short drive away? How about parks, recreation and public transportation? The list goes on. When you're the only company in your area providing this type of video, you jump to the head of the pack. 2. Listing videos - (70 percent of homebuyers watch video home tours.) Proper staging and quality photography help showcase the property to potential buyers. Use props like a stack of fresh towels by the pool or a glass of wine with a cheese board in the kitchen to tell the story of what it is like to live in the home. Add mapping and point out features that make this home unique. Using video builds excitement and anticipation because it engages through sight and sound. When animated graphics or moving images are combined with the human voice, our brains retain it much longer than text.
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Online Marketing 101
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Pictures Sell Houses
Initially, the title of this article was intended to be a question: "Do Pictures Sell Houses?" We made the change in title for emphasis, because nothing can be truer or more important for an agent's success. Technically, of course, it's the agent who sells the house. If that agent uses many attractive photos, the house sells faster. Taking Photos Is Easy The Internet is filled with resources for taking better real estate photos. Follow a few simple rules, and it should be relatively easy. Most of the articles you'll read offer tips to take great pictures without too much expensive gear, although most will advocate for a decent digital camera. Can you cut corners and use your smartphone or iPad? Sure, you can. But that's not to say that you should. Is it better to take mediocre photos than not include any at all? Absolutely! To save you time, I'm going to include a few of my favorite tips here: Reduce clutter for interior shots. Take photos during the golden hour (when the sun is close to the horizon) for exterior shots. For interior shots, close curtains and keep interior lights on to avoid glare and backlighting. (Unless, of course, the view from a certain window is exceptional.) Take as many shots as you can, from as many different angles as possible. With a digital camera, it doesn't cost any extra, and you're more likely to find some good photos. Use a wide-angle lens. Focus on areas that buyers care most about: the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the living room. But don't forget about features that make a specific home unique (i.e. beautiful landscaping, a pool, an elegant veranda, etc.).
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6 Marketing Tools to Build Your Business
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Product Review: VirtualTourCafe
There are a lot of real estate marketing solutions available to agents and brokers today. Some specialize in one thing, like websites, while others bundle multiple services together. No matter which products you choose, however, we can't overemphasize the importance of considering a virtual tour solution. Why? Because video sites like YouTube are among the top online destinations for buyers. In fact, 70 percent of those who use video during their search do so to tour the inside of homes. If you're not leveraging video, you're missing out on crucial leads! (See our article 5 Reasons to Use a Virtual Tour to learn more.) Today, we're going to look at a solution that will help you capture those leads. VirtualTourCafe enables real estate professionals to create beautiful tours in under 15 minutes. The solution is easy to use and offers unique features that you won't find in other solutions. Highlights include: Easy sharing to social media and Craigslist Automated syndication to search engines, real estate portals, and classified ads sites Drag and drop image gallery 28 templates and over 50 background music options to choose from Image editor that lets you control brightness, contrast, transitions, and more Add floor plans and 360-degree panoramas Easy-fill property information screen for fast input Optimized for mobile devices including Android, iPad and iPhone Virtual tour CD or DVD Automated weekly hit reports Broker, office, and association discount programs also available
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Friday Freebie: Home Zone Real Estate Marketing System
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5 Reasons to Use a Virtual Tour
In conversation with Tim Denbo of VirtualTourCafe, we asked a simple question: "Why should agents create a virtual tour for their listings?" Tim obliged with a compelling list of substantive reasons. After you've had a chance to check out our list, please comment below and tell us: Do you use virtual tours? Why/why not? Which solution do you use? If you're not using a virtual tour solution, here are five reasons you may want to reconsider. 1) Sellers expect it. Your sellers don't live in a cave; they've seen other online real estate listings, and they'll expect you to live up to the most compelling of these. Chances are, the listings they find most compelling will include a virtual tour (we'll talk about that in a moment). Now, we're not saying that you should simply bend to whatever your customer wishes. After all, many leaders caution against blind adherence to the old adage that "the customer is always right." You're the expert – you know what works and what doesn't. That being said, when the thing your client asks for has the potential to be helpful and is relatively inexpensive, it might be prudent to follow their wishes.
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Friday Freebie: VirtualTourCafe
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Product Review: ListingsUnlimited from Properties Online
Single property websites are one of the best tools for marketing your listings. Whereas your personal agent website is all about you and the services you offer, single property websites serve as an exhaustive source of information on a single listing. Not only is it good for your main site's SEO, but because it's a website solely dedicated to marketing their property, it's a potent way to impress sellers--and even win listings. Today, we're taking a look at a single property website solution that's very potent. ListingsUnlimited from Properties Online is more than just a website provider--it's a full-on marketing suite that makes attracting buyers a breeze. Getting Started Your single property website is home base for all your marketing activities for a listing, so we'll begin by taking a look at the process of creating a website within ListingsUnlimited. The driving idea behind ListingsUnlimited is that creating a website should be simple. By removing the need to know code or do any heavy technical lifting, ListingsUnlimited frees you up to spend more time marketing your listings. This emphasis on ease of use is reflected in the Control Panel. Everything is laid out and categorized clearly with icons that make it simple to find what you're looking for.
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Product Review: ListingsUnlimited by Properties Online
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Cinematic Video: The Best Way to Differentiate Your Digital Media Strategy
The following piece was written by Brendan Carlisle, founder of a real estate film and media company in Los Angeles called Interior Pixels. I watched a few of his videos online and enjoyed the style of the videos his company creates. I asked him to provide some insight on the techniques he uses to create his high quality pieces. Even though I disagree (a little) with tip about cell phones, it's always good to get multiple perspectives on a topic and I respect his answer. Enjoy! As all of you know, video and film is not a new innovation in real estate. In fact, it has been linked for 80 years, ever since the founder of Coldwell Banker previews used real estate films to inspire celebrity buyers. His real estate films were cinematic productions. They premiered in lavish estates and were meant to captivate the audience and motivate them to buy the properties featured in the films. This era coincided with golden era of film, and it certainly represented the golden era of film as it relates to real estate. In recent history, video has served a practical, if not underutilized, purpose in real estate. Video and video tours have been an extension of photography, used to display the features of a property in a rather mechanical way. But this begs the question, why use video in the same fashion you use photography--isn't this a bit redundant? This thought was haunting me and it must have kept others up at night, because recently there has been a trend emerging that takes us back to the "Golden Age" of real estate videos. Real estate videos have begun to feature cinematic and emotionally resonant elements again.
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A Sneak Peek at the New RE/MAX Design Center Upgrade
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Marketing Listings: DIY or IOU?
Guest contributor Erica Christoffer of REALTOR®Mag says: You've got a great new listing. Congratulations! But you know it's not enough to post it on the MLS and cross your fingers that it'll generate buyer interest. You need to get the word out through a marketing plan that will impress your clients and get the property sold. And whether it's mailing out listing flyers, using social media, or creating a video tour, you need to decide whether to do it yourself or go to an outside vendor for help. How do you decide between outsourced and DIY marketing? "It depends on what you're good at," says Daniel Webster Johnson, broker-associate with ­Resort Brokers Real Estate in Breckenridge, Colo. "Use your strengths." Johnson is all about doing what he's best at—­networking, writing, and Internet marketing. He outsources other marketing tasks, such as photography, video, and staging, which he used to handle with the occasional help of a full-time assistant. Last spring, he realized he no longer needed full-time help. Without it, he still made 2012 his most pro­ductive year since the beginning of the downturn. Finding the Right Professionals Fueling Johnson's success is his skill at building ­vendor relationships. He hosts monthly gatherings called "People We Trust," with other real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, contractors, and local business owners. The idea is to get to know one another's trusted associates and to generate mutual business.
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The Beginner's Guide to Editing Video with Windows Movie Maker
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How to Use a Fade In/Out Transition in Your Property Videos
Here's another great tip for all the DIY media geeks in our audience. VScreen's latest ReelRebel episode shows us how to create a fade-in/out transition. This simple video effect is exactly what it sounds like: transitioning the viewer from a black screen to the opening scene, or from the closing scene to black again. Because this transition is more pronounced than, say, a cross-dissolve, it should only be used to punctuate the beginning and end of your property videos. It can also be used, sparingly, for major scene changes, like transitioning from outside to inside shots. The video below shows us how to create fade effects in iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere. Use a different program? Let us know and we'll walk you through the steps!
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A Buyer’s Perspective on Virtual Tours
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Product Review: ePropertySites Property Marketing Tools
ePropertySites describes their goal in their mission statement: "Perfecting the art of property marketing online and on site." For this reason, we've focused this review on several of their tools focused on marketing individual properties. However, their robust array of products also helps real estate professionals with personal marketing and much more. There are a few key strategic objectives that agents and brokers can accomplish with ePropertySites: Building a property website before the listing presentation enhances your ability to secure the listing Leveraging your iPad to exude your technical expertise and marketing savvy Highlight your seller's property with a single listing website Enhance your search engine optimization effectiveness Convey far more information to the buyer than what is offered through IDX property search The Basics ePropertySites offers several different pricing plans for their services. Each of the tools we're going to discuss here is included in every plan. For a better understanding of options and pricing, visit ePropertySites.com. Step One: Earn the Listing Property marketing cannot begin until the seller selects you as their agent. For this reason, ePropertySites offers their Flipshows for listing presentations. These "flipshows" or "flip books" combine your custom images and text. ePropertySites offers an iPad-friendly version of their Flipshows, recognizing that the iPad has become a favorite listing presentation tool. You can check out an example of a listing presentation Flipshow here.
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5 Simple Steps to Making the Best Real Estate Videos
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The Power of a Virtual Tour and 5 Simple Steps to Create One
I recently read a blog post by a real estate agent who was speaking about his experience creating virtual tours for his overseas client. Because the client was unable to walk through potential homes, the virtual tour was instrumental in the eventual sale of a property. Without it, the client wouldn't have seen the home and would have likely never purchased it. And when you think about it, of course a virtual tour would help. Even local clients would appreciate virtual tours of homes so they can avoid spending time visiting places that will never work for their needs. Therefore, when I was searching through the MLS to research this commentary, I came across a virtual tour and was looking forward to "walking through" the advertised house. What I found, however, was not what I expected. Instead of a walkthrough of the home so I could see areas that were not included in the still photos, I found a slideshow of those same still photos, set to music. In other words? Not a virtual tour.
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5 Tips for Better Video Tours
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5 Easy Ways to Integrate Video into Your Marketing Efforts
Guest Contributor Veneeta Eason says: Real estate professionals know that success is, in part, driven by how well they can create a connection. One way to do that is to integrate video into your marketing campaign. With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to capture great video. What previously required a studio, a green screen and professional media equipment can now be done with a handheld video camera and a computer. More importantly, video has the ability to increase your business, build better relationships and amplify your credibility.  Here are five easy ways to integrate video into your marketing efforts:
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Virtual Tours: Naughty or Nice?
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Looking for Easy Ways to Get More Eyeballs on Your Listings?
Trying to send a listing? Looking for a way to get more people engaged in looking at the fine details of the property? Virtual tours are a great way to accomplish these goals. Virtual tours can be a great way to break through and get attention to the properties you are trying to sell while standing out from your competition. Virtual tours are a very popular tool for real estate consumers. They believe virtual tours can give them a much better feel for a home. Studies have proven that listings with virtual tours are viewed more often and for a longer period of time. Interestingly, though, studies have shown that only 2 to 5% listings include virtual tours currently. There’s a large opportunity to increase the attention to a listing by featuring virtual tours. So if virtual tours are so popular with consumers, why don’t more agents offer them? In interviews we’ve conducted with agents, they tell us they understand the marketing value of virtual tours, but they don’t have the time or budget to deploy these valuable tools. The common perception is that most virtual tour companies burden the agent with the heavy lifting of taking the photos, uploading them and then creating a time-consuming end product. Fortunately, there are several virtual tour companies that have recognized this concern and are finding ways to make it easier and more affordable to feature a virtual tour on every property.
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