7 Reasons to Use 3D Virtual Tours in Your Real Estate Listings
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
What used to be reserved for the most expensive listings in your portfolio, 3D virtual tours have now become the latest interactive marketing feature on real estate websites. With the outbreak of COVID-19 concerns of safety and travel are at the forefront of both buyers and sellers minds. 3D virtual tours provide a level of comfort and safety by allowing prospective buyers to view properties from the comfort of their homes.
The truth is, static photos and stylized videos are not enough these days. In the past, these marketing tools were useful to find interested buyers, but now, their usefulness is limited. Yes, pretty pictures still entice, but then what? Due to travel restrictions and personal levels of comfort around staying safe, many buyers cannot get to see the property in person or they may just prefer not to be in a stranger’s home if they feel unsafe during the current pandemic. The same can be said for sellers who may not feel it is safe for many strangers to come into their homes, not knowing what they may have touched or sneezed upon.
If you work for a larger agency, the agency probably provides it all - professional high-resolution photos, drone photography, stylized videos and 3D virtual tours. However, if you’re on your own when it comes to a marketing budget, you will need to choose where your marketing dollars will best be spent. The good news is: with an increase in the demand for 3D virtual tours, independent 3D companies have begun popping up to support this need. Hiring a 3D professional is a cost effective option since there is no investment in expensive infrared cameras and equipment, nor do you have the expense of an in-house photographer needed to shoot the property tours.
Here are 7 reasons why you should consider spending your marketing dollars on 3D virtual tours.
1. Stand Out from the Crowd with a Digital Marketing Strategy
3D virtual tours gives brokers and agents the competitive edge adding a "wow" factor to sales listings. Both sellers and buyers see that you are at the top of your game, keeping up with the current trend of incorporating digital tools to ensure a successful marketing strategy. This makes you the expert, and when investing in the real estate market, everyone wants an expert!
Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, “Nearly 80% of house hunters say they would switch to a real estate agent who offers immersive 3D tours of listed properties according to a survey of 2,000 buyers and sellers.”
"Sellers surveyed said they believe a 3D tour improves their property’s competitive edge online. Jay Remley, Chief Revenue Officer of Matterport, cites data that shows agents who use Matterport’s 3D tour services have properties that sell 20% faster and for a 9% higher price than properties that don’t.
Matterport Blog – “Property Buyers and Sellers Want Listings with 3D Tours” by Linda McNair
2. Save Time & Money: Re-Thinking Open Houses
As all businesses are adapting to the current pandemic, realtors alike, are also re-thinking a key marketing tool - open houses. Open houses will continue to be increasingly more difficult and challenging. In addition to the usual time, money and effort it takes to plan one, PPE and COVID-19 safety measures need to be put in place. For example, scheduling and cleaning surfaces between client or brokers visits and making sure to adhere to physically distancing protocols, while at the same time trying to maximize the numbers of people who will be able to attend your open house.
A 3D virtual tour addresses all these issues and at the same time provides for a permanent open house for anyone who wants to visit. Prospective buyers can see the property from anywhere at anytime on their laptops or mobile phones. Helping to weed out the not-so-serious homebuyers, those who are really interested will call and ask for more information or possibly request an in-person showing. This alone frees up your time, so you'll be able to focus on other aspects of your business. You will only need to upload the 3D virtual tour on your site! Homeowners will also appreciate not having to keep their home in pristine condition, or having to clean at a moments notice, when many buyers might call to see it. With 3D virtual tours, the property is shown in its very best condition when it is scanned and ready for all to see in the future. According to a June 15, 2020 article in Forbes.com 15 Useful Strategies for Selling a Home Virtually, "The must-haves in today's new world are 3-D tours and floor plan renderings. Buyers need to really feel how the flow of a home is and 3-D tours and floor plan renderings are the closest things to actually allowing them to be inside the house.”
3. Interactive, Viewer Friendly & Educating Your Buyers
Most people find interactive technology fun and fascinating and 3D virtual tours are no exception. Buyers have the chance to investigate a realistic digital experience and to explore a property independently. They can enjoy visiting each room for however long they wish; focusing on the lighting, flooring, measurements or anything else that interests them. Buyers are able to narrow down their search on their own, which again saves everyone involved time and money. "Buyers also strongly desire the ability to take virtual measurements of rooms they view online. About 55% of survey respondents say they’d even consider buying a property sight unseen if there was a 3D tour available in the online listing that allowed them to view a property in 360-degree views and also allowed digital measurement tools." REALTOR Magazine, Survey: Consumers Strongly Prefer Listings With 3D Tours, January 27, 2020
Matterport Blog – “Property Buyers and Sellers Want Listings with 3D Tours” by Linda McNair
4. Holds Buyers Attention for a Long Time While Creating a Sense of Ownership
Unlike static professional photography, 3D virtual tours keep the viewer on your website longer. They hold attention for minutes at a time, which means that audiences are more likely to feel invested in the interaction. As they explore each room it becomes easier for them to imagine buying and living in the house. This technology helps create a sense of ownership which is crucial to clients moving forward in the buying process.
5. More Bang for Your Buck & Finding Buyers in Remote Locations
Maybe at first glance, 3D virtual tours seem like an expensive real estate marketing option, but not so when you factor in the many ways you can use your 3D virtual tour to market your listing. Once your 3D virtual tour is ready, you can easily access it through any web browser. Share the link via email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. It’s as easy as sharing a photo. Also, your 3D virtual tour is accesable off-line. Utilizing these avenues increases your ability to find buyers in remote locations, especially those who may wish to buy an expensive property from a foreign country or remote location.
6. Get More Website Traffic & Reduce Your Bounce Rate
3D virtual tour technology can drive tons of traffic to your website and as a result attract more clients. “By adding virtual tours to your property website you will likely be shared a lot more than sites that don’t have virtual tours. Not only will you share your own page once the tour is added, other people visiting your website will also be 50% more likely to share your content than if you didn’t have a virtual tour on your site. The more people share your content, the more chances that people click on the link to view your web page. This will increase your traffic and in turn will positively affect your rankings.” See Blog - How Virtual Tours Can Effect Your SEO. " Bounce rates are also important. A bounce is when people come to your website and immediately close it again. As said above, by its nature, a 3D virtual tour increases the time people spend on your website and therefore the bounce rate decreases. This is also very good for your SEO.
7. Social Media Exposure
A well-done 3D virtual tour, like ones captured with the Matterport Pro2 camera, are more likely to go viral. People will share it on social networks and tell their friends. Search engines use social media signals as a ranking factor. If your website content goes viral on social networks, it will reflect positively on its rankings. You will get more traffic and appear higher in search results. Every time someone shares your virtual house tours online, your site receives a backlink. This not only increases traffic but also helps establish your authority online. Quality backlinks are a key ranking signal. They can increase brand awareness, strengthen your reputation, and drive traffic for years to come. See Blog, Top Ten Benefits of Virtual House Tours, March 24, 2019.
Clearly, 3D virtual tours have become an essential tool for buying and selling homes already and if you’re not using them to market your listings or help buyers shop online, then you’re already behind the eight ball. Virtual tours have been shown to attract more views and generate more leads than static images alone. Consider incorporating virtual tours into your digital marketing plan to give you a solid advantage in a competitive market. Even when the worst of the pandemic is over, people are going to act cautiously and find ways to limit unnecessary contact with others. Invest in your 3D virtual tour approach now and it’ll benefit you for a long time to come.
About the Author
Originally from Manhattan, Robin is an attorney who specialized in First Amendment Law while living in the city. Moving to the Berkshires in her mid-30s she became a 500 RYT Kripalu Yoga Instructor and raised her son Harrison, now a senior at Tabor Academy and her daughter, Samantha, a sophomore at the St. Paul's School. Moving to Nantucket this past year, Robin worked as the Marketing Director for a local real estate agency showcasing the beautiful homes of the island with her photography and frequent blog posts. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the increased demand for online experiences, she and her husband David, formed Slickproductions offering the highest quality Matterport Pro2 3D virtual tours. Recently, Robin and David became MA Real Estate Salespersons.