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  • Brooke Jones

Why 3D Virtual Tours is a must have tool in today's Real Estate Industry.

Open houses, private showings, direct mailings, and many other real estate strategies each have their advantages, but that doesn't mean that they are equally convenient for everyone. However, when you add a 3D virtual tour of your listings, you provide a property viewing option that is convenient to you, the property buyers, and prospective sellers.

A home showing has its undeniable advantages. Walking a potential buyer through a home and pointing out all of the features in it, allows the buyer to envision the property as their own, and think about how closely aligned it is with their wants and needs. Buyers like this type of private showing because they can have a tangible feel of what life in the home might be like. It is somewhat convenient for sellers too, but it is challenging to be ready at the drop of a hat for a stranger to come and walk around your house.

Open houses are typically effective in generating leads, but it plays the odds. If 10 people come to view a property during an open house, potentially 1 or 2 of them walk away with a degree of actual interest. Open houses are not convenient for sellers. You must be out of your home for hours at a time and you have no idea who is walking around in there with the agent. It is more akin to a home invasion. However, sellers often agree to these because the more people see the house, the faster they can move to sell the property. In addition to that, the seller may feel that this is how an agent earns his/her commission. For the buyers, an open house is a way to look around, but they do not typically feel the personal aspect of a private showing during one.

However, a 3D virtual tour of a property alleviates many of the anxieties and offers benefits to all of the parties involved. This is especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as agents have adapted stay-at-home orders, making 3D virtual tours an essential, efficient, and engaging tool in the real estate domain.

What Is A 3D Virtual Tour?

A virtual tour (like the Matterport 3D Showcase) is a virtual twin of a physical property that can be streamed and viewed on the internet from almost any mobile device or computer by prospective buyers from the comfort of their own home or the convenience of a local coffee shop. 3D virtual tours provide an authentic, engaging, immersive, and fully interactive 3D viewing of the property, especially when enhanced by sound effects, narration, text, music, and measurements.

The Matterport 3D virtual twin permits an interested buyer to navigate the property room by room and floor by floor. The Matterport tour utilizes infrared scanning to collect accurate spatial and visual data. It then generates a fully 3D interactive replica. The viewer can experience 360-degree views of all features spaces and click on tags to find out more details about property features. They can even get measurements of any surfaces, including walls and doors. Buyers can leave comments about their experience or ask questions about the viewed property. 

3D tours are completely discoverable and can be embedded right on your website. They can be shared through social media platforms, integrated into Google business listings, and add SEO value to your website. You can virtually interact with buyers or clients viewing the property to answer questions and provide a "real-time" walkthrough of the property. 

This helps your clients get a real sense of what the property feels and looks like by leveraging high definition images and a high-resolution display with the 3D virtual tour before they come out to see the property in person.

3D Virtual Tour Benefits To Both Sellers And Buyers

Did you know that over 90% of home buyers utilize the internet as part of their home buying process? In fact, more than half of these buyers end up purchasing the home they found online. If a buyer can get so much information about a home online that they are willing to buy, it means that they put a lot of stock into tools like 3D virtual tours. Roughly 3/4s of the clients who search for a home on the internet actually want to see a virtual tour of the property before they visit it for a private showing. 

This is an especially popular method with young buyers, an important fact to consider for agents and sellers since millennials looking for a new home currently make up about 71% of the market. Actually, 60% of American prospective home buyers overall choose to work with a real estate agency that can offer 3D virtual tours. It is no wonder that listings with virtual tours sell more quickly and for higher prices than those that do not offer them.

Here are a few more reasons why both buyers and sellers love virtual tours:

  • Saved Time: 3D Virtual Tours save time for both buyers and sellers. Sellers do not need to spend as much time cleaning and straightening up properties that prospective buyers will come to visit, often to just find out that the buyer was not genuinely interested in the property, and the showing produces no results. For buyers, less time is spent on traveling to visit properties that are not a fit for their wants and needs, as they can get a very accurate impression of the property from the virtual tour before they come out to visit the property.

  • Buyers Can View At Their Own Pace: Many buyers feel rushed during a physical showing. They may feel anxiety about keeping the seller out of their home or feel pressure at taking up the agent's time. With a 3D virtual tour, there is no rush, decreasing the anxiety that comes with viewing a property. Not only can buyers view home at their pace, but they can also view it from the comfort of their own home while an agent is available for real-time interactions and questions.

  • Full-Time Open House: The sellers do not need to make plans to vacate their property for an open house. The 3D virtual tour is available 24/7. It is captured as a single event, which means the home is available to view for buyers at any time without making it a burden for the seller. In a sense, it is a constantly available open house for buyers to view without imposing on the sellers' daily lives.

  • Less Home Staging: Sellers do not feel the pressure of having to maintain a pristine condition of their homes due to an upcoming viewing when the viewing is already available via a 3D virtual tour. This can be especially helpful to families who are still living in the properties that are up for sale. The need to constantly keep things perpetually ultra-clean, tidy, and presentable is a large stress factor for many sellers who might be too busy to keep up that kind of pace. A virtual tour reduces the number of buyers who will want to visit the properties by filtering it down to people genuinely interested in it. This means that the disruptions to the life of the seller are minimized greatly.

3D Virtual Tour Benefits For Agents

3D virtual tours have many advantages for real estate agents as well. Agents are no longer confined to showing properties during time blocks which are convenient for showing for both buyers and sellers to do a private showing, nor does as much scheduling need to be done for open houses. This is also an excellent way to filter the list of potential buyers down to just those who have a genuine interest in the property. These buyers might decide they want to do a physical visit to the property, but they are already "primed" for its layout and features when they do so.

Other significant advantages for agents include:

  • Saved Time: The agent spends a lot less of their time preparing and staging the properties being viewed. There are too many occasions when an agent will set everything up and have the buyer come in to view the home, only to quickly realize that it is not a property they are interested in. Watching a 3D virtual tour means that some of the buyers will see what they don't like and will continue their search for other properties, filtering the private viewings to just buyers still interested after taking the virtual tour. This is especially helpful for agents trying to sell properties in remote or rural locations. 

  • Increased Online Engagement: When you offer 3D virtual tours, your online communication strengthens your positions. Buyers who have questions can ask them, and an agent can either answer them in 'real-time' or get back to the buyer at the agent's earlier convenience. Once buyers have been engaged online with a virtual tour, an agent can offer to provide the other resources by directing them to useful places, including the agency's website.

  • Results: The use of virtual technology in the real estate business has shown proven results. Leveraging virtual tours not only quadruples the number of leads, but it captures up to 49% of qualified leads as well. The interest shown via phone calls increases by 90%, and email contacts increase with the interest of a property by 65%, while online listing clicks grow by 40%. Buyers are 130% more likely to look at a listing physically if they have viewed a 3D virtual tour first. Buyers also want to see a lot more virtual tours. The best part for an agency is that the investment pays its returns off quickly, as in within four weeks or less!

A Social Distancing Solution

An essential way where the 3D virtual tours prove to be a pivotal tool is during the time like the current COVID-19 pandemic, where most places have issues stay at home orders, and principles of social distancing are being observed. How might one show or see a property when everyone is instructed to stay home but a virtual tour, at least in a way effective enough to sway a buyer's decision.

High dynamic photography, high definition imagery will always be essential to digital and print methods, while mailing postcards and brochures will continue to be necessary for any real estate marketing campaign. Even your social media presence serves as a reassuring voice during challenging times, but none of those methods are sufficient enough to get potential buyers into considering home purchases without physically being able to visit the properties like the inclusion of a 3D virtual tour.

Matterport 3D Virtual Tours give your clients the ability to view and explore a home from the comfort of their own kitchens and living rooms, while an agency can communicate with them from their offices (or the agents' homes). Virtual tours are a great way to make your agency stand out and be set apart from other real estate competition.

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