Over the past few weeks, Realtors across North America have had to adjust quickly to accommodate new regulations and safety precautions related to showings and in-person contact. But in crisis there is immense opportunity. Rather than throwing in the towel, many agents, brokerages, and tech companies are using innovative ways to continue to serve their clients.
One of the most common questions agents are asking is, “how can I best market my listings to potential buyers while still keeping all parties safe?”
The goal is to provide the most in-person experience we possibly can, without actually being there in person. In times like this, transparency is key. Buyers need access to as much information as possible. They want their virtual viewing experience to feel as emotionally compelling as an actual showing. This might require some agents to try out technology and tools they haven’t used in the past.
See the new Realtor.com® video campaign, showing buyers ways they can #stayhome and still shop for their new home.
Let’s break down some of the options available to Realtors, and the best ways to use them to help your buyers shop for their new home, from home.
Nearly everyone is using the term ‘virtual tours’ right now. Essentially, this means that a buyer can take a visual walk through the home. Years ago this term was used for still photos that were stitched together to make a video. But times have changed, and true virtual tours are no longer just photos set to elevator music. A professional virtual tour now allows you to stand in the home and look around in 360 degree turns, taking in the entire space. Buyers love the ability to see every room, just as they would in person. When paired with a floor plan, virtual tours give a sense of space, flow, and light.
Speaking of floor plans, a professional floor plan is a huge bonus for virtual shoppers. Floor plans provide an understanding of how a space will work. They show room dimensions, which way doors swing, and storage space. Buyers gain an appreciation of where windows are and how their furniture might fit in the space. A 3D tour without a floor plan can be confusing, leaving buyers to guess how rooms are connected to one another.
Many real estate portals and online search sites are now accommodating virtual tours and 3D tours, allowing buyers to view them before booking a showing. Realtor.com® announced new virtual tour badges this week, allowing agents to upload their virtual tours and videos directly via the Realtor.com® dashboard.
Looking for a photographer or videographer that creates 3D virtual tours and floor plans in your area? Search here.
Many agents are also using the power of video to showcase their listings, creating both live and on-demand videos to take the place of open houses or showings. Most portals and real estate search sites already allow for on-demand video links, but live video has never been easier to produce. Agents are using Facebook Live to show off their listings and pre-screen for potential buyers. Instagram video and IGTV are also great places to host short video walkthroughs. Both Realtor.com® and Zillow are now offering the option for buyers to choose “video tour” when booking showings. Having a video created and available to send to buyer leads is more important than ever.
For vacant homes, give your buyers the ability to picture themselves living there by utilizing virtual staging. This can also be used to freshen up and declutter your furnished listings as well! This is a great way to get those virtual and online shoppers to emotionally fall in love, before ever setting foot in the home.
Now more than ever, marketing your listings safely means getting creative and taking advantage of the tools available. Interested in other ways you can show off your listings safely? The National Association of REALTORS® has a fantastic list of additional resources and case studies available to you. You can check out their entire list here.