What Is A Virtual Tour?
A virtual property tour is made possible by combining the pictures of a real estate property in a way that is similar to touring the property in person. It takes advantage of 360-degree photography, and 3D virtual tours are an immersive experience that can be improved by virtual reality.
360-degree photography is about capturing the whole surrounding in photographs, instead of taking pictures from just one angle. Let’s say you are standing in the center of a room, and you need to capture the whole room. You may have to take at least six pictures: one for each of the four walls and one each for the roof and the floor, to capture the whole room. 360-degree photography allows you to do it with just one.
3D or three-dimensional virtual tours can be immersive like a 3D game. By combining 360 degrees of each part of the house using software, a virtual tour can be created, which you can navigate with your computer. You can virtually “walk” each part of the apartment like you would on a real tour and see everything from a camera’s perspective. It’s 3D because you will not see 2D photos of each part of the apartment. Instead, you will experience one whole virtual place, which you can see from different angles (like a bird’s eye view).
This effect can be enhanced with virtual reality. If you wear a VR headset, you can see the property by tilting your head from side to side instead of moving your cursor on a screen. This way, you will be able to increase your focus and have a more immersive experience.
Live Video Tours / Virtual Open Houses
It’s important to understand the difference between a virtual property tour and a video tour. A virtual property tour is a digital product that, once made, can be utilized over and over by the potential buyer.
Similarly, a video tour, in which an agent (or someone else) will walk a property and shoot a video (to show the property to the viewers), can be uploaded online and be watched by multiple buyers multiple times. However, it will only offer limited exposure to the property, and the viewers will be limited by what the agent (or property owner) has decided to shoot.
A live video tour (conducted by an agent), which can also be called a virtual open house if multiple people are viewing it live online, might be a one-time thing, like a video call that you don’t record. You can ask questions from the broker and find out more about the property directly.
Also, a broker can accompany you on a virtual tour as well, and you can explore the property together, and you can ask questions about it.
How Virtual Tours Benefit Property Sellers
NYC sellers couldn’t conduct open houses during the pandemic, so virtual tours became really popular. But now that the pandemic is slowly moving behind us and open houses are allowed in most buildings, do virtual tours really offer any advantage?
They can in some ways, but it depends on the buyer.
- You get more eyes on your property this way. A much larger group of potential buyers might take a virtual tour than visit in person, and more potential buyers are good for you.
- It saves time for both you and the potential buyers coming to visit. Buyers can go through more properties (with virtual tours) in a few hours than they might be able to visit in a day (in-person). You, as a seller, will have to declutter and stage your property less frequently if more people are focused on the virtual tour (or just once, if you only offer a virtual tour).
- Many buyers prefer virtual tours because they allow those buyers to take their time inspecting every part of the house at their leisure, something they can’t do during in-person visits.
- Virtual tours allow you to highlight your property’s strengths. You can leave notes and comments in the tours, highlight appliance brands, and show the property in its finest “light.” But don’t overdo it. Otherwise, the buyers may feel cheated.
- Many buyers prefer to take a virtual tour first to determine whether or not it’s worth making the trip to see the apartment in person. But from the seller’s perspective, sometimes the buyer may see something in the virtual tour they don’t like and won’t visit the property because of it. If there weren’t a virtual tour, they may have visited the property and liked it once they saw it in person.
Virtual tours may not be a perfect replacement for in-person visits or open houses, but they can certainly improve the appeal of your property and give more freedom and options to the potential buyers to see your property.