3D Virtual Tours: The New Standard for Real Estate Sales Everywhere

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Professional Photography became the Standard in the Last 10 Years

I passed my exam and received my license to sell homes in Oregon in 2003. At the time, I was shocked how many real estate agents were still using their cell phones to take dark, blurry pictures of homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the time, our local MLS only let you display 8 photos of a home. This was just 17 years ago. Since being licensed our local MLS increased the photo count to 16, and then finally to 32 photos (where it is now). Similarly professional photography went from perhaps a 30% occurrence in 2003, to practically a 90% occurrence in 2020. Now almost every home for sale, unless it is a total tear down, includes professional photography in its online listing.

3D Virtual Tours are the Next Standard in Real Estate Sales

  1. You still can’t take enough photos. Professional photography gets a home buyer a long ways. Thirty two high definition photos covers most small to medium sized homes well enough. But (depending on your local photo count MLS restriction) it is not enough to cover larger properties over 3,000 sq. ft., multi-family, or rural properties with a lot of outbuildings. (We have ways we work around the MLS restrictions, but most agents don’t bother to work around the system they are given.)
  2. No amount of photos will help the buyer see where all the rooms and hallways are in relation to one another.
  3. A professional home video does display the relation of all the rooms to one another, but it gives the buyer no control. The buyer has to patiently wait for the information to come to them, and as we know, no one is patient on the internet.
  4. 3D Virtual Tours give buyer all the room relation they want and it gives them total control and instant satisfaction in HD format.

Long before COVID 19 we saw this coming and put 3D Virtual Tours on every home we sold.

And now as you can imagine, real estate buyer interest in 3D Virtual Tours has skyrocketed. Realtor.com has made the virtual tours more prominent in their search. Land.com Network is working on that now. Zillow was ahead of the curve in offering their own Virtual Tour option before Covid 19 hit and prominently displaying it in the photo reel for each property that had one available.

3D Virtual Tours are Accessible for the Entire Real Estate Market

At first when they came out and made a splash with the Matterport system and others, 3D Virtual Tours were cost prohibitive and mostly used for luxury home sales. Now we can obtain them (and do) for every home sale at a price equal to or less than the cost of local professional photography. In the Portland real estate market, we use OrderHomeEnergyScore.com to provide the required Energy Score, floorplan, and 3D virtual tour – all for under $200 total.

Real Estate Agents Not Providing 3D Virtual Tours are Border Line Irresponsible

The cost is reasonable and the need to protect your selling and buying clients is paramount. Sight unseen home sales do happen, not often in the past, but they will happen more in the future. Also, a home that is given a good set of photos, good measurements, good description, and good 3D virtual tour can at minimum, significantly reduce in-person interaction for a home buyer. It helps buyers to vet homes more thoroughly before visiting, so they can at least tour less homes per sale. Also it keeps buyers who would never make an offer from unnecessarily touring a selling client’s home, for some layout objection they could have easily observed in a 3D home tour.

Our current health crisis has sped up the inevitable new standard.

I do believe 3D virtual tours in real estate were going to become the new standard in the real estate market, regardless. They provide the home buyer with a wealth of information in an easy digestible format. 3D virtual tours are superior to home videos and other forms of invented real estate media. When the tour costs finally came down, it only made sense. But all industries are typically slow to adapt to changing technologies and so it might have taken another decade before 3D Virtual Tours became the new standard. Now it might only take the next 12 months.

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