Welcome to another week in the middle of a global pandemic! We hope you continue to stay safe and keep practicing social distancing. Keep washing those hands!
We, presumably like many of you, are going a little stir-crazy staying inside for this long but it is more important than ever to social distance now so we can get back to our normal lives soon. So get outside and exercise! Oh, and make sure to read our friend Sabrina’s blog about supplements. They’re the best on Planet Earth. Take it from her, she runs marathons like it’s her job!
In this week’s blog, we are going to be talking about how virtual tours are an essential tool in the real estate business.
In the real estate industry, there are four different types to consider:
- Residential Real Estate
- Commercial Real Estate
- Industrial Real Estate
Residential Real Estate is both new construction and resale homes. It also includes condominiums, co-ops, townhouses, duplexes, triple-deckers, quadplexes, high-value homes, multi-generational and vacation homes, among others.
Commercial Real Estate includes shopping centers, strip malls, medical buildings, schools, hotels, and office buildings. Apartment buildings are also surprisingly considered commercial, because they are owned to produce income.
Industrial Real Estate includes manufacturing buildings, warehouses, and buildings used for research, production, storage, and distribution of goods.
Land is pretty self-explanatory. It includes vacant land, working farms, and ranches. These specifications can also include undeveloped, early development or reuse, subdivision and site assembly.
Virtual tours can be an asset to each of these branches of real estate if utilized properly.
Virtual tours are a simulation, composed of a sequence of videos or still images. Virtual tours can make use of other multimedia elements like sound effects, music, narration, and text to add to the overall effect on the viewer. Essentially, it is a visual 3D representation of the inside of your business, allowing customers a 360° walk-through experience. Virtual tours are a necessity for any business, but real estate especially stands to benefit the most from this tool.
How do these tours benefit a business?
Well, a virtual tour offers extra confidence in your business. It allows customers to view and see your workspace, making them feel more connected with your business. Virtual tours are also a great way to increase traffic and engagement on your website.
Residential and Commercial are the most traditional types to take advantage of virtual tours, but there is still a big advantage in employing the technology for Industrial Real Estate and Land sales. Let’s take a look at how each branch of real estate can gain by investing in virtual tours.
Residential Real Estate
Residential Real Estate is what most people think of when thinking of the real estate industry as a whole. At Momentum 360, the technology we use to produce our virtual tours is called Matterport. Matterport was designed specifically with residential real estate in mind.
So what is the benefit of using a virtual tour instead of traditional pictures in an online listing?
First of all, the current Coronavirus pandemic has proved that technology has the power to keep us connected even when we can’t be around others. In the current health climate, it is impossible to continue “business as usual,” including tours of homes listed for sale. A virtual tour is a way of letting people tour a home without actually being there. However, this can be beneficial even without social distancing orders. For potential clients who are moving from out-of-state or even in another country, it is not always possible to schedule a visit in person before the move. A virtual tour provides them with a realistic view of the homes they are considering.
Research suggests that including a 3D tour with a property listing will increase leads generated. Virtual tours have been shown by a 2019 Matterport study to produce an increase in clicks, phone inquiries, email inquiries, qualified leads, and more.
Utilizing 3D tours of properties can save a realtor both time and money. Providing an in-depth view into a house, potential buyers will have less questions about what the property is like, and those who are truly interested in it will be motivated to move forward faster than if they had to call and schedule a tour to view the property before deciding whether or not it would be a good fit.
Even more than that, virtual tours provide buyers with a realistic, constant, and accessible experience. A virtual tour allows people to really feel like they are walking through and imagine themselves living on a property, more so than in still photographs.
More than 75% of potential home buyers have stated that they prefer interactive virtual tours over photographs when searching for a home online and that the inclusion of these tours influenced their purchasing decision. That kind of number should not be ignored by real estate agents.
Commercial Real Estate
Virtual tours are quickly becoming the staple of residential real estate, but what about commercial? Taking a page out of the residential branch’s book, commercial real estate is quickly turning to the internet and virtual technologies to buy and sell properties.
With the expansion of virtual technology and the growth of real estate in an online sphere, it makes sense that commercial real estate would move to cutting-edge technology like virtual tours just as residential real estate did.
The premise is similar to that of creating virtual tours for for-sale homes. The virtual tour simulates a real one and allows the potential buyer to get a real feel for the space. In a commercial setting, however, the end result is different for the buyer. The space they purchase has to be conducive to making money for the business. Where residential virtual tours are designed to help the customer see if they would want to live in a house, commercial tours show the buyer whether the building or space would be beneficial to whatever their type of business. Virtual tours are indisputably the most effective way to showcase
3D tours of a commercial property can also be very helpful for individual businesses moving into the property. For example, if a store is looking to move into a shopping center, a virtual tour allows the owners to see where their store would be located, which stores it would be surrounded, and where the best places to advertise in the center would be. That kind of information makes buying decisions easier for the business.
In addition to these benefits of a virtual tour for commercial properties, one big advantage is that regular pictures often just can’t showcase a space fit for a commercial business. A virtual tour allows the buyer to not only see what the space looks like, but get a feel for the size and layout of the building.
Industrial Real Estate and Land Sales
It’s no big secret that industrial and land real estate don’t utilize virtual tour technology as much as residential and commercial real estate.
In some ways it makes sense. Industrial real estate includes factories, storage facilities, and otherwise large and empty facilities. Land sales are typically vacant and unoccupied land. However, to not utilize a virtual tour of these kinds of properties is an oversight.
Virtual tours are essential for these kinds of properties because they show potential. Potential is the key to selling space that doesn’t have a specific structure already set up because it is easier for people to see what they would do with the space and how they would fit their business into the property.
By investing in a virtual tour for vacant land or for a non-descript industrial space, realtors are allowing their clients to see the space in the ways that it can be best utilized for their business. For example, someone looking to buy space for a storage facility can look at a property’s virtual tour and see whether or not the building is adequate for their spacial needs and if it can be set up in a way that is beneficial to their needs.
Likewise, a virtual tour of land can be just as informative, even if there is nothing on the land. A virtual tour allows a potential buyer to “walk through” the land without having to actually be present. It is one thing to be told the size of a plot of land, but it feels real when you can click through and get a feel for the actual size and what you would be able to do with that land. A picture doesn’t do it justice the way a 3D tour would.
With the way residential and commercial real estate have been making use of virtual tour technology, it is likely that the other branches of real estate would follow suit. The advantage of taking the initiative and creating virtual tours of land and industrial properties now is the chance to set your properties apart from others not using 3D tours.
COVID-19 and the Effect on Real Estate
It would be hard to overstate the importance of virtual tours given the social restrictions in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. People are confined to their homes in order to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, many businesses have been forced to close and have their employees work from home. This creates a problem for industries like real estate that rely on person-to-person interaction to sell their properties.
With non-essential businesses restricted from working in their offices, real estate companies that rely on in-person tours and sales may be suffering from a lack of business.
The benefit of having virtual tours is that people, most of whom are already looking for properties online, don’t have to wait for normal life to resume to tour properties and even move forward with purchasing. They have the tools at their disposal to continue shopping, whereas properties without virtual tours show an incomplete image.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, more and more industries are turning to virtual tours to keep themselves in business and to keep their customers happy. Residential real estate, college campuses, and museums are just a few that are turning to virtual technology in the wake of the pandemic. In the last month alone, realtors have seen a 494% increase in requests for virtual agent-led home tours.
Once this pandemic finally ends and people can resume their normal life, virtual tours should be incorporated into every listing, as a safeguard in case something like this pandemic ever happens again.
Now, more than ever, is the time to invest in a virtual tour for your real estate business. A 3D tour of properties is attractive to customers and can make your life easier in trying to sell and gather leads. Virtual tours are the key to engaging your market in a time where digital connections are so important.
In any branch of real estate, a virtual tour is a necessity for setting your business apart, being accessible to customers, and increasing the user experience for potential buyers searching for their future property online. More than a trend, real estate virtual tours are an essential tool that no realtor should be without.
Here at Momentum 360, we want to make growing your business easier than ever. Investing in a virtual tour is without a doubt an imperative step in making that happen. Our society is prioritizing digital content now more than ever, and we likely will not see a decline in this mindset in the future years.
If you are interested in learning more about Momentum 360 Virtual Tours or would like to have one made for your business, feel free to email us or schedule a call with Sean or Mac. For more information, visit our website! Mac Frederick and Sean Boyle, owners of Momentum, have over twenty years of experience in the digital marketing field and have a passion for helping businesses reach their fullest potential.
We post our Momentum Monday and Small Business Saturday blog every week, so feel free to subscribe and make sure you are up to date on the latest trends in the industry. If you have any questions or concerns, leave them in the comments below! From everyone at Momentum 360, thanks for the love, stay healthy, and until next time, build Momentum!