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4 Reasons You Should be Doing 3D House Tours

Plus: How to make the most of the technology that's making buyers more comfortable than ever with purchasing a property without ever stepping foot in it.

Erica Jolles, a Realtor® with Round Table Realty in St. Johns, is about to submit an offer on a single-family home in Jacksonville. The catch: Her California-based clients have never stepped foot inside it.

Although this couple’s willingness to purchase a property from afar might seem risky, the buyers feel comfortable thanks to iGUIDE, a system for 3D house tours and floor plans, says Jolles. 

Due to the data generated by this 3D tour camera and drafting platform, these clients were able to “walk through” homes they were considering, she explains. “As a result, they felt they’d seen enough.” 

iGUIDE is just one of many virtual, 3D-tour companies that help agents show off a home to out-of-state or global buyers.

Here’s how Jolles uses virtual tours in her business:

1. To save time.

As Jolles’ experience with her California-based clients shows, virtual tours help save time—for her and her buyers. Thanks to the detailed and accurate 3D tours and floor plans that this tool provides, clients don’t need to visit properties they’re considering buying—a definite plus in today’s turbo-charged market, where homes sell overnight.

Clients also don’t need to revisit listings to show family members or take measurements before moves. “iGUIDE gives buyers the opportunity to be in the home as often as possible throughout the entire homebuying process,” she explains.

2. To reassure out-of-town sellers.

“A lot of people are making offers sight unseen these days,” says Jolles. “Sellers are not comfortable with that because they think buyers might back out later after inspections. But having iGUIDE gives sellers the reassurance that buyers are seeing more than just pictures.”

She also notes that the program adheres to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) measurement standards when calculating gross living area and non-gross living areas.

3. To add value for customers.

In today’s low inventory market, any added value to sellers may get you the listing.

“When I tell sellers I’ll do a [virtual 3D tour], they get excited,” says Jolles. “The more technology I share with a potential seller, the more likely they are to use me as their listing agent. If it’s between me and another Realtor and everything else is the same, I’ll have a leg up if I’m willing to do a [virtual 3D tour].” 

4. To reach homebuyers where they are.

With iGUIDE, Jolles can attract more buyers to the homes she lists. “We can attract buyers who might not be able to see homes,” she says. Plus, creating a virtual tour can be a savvy marketing tool for listings that have been on the market for a while, she adds.

How to make the most of your 3D tour

Erica Jolles works with Rick Farmer, owner of The Listing Edge, a real estate and commercial photography, video and aerial services company. He offers these pointers for making the most of virtual, 3D tours:

  • Know the location of reflective surfaces (like mirrors) so you don’t photograph yourself.
  • Make sure the camera points in the same direction relative to the home for each panorama shot.
  • While onsite, align the floor plan scanning so you won’t need to remember home layouts later. 
  • Buy a sturdy tripod; put a logo on the bottom of images to cover up camera legs.
  • Stay current on software updates.

Consider using VR (virtual reality) for maximum impact

How can you use virtual reality (VR) in your real estate business? Here are some ideas from

  • Listing Presentations. VR tour listings will make any portfolio shine. Virtual reality tours can highlight the need to reach millennials who are attracted to dynamic visual content.
  • Interactive Open House. Word-of-mouth advertising is a seller’s best friend. Introducing a high-tech tool like a VR headset into the mix makes people more curious. While it may sound odd to show off your VR real estate tour at an open house event, the virtual tours offer a level of entertainment and fervor on top of the party atmosphere a large open house viewing brings.
  • Show Off at a Real Estate Expo. Taking your open house tour to an industry event is another advantage to VR home tour guides. Real estate agents can show off their portfolios and demonstrate marketing prowess, while homeowners get noticed by valuable leads. In fact, showing up to a real estate expo without a virtual tour will look out-of-touch these days.

Dina Cheney is a Connecticut-based freelance writer.