What is a real virtual tour?
A real virtual tour is a pictorial representation of your home that makes the viewer actually feel like they are standing in your home.
How is this done?
I have been a virtual tour photog for 7 years. When I go into a home to start taking the 360 degree panoramic shots almost every home owner says, ” Is that how you do it?” I chuckle and say “yes, but you must promise to not tell anyone the secret”. Almost all of them think that the tour is done with a video camera. It is actually done with a digital SLR camera- like a Nikon. What makes it look like a video? Its the software my company uses to “stitch” the pics together. I actually think our virtual tour pans are better than video because of the ability to generate high intensity lighting using a flash that is not possible with a video without bringing in a studio light.
Why aren’t a lot of agents doing virtual tours anymore?
A lot of large brokerages are providing their agents with programs that allow them to create a simple slide show using their own pics. Most agents don’t want to have to spend money on a listing. Typically an agent can get a contract and take the listing and the only cost is to print out some fliers for the hanger on the sign in the yard. A typical virtual tour average price is about $100-150. Most agents will receive 3% commission – that’s $3,000 per $100k but they don’t want to have to spend anything up front because – in the current 2009-2010 market- homes are on the market an average of 100 days or more and a lot of owners are cancelling their contracts and moving on to try out another agent. Then there is the problems with short sales.
How can you insure your home is being marketed properly? Ask the agent up front. Do you utilize the service of a professional photographer that takes 360 degree full panoramic tours? Or- you can call the virtual tour company yourself, pay for the tour and then you will own it. Then it will not have to be redone if you switch agents.