With health restrictions preventing mass open houses, combined with a reluctance by some interested parties to visit in person, real estate agents are seeking out new ways to show their stock.
As Domain managing editor Alice Stolz said recently on YourDomain TV channel in the 21 March 2020 episode, "There has never been a more important time to facilitate virtual inspections".
I think potential buyers have a lot of the power in their hand. And you can do things like a virtual inspection, and use interactive floor plans.
And I think the technology is really catching up with this now, thankfully, that people can really get a good sense of what a home is on their own.
Alice Stolz, Domain managing editor
But there is no one-size fits all approach to video walkthroughs, just like there is no one typical client. The range of technologies is wide, with price tags to match. We all know professional videographers are only for the prestige properties with money-no-object marketing budgets. But below this, there are a number of tools agents can use to market their properties using video. We took a look at four awesome software products opening up video walkthroughs for real estate agents.
Four technologies to offer video tours to showcase your property
- Matterport or Ricoh360
Best for: High end, styled properties
The real craze in recent years in real estate video has been for automated 360° virtual tours. You set the high definition cameras up in every room, map it to a floor plan and allow interested parties to navigate themselves around. Costs are falling, too, costing a few thousand dollars, down from tens of thousands a few years ago. Can be tricky in houses that have occupants, and works best in professionally styled properties with good light.
- FaceTime or Google Duo.
Best for: one-to-one video inspections.
Video calling apps are the technology most people are familiar with. Whether it's the partner doing a tour around an open house, or an agent conducting a virtual inspection for a remote buyer FaceTime is the go-to app (or Google Duo on Android devices). Junior agents are usually tasked with taking directions from the person on the other end of the phone and giving a personalised walking tour of the property. Savvy agents are embracing FaceTime at the moment as a way to build chemistry with interested parties and understand their unique requirements. . And I've seen many who will do potential interviews with potential vendors also via FaceTime. So you can get that sort of chemistry and a rapport with someone. Great for building trust.
- Facebook Live.
Best for: Shortlisted applicants or contract takers
Facebook Live is a a video call to a few people simultaneously that can also be available for review by those on a curated list. Because most people have Facebook accounts, you probably don't need people to install new software to view. The main benefit is that you schedule a viewing for many people, adding some level of excitement around a scheduled time. All those on the call can ask questions, allowing you to sort out the serious from the tyre-kickers.
Best for: First impressions
Vloggi is a tool that allows people in different locations to all submit video clips that are then spliced together inside a professional-looking template. For the real estate sector, the platform offers a number or pre-made video templates with which to make video brochures. Film each room or feature for 10-15 seconds, then merge the best clips together easily and quickly when you initially list a rental property or have an off-market campaign for interested buyers. You may not want to go to the expense of a professional video, but instead make a 90-second walk around combining brochure copy with handheld video footage to give a first impression of a property. As agents learn to do more marketing themselves in leaner times, it's a very cost-effective way of adding the wow factor. The added bonus is that you can now quickly add the finished video brochures to the listings sites via YouTube or Vimeo, which makes them appear in a Google search as video, quadrupling your likely enquiry rate from casual browsers.
Conclusion: Match the technology to the stage of enquiry
Real estate sales or lettings have many cycles. Whether you want to raise enquiry levels during off-market or early letting listing through a static video brochure from Vloggi, or use a video conference tool like Facebook Live to hold a virtual inspection for a select group, or offer a one-on-one tour via FaceTime, it has never been easier to use your phone to walk prospects around. Higher end properties can benefit from automated 360° virtual tours or professional video productions.
Now's the time to dive into video for real estate, if you haven't already.